Day 035 Turkey : Ballooning over Cappodocia

OH MY GOD! It was awesome!  Cue the music from 1812 Overture (I know that you're humming it in your head now!).

If you ever get the chance, you must go ballooning.  It was unbelievably fantastic and we both loved it.  Even I, normally dizzy from standing on a thick carpet (!!), loved every minute.  The views were incredible (cue more pictures of views!) and we ended up with a bit of a hero-worship thing for the Turkish pilot as he dipped and soared, rose and fell from our takeoff in Goreme to setting us down perfectly just beyond the valley of the fairy chimneys.  And when I say perfect, I mean perfect!  He set a large basket filled with 12 passengers and himself down perfectly onto the basket trailer.  Now I must explain that this trailer is exactly the same size as the basket so any slip up would have sent the basket sliding off the trailer but land on it he did .... to a round of enthusiastic and well-deserved applause! 

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It was a 5:30am start and a bit early! Balloons started to take off at 6am Our balloon under final preparation She's ready ...and we're off Up above Goreme town
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higher and looking at the balloons in front of us Looking back at the take off site Approaching the Fairy Chimney valley Getting a bit closer to the balloons in front Coming in closer to the Fairy Chimneys
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...closer ...and we start to rise as a couple of balloons slip in underneath us There they are and we start to drop down to get a bit closer Trevor almost able to touch them Balloon traffic jam - just like the Istanbul outer ring road :o)
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And we rise again away from the chimneys up up further up really high now After an hour coming in to land and passing safely over the power lines
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At the 1st landing sight but a bit too close to a drop off here's the drop off and ground crew running to the other side ready for 2nd landing on final approach One ground crew pulling the top of the balloon down Joined by the rest of the ground crew Our pilot - Yusuf.  Great flying!

And so after a fantastic morning's outing, we came back to Sully and started editting photos.  It had been a really early morning start and Trevor and both dozed off with the morning breeze gently cooling us under the awning.

By the time we woke up another overlander Marc (from Switzerland just having started on his 2nd trip and travelling through Asia) had arrived.  We introduced ourselves and later he came over and joined us for leisurely lunch.  Whilst we were sitting digesting and drinking tea more overlanders began to filter in.  There was quite a little community building in the corner of Kaya Camping.  So much so that the normally prolific campervans started to look a little forlorn and a bit out-numbered! 

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Niels, Emma, Markus, Trevor Trevor, Marc Vehicles:
Markus' Landie, Wim's converted ambulance, Kistoff/Felix Landie, Niels/Emma's Land Crusier
Vehicles:
Foreground Marc's Land Cruiser,
background Sully (Landie)

Felix and Kristoff drove in on a 5 week tour of the Black Sea coast.  And finally Niels and Emma arrived on their way home to the UK having set off from Botswana in January and due to arrive back in mid-June. 

It's really great to know that there are like-minded people on the road doing the same thing so we sat for another few hours swapping information, picking everyone's brains and generally talking "work".  Marc kept us entertained with hysterically funny stories of his previous 2 year trip and Niels and Emma have been a great source of info for the African/Middle East leg of our journey.  Thanks, guys, we really appreciate it.  PS: Emma, hope your toe's feeling a bit better! :o)

b_IMG_8281Finally we piled into Niels' and Emma's Land Cruiser and made our way into town for a drink, a local water pipe (nargile) and some supper. Returning to the campsite somewhat later, we joined Felix and Kristoff around their candle, cracked open the last bottle of home-made sweet wine from Francesco that he had given to us in Tuscany (as Syria is our next stop in 2 days we have to make good use of our alcohol before its all confiscated!) and talked till early hours.

#1 Chris Worviell on 5.20.2009 at 12:39 PM

hi Jan and Trevor

Looks like you guys are having a great time, fantastic photos. Hope you get by without the hooch for a bit!

Keep the news coming and continued good wishes from Blighty.

Cheers

Chris

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Hiya Chris, thanks a mill for the message - we are having a brilliant time.  We've discovered that Syria isn't dry at all (well according to Lonely Planet anyway) but will let you know.  We hear the food is fantastic so we'll be ok.  Take care Trevor & Jan