There are few things in the realm of parenting that are worth getting yourself and your children up at 4am.
This is one of them.
Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia Turkey.
I must warn you before you continue reading. What follows here will undoubtedly change your life forever. The images below will haunt your dreams and lure you in until you just can’t resist any longer, and simply have to go. Your bucket list, will never be the same again. Trust me, I know. It happened to me 4 years ago, and I haven’t been able to get this place out of my mind since I heard about it.
Cappadocia is a magical looking area in central Turkey filled with Fairy Chimneys (tall rock towers), friendly faces, and more history than you can imagine. To really appreciate the beauty of the area, you have to go up. And up, and up.
This was a unique morning for us. I had gone ballooning with the older two kids, while Andrew had caught a little more sleep and then followed on the ground below with the younger ones (most companies require you to be 6, though we were able to get our 5 1/2 year old on board). Without the babies, the three of us got to enjoy the experience on our own terms. Chloe, my sweet 5-year-old simply couldn’t stop giggling and pointing. Mason, now 8-years-old, saw things in his way – slowly and quietly methodically taking it all in with a seriousness far beyond his years. And me? Well i just got to breathe it all in and savor every ounce of it from the still air and first rays of light to the towering chimneys and darting pigeons.
Each morning, 150 balloons fill the air to watch the sun rise over this majestic land. In a very real sense, this is about as close as a regular person can get to a hot air balloon festival, though all of these balloons are for tourists, not just professionals. As the sun creeps closer to the horizon, the air is filled with the sound of burners, lifting their balloons higher and higher. Their colorful envelopes seem to fill the air with polka dots in every color of the rainbow. It is a sight that can only be truly appreciated from above. I don’t think that anything in my life will ever replicate this experience (unless of course we go back, wink, wink…)
Are you hooked yet? I promise that these pictures don’t even begin to do justice to how beautiful this morning was. I don’t know of anywhere else in the world where you can experience this (and Cappadocia has so much more too…keep reading over the next few weeks and you’ll find out).
Thankfully, we flew with one of the best companies out there, Voyager Balloons. Within minutes of take-off, it was clear that we had a balloon pilot that was much more skilled than what most of the other companies had. He was able to catch currents just right, to float us all over the valley. While other balloons were just going up and down, we were going in canyons, between fairy chimneys and then at nearly 3000 ft, we floated in solitude far above the masses. We got both the thrill of being surrounded by everyone at take-off and the peace that only comes when no one is around you.
Honestly, I would recommend Voyager again in a heartbeat. Their staff were incredibly helpful and kind and bent over backwards to make sure the kids were having a good time (including letting them deflate the balloon and then pack it all down into the bag for them). Also, they have been around for 16 years and it is clear that everyone we met truly loves working there which makes everything so fantastic. Flights launch every day (weather permitting) and costs start at 150 Euro per person. (For a family, it can be quite the cost, but it was so amazing that I would highly recommend doing everything you can to save a little extra money to make this possible!)
Voyager did provide us with complimentary flights, however, this review is about as honest as it gets and is exactly what I’ve been telling my friends all week as I’ve raved about this experience.