Hot air boon rides are THE thing to do in Cappadocia. A simple Google images search yields hundreds of results like this:
And today it’s my turn!
Voyager Balloons has very kindly agreed to host my trip, and even send me up back-to-back mornings (weather permitting) to get the best photos possible. I am THRILLED to do this! Can somebody pinch me?
Pick-ups start very early in the morning, around 5am. All of the guests gather at the Voyager Balloons headquarters for breakfast and introductions, and then we’re driven to the take-off field.
Our guide delivers instructions prior to lift-off:
We practice our landing position — the plan is to brace for a bump or two as the balloon settles back on the ground.
Up, up, up, and away!
View of Goreme below, looking back towards Usichar Castle in the distance (where my hotel is located) — this gives you an idea of how spread out the main areas of Cappadocia are. In fact, I couldn’t wrap my head around it until seeing it from this perspective.
Dipping down towards the fairy chimneys:
Near the Open Air Museum of Goreme:
It’s such a treat to see Cappadocia covered in snow, a little winter village with fairy chimneys.
And here’s the village of Goreme, where I first explored around 5am in the dark upon my Cappadocia arrival:
We begin to rise above the valley…
The sun makes an appearance as we head towards Usichar.
The strong wind makes for a rough landing — we bounce maybe 15 times before coming to a horizontal stop, covered in snow. Major credit to our expert guides who make it as smooth as possible given the wind conditions.
But we lucked out compared to these guys… I’m not sure what company this is (there are dozens) but it’s not Voyager Balloons!
Once safely back in Goreme, we celebrate with champagne.
A hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia is billed as a ‘once in a lifetime trip’… so it’s incredible that I get to head back up the next morning. I can’t believe this is my job.
Today, there’s almost no wind and conditions are perfect for ballooning.
Take two, let’s do this!
Today, we’re headed down into Love Valley — the same area I saw on foot yesterday. How neat to view it from this perspective.
We climb out of the valley and head towards the cloud cover.
In a fun surprise twist, we rise ABOVE the cloud cover to look down on this spectacular white blanket:
Incredible how sunny it is up there and how bleak it is down below — those clouds are pretty impenetrable.
Today we have a picture perfect landing on the back of a truck. It could not have been any smoother — it’s impressive how the guide can navigate the balloon so specifically when the wind cooperates.
Champagne for the second morning in a row… a travel blogger could get used to this lifestyle.
Been there, done that… times two!
There are a lot of balloon companies to pick from in Cappadocia, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Voyager Balloons. They were fabulous to fly with and the guests on both mornings had a fabulous time.
Many thanks to Voyager Balloons for hosting my consecutive hot air balloon rides in exchange for photography services. The pleasure was all mine!