When I first heard about Cappadocia it sounded like the coolest place ever. Prior to our visit, the only way I could describe our next destination was, "I think we're going to the moon."
I sent my family a link to my sunrise balloon ride photos and my brother replied, "Holy Star Wars!" This was especially funny because I didn't tell him that our underground city tour guide (I have so much to catch up on) pointed to a particular Cappadocian landscape as the inspiration for Luke's hometown, Tatooine.
If I'd seen Star Wars I would have exclaimed, "Oh, yeah!" smiling and nodding like the rest of the group. I know, I know, it's on my list.
Back to the balloons.
I was beyond excited to take off in a hot air balloon. Who wouldn't be? I hate waking up early, even more than I hate onions, but I could not wait to wake up at 5am for our balloon ride. We went with Butterfly Balloons, recommended by our awesome hosts at Aydinli Cave House. I cannot say enough about the family and staff that run Aydinli - they made Cappadocia absolutely amazing for us.
Our pilot was Mike Green, a veteran balloonist and UK native who now calls Cappadocia home. He was clearly an expert at his craft, taking us low into the valleys where we touched trees and landing us directly on the trailer. Impressive.
We climbed out of the basket as the crew was beginning to deflate the balloon, and one of the men saw W staring longingly at the giant semicircle. The man motioned for W to come help and before I could say "have fun," W dropped his bag and ran toward the balloon like a kid chasing an ice cream truck. It was adorable. I was taking photos when another crew member motioned for me to give him my camera. I must say, deflating the balloon was almost as fun as floating beneath it.
The vans were full heading back to town so Mike took the two of us back to our B&B in his snorkel-fitted green truck with his golden retriever Maggie in the bed. I mean, come on, it's like he researched my favorite color and breed. And the fact that I would love to drive a car underwater. That's what the snorkel is for, right?
Sigh. So fun. I want to go again.
Goreme, Cappadocia Region, Turkey
For more photos: cappadocia hot air balloon ride