During our flight we saw the peak of Mt Erciyes (Argaues) which is the highest in Central Anatolia at 3,916m. We went low into several valleys, including Pigeon Valley (Guvercinlik Vadisi) situated between Goreme and Uchisar. It used to house thousands of pigeon houses that were carved from the soft tuff (tufa)….pigeons have long been a source of food and fertiliser for the Cappadocian Troglodytes (Cave Dwellers). We also went down into White Valley (Akvadi) and Honey (Love) Valley (Baglidere) which are situated between Uchisar and Cavusin, passing Goreme on the North side. Honey Valley has the amazing fairy chimneys and there a hundreds of phallic shaped rocks everywhere. We also saw Uchasir Castle build into the rock.
We didn’t get much sleep as we were both excited about our Hot Air Balloon Trip today….and anxious that we didn’t want to miss our alarm….just as well my husband is a bit OCD and set the alarm…. as our promised wake up call never came and only by chance did we venture outside our hotel at 3.50am to discover the van waiting at the end of the road for us!!!! Communication is an issue in Turkey…even when they speak English!
Soon on our way, we were taken to the Breakfast Saloon for Kapdadokya Kaya Balloons (not the company Albi had told us previously) and had a coffee/tea and a bread bun, along with some little lemon wafers that were delicious…if not a little bit strange to be eating at breakfast!
We were in bus 2, and there was no shortage of balloons or buses. We watched with interest as they filled the balloons up….set in the surreal, almost lunar landscape, it was strange watching them come to life and become upright above their baskets. We were in the World Heritage Academy balloon and were the first to take off. I was actually the first to get aboard…as you have to get in one by one and they match up people’s weights and distribution. The basket was quite deep so I felt a little bit claustrophobic when I first descended into it …but the feeling was fleeting.
Our take off was as smooth as silk…..so peaceful and serene….MAGICAL….and romantic in the pre dawn light. We got up to a maximum of 750m above sea level….it was awesome! We lifted off at around 5.05am and we flew for just over and hour. Our pilot was very experienced and explained not only safety things about the balloon, but some good information about the things we could see… Cappadocia, the Volcano, the variety of rock formations and the valleys we went down into. At times things were so close you could almost touch them! AMAZING! The ballooning experience itself was a thrill …but to do it in this foreign landscape was just out of this world…..a truly special experience to share with my husband, on our honeymoon.
Cappadocia (UNESCO World Heritage Site), in the central Anatolian highlands of Turkey, was formed 30 million years ago from three volcanoes– Mt Erciyes ( ancient Argaeus), Hasan and Melendiz Dağları when they erupted over the former plateau of Ürgüp. The compressed volcanic ash is called tuff (tufa). This soft stone has been eroded to form valleys and when mixed with local basalt it created the curious rock formations such as the famous “fairy chimney”.