On my last functioning day in Turkey (before my tummy went into turmoil) I did the thing that every Cappodochia visitor must do, or explain why not: a balloon ride! But which company to choose? Longtime expat, Ruth Lockwood of Tribal Collections strongly recommended Royal Balloons. She should know! And she was right.
I chose the 1 1/2 hour ride and was glad I did. To really appreciate the majestic landscape, it’s important to give the pilot enough time to take you into the valleys around Goreme. After all, it’s a balloon, not a plane, and can only drift with the wind. At Royal Balloons, the pilot carefully chooses the launching pad to take advantage of the wind. That’s not necessarily true in other companies as I noticed several dozen balloons launching from the same place. We were a little out of the way and that was a good thing.
Now here is why you want to get away from the crowd. This is “red valley”. Aptly named.
Our basket had 12 people which was a good amount. You climb into your little corner and prepare to be awestruck as you float and drift, rise and fall, the only sound the whooshing of the fiery air-heater.
And this is how close you get into the valleys. You can see that these rocks have been worked on over the centuries, often used as storehouses.
Finishing up in the famous “love valley”.
I was delighted!
Afterward, there was the traditional champagne toast, plus pictures. I couldn’t resist a picture of David, our Australian pilot, posing with these four brothers from Boston who look ready for their own TV series.