If there is one thing that makes me hate my very best friend, Andreas Knogler, is when he greets me from somewhere new in Europe. He did it few times. From Denmark, Greece, Germany, Romania, Slovenia, and the last one was from Croatia. Next, will be from Kosovo (oh wait, he’s in Croatia again today!). Do I really hate him? YES, I do. No, I’m kidding. Yes, I’M SURE I DO. No wait, envious? I think that is the word.
When I made a joke that Andreas will always be a winner comparing his travel history with mine, he laughed “my geographical location is better Azis, so it doesn’t count”. For me, it counts! So when I had an opportunity to runaway from hectic and crazy Lagos and flew to Turkey, I already thought I should “greeting from Istanbul, Andreas!” to get one score. Tho I’m still far away behind his score, I always find interesting every time we share our travel stories.
The time I was stoked sending a short video to Andreas when I was at the downtown in Cappadocia. He replied me that his dad, onkel Knogler, was there last year and enjoyed it so much. I must agree with the fact that it is hard not to enjoy a dazzling place like Cappadocia. Even by writing this sentence makes me dream to enjoy Cappadocia one more time!
“I was on the phone with Andreas just few minutes before I ended my day. Few hours before I had to wake up at 3.30am”
On day one when I arrived at my hotel, the lady in the reception told me that perhaps the balloon flight on my schedule might be cancelled. She wasn’t sure but the pilot had announced the chance to fly was 70%. “But I had checked on forecast that tomorrow will be sunnier than today” I said. “It depends on the wind, but he’s not sure. We will let you know in the evening if it cancel or not” she smiled. No worries, Azis came with no expectation, huh? so he shouldn’t be disappointed if he couldn’t finally be on the hot air balloon.
I woke up very early tho I wasn’t ready to leave my bed (you know why, soft bed, thick white blanket, and cool morning). I stood under the shower very quickly, prayed, and sat on the couch in the reception before 4.30am. It was silent, no one there but a receptionist. “Am I late?”, he answered with smile, “No, don’t worry, 10 minutes before your pick up time”
The shuttle bus arrived. I sat nicely inside with few travelers on the same purpose heading to a place where we took light breakfast. Inside the room, there were so many people ready for an exciting experience. Most of them were dressed super stylish like as if they were ready having pictures of themselves with the best possible appearance. I sat down with a cup of hot tea, few cheeses, strawberries, a slice of bread, and light conversation with a solo female traveler from Colombia. She was in Turkey only for 3 days, didn’t know that she had to reserve in a prior to the balloon flight. She looked a bit dissatisfied yet I could see how excited she was for 73 days ahead exploring Europe.
Thirty minutes after breakfast time, I stood in front of some balloons with an exciting feeling, also my dread to be up there.
When I was enjoying Istanbul from above in Galata Tower with Hakan and Saf, I was worried how would it feel inside the basket for my balloon flight. I mean, Galata Tower just about 206 feet high huh, and I was a bit terrified when breeze was blowing. I don’t have acrophobia, but wondering myself inside the basket and way up, up there, I was scared shitless. If you never or you’re planning to experience hot air balloon, there’s nothing you need to worry about cause the pilot is experienced and certificated.
When the balloon starts go up and up, you’ll definitely enjoy the view like nowhere else. I was on cloud nine when we were up. It wasn’t scary at all. Admiring the stunning landscape of Cappadocia from hot air balloon just before the edge of the sun appears over the horizon in the morning was unbelievable.
I had never imagined I would have an opportunity to experience it by myself this year. I had never imagined I did it, went up there to feel, to see and to remember, one of the best mornings in my life. In Cappadocia.
“I’m not a travel blogger you guys know :), but I could share some tips if you’re planning to experience this by yourself…”
- Trust me, tho it’s not that cheap, it is worth it for a life time experience (yes, Cappadocia balloon flight is among top 3 in the world). I guess your trip to Cappadocia wouldn’t be accomplished without hot air ballooning :)
- It’s way much better to reserve your schedule days before and it is also important to check the weather on forecast. As mentioned above, the flight depends on the wind. I picked my date when it was sunny, I mean, if the day is clear it should be safer than cloudy day right?
- When you have date for your stay in Cappadocia and hot air balloon is in your bucket list, prepare minimum three days including your arrival. In case your schedule is being cancelled, you’ll have a chance to fly on the next day. Before I checked out on my last day, I heard a convo between two Asian ladies and the receptionist. They were disappointed cause their flight was cancelled. So, I was lucky everything went well huh? :)
- You’ll be so passionate to take million of pictures when you are up there with your camera, that’s okay, but give time for yourself to enjoy the moment. Photograph captures a moment that’s gone forever I know, but when you are up there, drop the camera and close your eyes for seconds, take a deep breath, open your eyes widely then capture the real moment in your mind. Trust me, you’ll remember the moment too well
- Dress moderately but clever, you must prepare that up there could be colder. I wore a tee, a sweater and a jacket to make me warm yet still comfortable :)
- Listen to the pilot’s instruction for your own safety, they’ll brief you do’s and don’t’s before flying. A little practice for landing is one of the important thing you must do. My flight was 100 percent smooth, I did not have to do what I practiced after the basket landed on the ground
- Don’t forget to be grateful if you have an opportunity to experience this by yourself :)