Cappadocia, for Dani a “dream comes true”. For years she already fantasizes about this extreme rock formations on this beautiful part of our earth. Years before Cappadocia became a “hot travel destination”, she was already obsessed. So lets try to imagine her reaction when she got her birthday present last February: a hot air balloon flight and also two nights in one of the famous cave hotels of Göreme. She was freaking out, everything was arranged, we only needed to go to Turkey, but since Turkey was on our road trip route, this wasn’t a problem. All the beautiful pictures she was looking at in the last few years, became reality now, finally we are in Cappadocia!
The thousand hot air balloons of Cappadocia
Cappadocia has a very special landscape and it might be one of the most photogenic places in the world. The landscape consists of the so called “fairy chimneys”, underground cities and mysterious hidden churches. This place became so unique because of the influence of wind, rain and rivers over thousands and thousands of years. The area of Cappadocia is on the Unesco World Heritage List and is also called one of the biggest wonders of nature in the world.
Campsite with a view and swimming pool
We made sure we had enough time to reach cappadocia, there was no way in the world that we could miss the balloon flight. So in case if there were any car problems or issues with our visa for Turkmenistan, we would still be on time. After everything went spotless we were a few days early. We decided to use this situation in our advance and we would get to know Cappadocia in a very relaxing way. We found an extreme luxurious campsite in one of the corners of Göreme, including swimming pool for €15,- a night. This village was our base during our stay in Cappadocia, this was also where we had the two nights in the cave hotel later this week.
Full of adrenaline we wanted to find out what there all was to do around here. That’s why we visited Khalid. Tom booked the hot air balloon flight on his website and during this booking there was a informal and fun contact between these two. Khalid was as fun as in his emails and that afternoon we spent an hour in his office planning our days in cappadocia and drinking tea. He told us about the possibilities of hiking and about other tours he offers. When we told him we were with our own car he immediately gave us nice routes to drive in the area. We decided to not book any extra tours, we wanted to hike in the valleys. No quad or horse for us this time. We enjoyed the next days, it was nice to be in one place for a few days. We watched the sunrise with all the balloons from our campsite, made long hikes and enjoyed having a swimming pool in our “back garden”.
Red- and rose valley
At our last morning on the campsite we would finally go with the hot air balloon. Dani her dream came true. At 03:45 she jumped out of the tent to get ready and at 04:15 somebody picked us up. We drove to a meeting point where they had prepared a sandwich and coffee and tea for us. They divided us in groups and at 05:00 we left for the launching place. It took another fifteen minutes before we were in the basket, ready to go. Finally we went up, high up in the sky, what a feeling. Dani was shining and kept saying that this was the best birthday present ever. When we were hanging in the air it was just so relaxed. We were amazed by the amount of balloons that was up there with us. The view was extraordinary, especially when the sun was trying to find her way over the mountain. It was beautiful when it finally appeared, there were so many colors, it was just unbelievable and we were enjoying every minute for the full hundred percent.
The hot air balloon flight
Landing spot, where they celebrated our save flight with a glass of Champagne
At 07:30 we came back to the campsite, full of adrenaline. We decided to explore the area of Capppadocia today by car. At the end of the day we would look for a nice spot in the valley to stay for the night. This way we would have a perfect close view on all the balloons rising up in the air. We drove around very relaxed in Cappadocia and pulled over at several spots to have a closer look. That night we found a camp spot really easy, but fortunately we didn’t open our tent. Despite we were really happy with our spot, a nice local told us to go a little further and we would find a really nice spot to camp. He said that it would no problem to reach the place with our 4wd car. We were not convinced yet because of some really steep ramps. When we started to explore the environment and to see this spot with our own eyes we were convinced that at least we should give it a try. So we took our pack donkey and went for the it, actually no problem at all with the low gearing of our Suzuki. So we found ourselves the best camp spot in the world, in our opinion at least.
Finding a perfect camp spot
Very early we woke up, due to all the noise of the gas burners of the balloons. And after less than ten minutes the first balloon went up in the sky. It was beautiful to see all of this: the balloons, our tent and the scenery. The sun slowly rose, so we had our breakfast and prepared ourselves for the hike that we had planned for this morning. We had a beautiful hike, but because we were awake so early we finished the hike already at 11 o’clock. With no idea whether or not our room was ready we drove to the hotel. We were warmly welcomed by Yasar the manager of the hotel. While we were drinking coffee and thee with him they prepared our room. During our coffee session with Yasar, he told us things about Cappadocia with didn’t know yet because he was a real insider born in one of the many cave houses.
Magical view over the balloon launch site
We took the next two days “off”. Which means we enjoyed our stay at the hotel, we ate at restaurants and strolled a bit through Göreme, but mainly did nothing special. Thursday we had to leave our two days of luxury life behind us. We drove via Hattusha and Alacahöyuk further to Amasya. But before we left Göreme Dani wanted to make some nice pictures of the small streets with all the cave houses/hotels. While Tom drove the car down Dani got in touch with a local woman living in a cave house, which she definitely had to show Dani. While Tom was already down with the car Dani couldn’t resist this offer, so Tom had to wait for a while. The woman proudly showed all the room to Dani, communication took place in sign language and some English words mixed up with the Turkish language. A perfect final moment to close this chapter of our journey. What a damn good week we had in Cappadocia!