Back in 2018 when we visited Tanzania, one of the activities we could have done was a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti. However, it was hard to convince Joe that it was worth the cost ($450 per person). The fact that there was no guarantee of us seeing any animals below, as the flight path was dictated by Mother Nature, made me relent.
Fast forward to 2020. Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia is significantly more affordable, and there is no risk of not seeing anything you had planned to see. As what you want to see is the unmoving landscape, as well as all the hot air balloons that will go up along side you.
We were initially booked for a ride with Voyager on Friday. However, the wind forecast is not favorable on that day, so we decided to push up our tour to today.
The day started with the predawn pick up of all the passengers at various hotels. All 16 of us were then brought to the balloon launch area.
The ride lasted for an hour, and the pilot took it easy on our aging knees with an exceptionally soft landing right onto the trailer.
We’re very grateful to have had this hot air balloon experience, and to have our first and last balloon ride in such a beautiful setting.
So we headed to the Göreme Open Air Museum, which is 30 minutes away.
The Göreme Open Air Museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of 11th century churches carved from rock formations. Inside are Byzantine frescoes, which we were not allowed to take photos of.
For the 75TL entry fee, I have to say it’s not worth it. The Topkapi Palace entry fee was 100TL, and there was so much more to see. One thing we’ve noticed is that the general cost of everything in Cappadocia is higher than that in Istanbul. We suspect that it’s because this is such a tourist destination.
Total for today $43, not including the hot air balloon ride.