A Magical Morning

A Magical Morning

The hot air balloons were grounded for the last 2 days due to wind speeds exceeding 11km/hr. The Turkish Civil Air finally approved the balloon flights for this morning after the winds died down overnight. As you can imagine, there was a pent up demand for the rides for this morning. One of the Americans we met on the group tour yesterday was supposed to leave yesterday afternoon but pushed his departure flight to Istanbul to this afternoon so that he could go on the balloon ride this morning. Interestingly, he told us that the rescheduled flight back to Istanbul was 180TL prior to balloon flight permission, but as soon as Civil Air cleared the balloons to fly, the price shot up to 540TL because they knew people would be rescheduling their return flights.

For us, we had wanted the balloons to take off, not only for the people who want the experience, but also for us to be able to see them from the hotel. Since we had an approximate idea of take off time, we set our alarms for 6:15AM so that we could wash up, get dressed, and be up on the hotel terrace by 6:40AM.

When the alarm went off, I figured I still had time so I went back to sleep. Ten minutes later, Joe heard the the sound of a hot air balloon burner firing. He thought it was strange that he could hear it from so far away. I immediately jumped out of bed, looked out the window, and realized that one of the balloons was right next to the hotel.

That’s Joe monkeying around with the balloon passengers after we had quickly dressed and run out of our rooms, eye crud and all.
How cool is this?!?

We made our way up to the terrace to get a better view.

We counted a total of 70 balloons in the sky!

The balloons are again scheduled to fly tomorrow morning, so we’ll make sure to wake up in time.

After breakfast, we went on our private red tour with the hotel owner to check out the neighboring villages and the different rock formations.

Uçhisar

Uçhisar Castle in the background
An old guy charges tourists money to enter his home. Apparently not legal.

Ortahisar

Ortahisar Castle in the background is not as well known, but becoming more popular with Turkish tourists thanks to Instagram. Notice the Instagram icon on the top.

Ürgüp

Göreme is where most of the international tourists are. This area seems to be favored by Turkish tourists.

Three Beauties
“The Camel” in Devrent Valley
Joe’s rendition of the Instagram “arm in midair like a goddess” pose. Less goddess and more freaky.

Quite honestly, I would have liked to have hiked Dervent Valley, because of all the different trails amongst the rock formations. However, today was more of a check-out-the-scenery-from-the-car. Maybe next time.

Zelve

Paşabag or Valley of the Monks
Police station inside the rock

Avanos

Avanos is known for its ceramics because of the clay found along the river. They also have a co-op, sponsored by the government, to teach women how to make hand-woven Turkish carpets. Of course we made a stop there because I had expressed an interest in learning more about carpet making. We learned that the difference between Turkish and Persian carpets is double vs single knot technique. The true origin of carpet making is unknown. Despite that fact, the Turks claim that they were the first. We also got to see how they unravel silk threads from cocoons, which was interesting to see.

We ended up walking out with 2 carpets. I’ll leave it at that.

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