The next morning we crawled out of bed at an ungodly hour. The reason? Hot air ballooning. The only reason I would ever wake up at 3:50AM! Cappadocia is one of the top three places in the world for hot-air ballooning. Predictable winds and moderate temperatures create favorable flight conditions that allow balloons to fly 300 days a year (compared with where I live, Ontario is lucky to get 20 days a year). We booked our flight with Voyager Balloons for 160 euro and they were excellent. The flight ran smoothly and we felt safe with our pilot, who was very experienced and hospitable.
The flight was totally worth the early call. Hot air ballooning over the surreal lunar landscape of Cappadocia was a magical, peaceful experience that I will never forget. Soaring up over the land with a hundred other balloons as the sun begins to rise is beyond picturesque. Moments like this make me feel so lucky to be able to go on these amazing adventures with someone I love.
After we landed, we all had a glass of champagne – a French tradition. A perfect way to end this once in a lifetime experience.
That afternoon we headed out to the Goreme Open-Air Museum. More caves! These caves were once an important Byzantine monastic settlement, then a pilgrimage site from the 17th century on.
Filled with frescos, churches, chapels and monasteries, most were no-photos-allowed. The shot below is of the most famous church in the museum: Karanhk Kilise or “Dark Church”. The church is filled with frescoes and is one of Turkey’s finest surviving churches. There is another church called the Carikh Kilis “Scandal Church” where we saw the supposed last footprints of Jesus Christ before he ascended to heaven. I guess that’s pretty impressive!
For our last dinner in Goreme we decided to try a traditional kebap meal: meat and vegetables slow cooked in a terracotta pot, and then broken at the table. Quite a dramatic entrance for our meal! We sat on traditional Turkish couches on the floor and drank from clay goblets – such a fun and relaxing dining experience!
The tender meat was full of flavour and the spiced juices enveloped our plate. Another amazing meal!
We said good bye to Goreme, such a unique and fascinating town.