Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia
Cappadocia is hands-down one of the most memorable places I have ever visited.
The town lies in a unique landscape that looks like it could be from a city on the moon or a fairy tail. The landscape has peaks called “fairy chimneys” dotting the hillsides which were created by volcanic activity many years ago and then smoothed over by wind and rain through the years. In ancient times, people started carving into the soft rock and living in cave houses.
We stayed in the Grand Cave Suites in Gerome (which I would recommend). The bare rock walls were outfitted with a few turkish rugs which added to the whole experience of the city.
Gerome thrives on tourism, but retains the traditional Anatolian culture. It felt dreamy to walk around at dusk and peer into the cozy restaurants lit up with colorful glass lanterns or get lost in a rug shop.
The hot air balloon tour was a highlight. It was exciting to get up in the dark and drive out into the incredible landscape. Our balloon launched just as the sun was coming up and floated among the fairy chimneys for about 20min before flying up 300m in the air. We were one of about 80 hot air balloons out that day an our photos are outstanding – such an incredible and unique experience.
We visited the open air museum before leaving Cappadocia.
Goreme Open Air Museum. It contains the finest of the rock-cut churches, with beautiful frescoes (wall paintings) whose colors still retain all their original freshness. It also presents unique examples of rock hewn architecture and fresco technique. The Goreme Open Air Museum has been a member of UNESCO World Heritage List since 1984, and was one of the first two UNESCO sites in Turkey. — goreme.com
The fairy chimneys have been formed as the result of wind and water erosion of two different volcanic layers: A thick layer of tuff (consolidated volcanic ash) covered by a thin layer of basalt that is more resistant to erosion. Due to the ease of carving into the tuff, many of the fairy chimneys at Cappadocia have been hollowed out over the centuries to create houses, churches and storage facilities.
No trip to Turkey is complete without visiting Cappadocia, even if for a day or two. It was such a unique destination that should be on everyones bucket list.