Cappadocia has some of the best conditions in the world for flying and full advantage is taken with hundreds of hot air balloons lifting off every morning to dot the horizon with the rising sun. It's hard to find a bad viewpoint in the surrounding villages, all you have to do is look around in the early light to marvel at the miracle of this region with glittering sands said to shift in color depending on the time of day and balloons as far as the eye can see.
I was grateful for the opportunity for two balloon rides during my time in Cappadocia, where I was able to capture hundreds of photos of unbridled magic - nearly every shot was worth keeping. If you ever make it here, take a ride with Royal Balloon, the experience was absolutely unforgettable. Before sunrise we were carted from hotel to Royal Balloon HQ via shuttles for a full complimentary open buffet breakfast of bread, cheese, fruit, and so much more to enjoy. After we were overfull and happy we hopped back on the shuttle for a short ride to our take-off location nestled snuggly in a valley between fairy chimneys. For all you fearless adventurers out there, ask for Tolga the crazy pilot for a hilarious hour in the air. His quick wit and jovial personality really made of a memorable experience.
At altitude, there is a hushed quiet and peace as we huddled together in the small basket whispering our awe and taking in the 360 degree views of the landscape while Tolga maneuvered confidently between fairy chimneys. After our hour, with precise movements and years worth of flight time, our pilot touched down the balloon on the back of a truck while the crew set to tying us down. With our feet back on the earth we were treated to champagne, cookies, and a medal to commemorate our successful flight together.