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Hot air ballons at sunrise
The following words and photos are by Erin Coyle, ITWPA Member

Twelve hot air balloons in the colors of the rainbow were ascending into the sky with the help of a fluorescent yellow flame. As the balloons kept going up, the pale pink and baby blue sky was ready to get out of the way of the rising sun.

Looking down at the rugged rock formations, I could see colors of rust and abalone. The rocks looked far away from my balloon. There were questions about how the balloon could carry eighteen people standing in a wicker basket resembling an oversized picnic basket. A sunrise hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia Turkey, is worth waking up for.

Hot air balloons drifting over Goreme Turkey
Rainbow-colored balloons ascending a few thousand feet up in the sky

Cappadocia is about a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Istanbul. It’s known for its cave hotels, an open-air museum, underground cave, rock formations, and fairy chimneys. The distinctive chimneys resemble the uneven shape of a bright orange safety cone, except taller, made of rugged rocks, with colors of charcoal and linen with the top layer the color of oatmeal.

Lesson learned – charge your devices

This ride had been on my bucket list for years, so I am not sure why I decided not to charge my phone the night before, especially when it is this big adventure I had waited so long to do. I thought to myself while getting ready for take-off that I am the smart person with a low battery.

As we ascended into the clouds, I was nervously looking at my phone, wondering how long the battery would last. Luckily, I grabbed my iPad to serve as my backup. My phone had three percent battery-life; my stomach was nervous with butterflies. I kept worrying about it shutting off before snapping a few more perfect pictures.

Now it was time to use the iPad for selfies. First-try, and it almost fell out of the balloon, which would not have been so good. I heard a man standing across from me in the wicker basket, telling his wife to take as many pictures of him as possible, so I thought he could be the one to help me with my photos. Luckily, I turned around to face this smiling man standing across from me, who offered to take some pictures. He lightly chuckled and told me that he had also expected to see this iPad fly away, and there would go thousands of pictures from over the years.

Hot air balloons into the clouds

After getting my fill of pictures, I finally stopped for a moment to try to look for the open-air museum and the underground cave. Still, those charcoal and linen cone figures looked so tiny from a few thousand feet up in the sky. I stopped worrying about my cell phone battery. I put it in my bag and enjoyed the shades of baby blue and cotton candy pink sky, cone-shaped rocks, and twelve rainbow-colored balloons flying into the clouds.

After all, it should be about remembering the moment in your mind instead of automatically clicking away without enjoying the landscapes. I realized that instead of being on autopilot, taking as many perfect pictures as possible, I should appreciate the fact that this balloon could hold 18 people with the help of a bright orange flame for almost one hour in the sky.

Suddenly, twelve rainbow-colored balloons started descending one by one, and I knew the flight was coming to an end. Watching the sunrise from a few thousand feet up in the sky is something I will never forget.

Hot air balloons over Cappadocia Turkey
Views from the top include fairy chimneys, an open-air museum, and red valley

Where to find hot air balloons in Cappadocia Turkey

There are dozens of hot air balloon companies, but I chose Assiana Balloons. My hotel, Guven Cave, booked it for me. They also checked on weather conditions the night before. If the weather is bad, then you have another chance to go. If you are pressed for time, I believe they will give you a refund, but double-check. The tour cost €180 when I booked.

Before the ride begins, passengers can help themselves to coffee, tea, and light snacks at the meeting point. A hotel pick-up can be arranged, so let them know when booking your tour. The journey takes about one hour, depending on the wind. Upon landing, Assiana gives tourists a flight certificate along with non-alcoholic champagne or juice.


Erin Coyle, Travel Writer
Erin Coyle, Travel Writer

Be sure your gadgets are fully charged to avoid frantically checking your phone or camera every two minutes, wondering how much time is left before it shuts down. And more importantly, take time to appreciate the moment before starting to click away.

About Erin Coyle—Erin is a Travel Writer’s Café and ITWPA member. Traveling with friends, going solo, and group tours have taken her to Southeast Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa. Her ‘must go to’ list includes Iceland and Antarctica. Currently, Erin teaches English in a foundation program at a university in Sur, the Sultanate of Oman. Before this, Coyle taught English at a university in Nanchang, China, for five years. See Erin’s work at Fit Life Creation, Rovology, and her Blog, Erin’s Oman Adventures.

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