Day 18 - Flying over Goreme
Goreme Travel Blog› entry 18 of 42 › view all entries
Is there any good reason for getting out of bed at 5am?
Well, Michelleâ€™s willingness to get out of bed that early is a pretty good indication of how much we were looking forward to Hot Air Ballooning here in
Weather conditions were near perfect for ballooning. Visibility was fantastic, there was barely a cloud in the sky and only a very, very light wind blowing.
Then it was into the balloon, practice adopting the cash landing position (which was never going to be needed today, it was so still) and then with a squirt of gas we were away. From the moment the basket left the earth, the whole ride was amazingly smooth. Our pilot took us up at such a low gradient we brushed over the tree tops and then barely scraped past a fairy chimney. The pilot was able to demonstrate the astounding control she had over the balloon, by regularly dipping into and out of valleys.
Our ATV tour yesterday had given us a quick look at the surrounding valleys and landscapes but the ballooning gave us a birds eye view of Goreme and everything else within a 200km radius.
The flight lasted just under 2 hours. We touched down gently (right onto the trailer onto which the basket needed to be loaded) and our flight was celebrated with a Cherry champagne cocktail and cake.
We were returned from the balloon ride in time to join the day tour we had booked. The first stop was a lookout providing a great view of a valley. Our guide gave us a little run down on the local history and then we were bundled into the bus for a 50km drive to an underground village.
The village we visited was one of the largest in the country.
It was another long drive to Ilhara gorge. We disembarked, entered the gorge and were guided into one of the chapels carved into the side of the gorge. We then walked 3kms downstream to a small town and restaurant where we ate lunch alongside the river. The food was nothing spectacular but it was Turkish and probably tasted loads better because all weâ€™d had to eat up until that point (2pm â€“ keep in mind we were up at 5am to go ballooning) was a few biscuits and a piece of cake.
Strengthened by our meal, we jumped back on the bus which took us to a location where a scene from the original star wars film was shot.
Just around a corner was a monastery, carved into the mountains. This was the most impressive of the cave dwellings we visited, with a couple of great chapels and other large rooms.
The final stop was a lookout over ?? valley and across the road from that, an Onyx workshop and jeweller. After a brief demonstration of onyx carving and polishing they swept us upstairs where they gave us the big sales push and left us to browse three big rooms full of jewellery, none of which had price tags. I tried my hardest not to look too disinterested while Michelle browsed but despite asking to look at a couple of pieces, she didnâ€™t buy anything.The tour finished at 6pm, giving us time to pack our bags and eat dinner at the pension before jumping on the overnight coach ride to