5 September 2011

I enjoy writing this blog.  Helps to keep me from becoming a total recluse.  Connects me with people while I’m away.  It’s nice to receive your feedback. Makes me want to write more about my adventures.  It’s nice that so many people I care about are interested in my adventure.

Most nights the words come easy.  Especially if the experience is worthy of description.  Most days it is.

But there are other factors also.

An internet connection is a prerequisite.  I have not stayed anywhere yet that one has not been available.  Mostly in my hotel room but in some places the hotel lobby or restaurant is my only option. It works best for me when I can write in the restaurant, starting about an hour before ordering and continuing after dinner, accompanied by some wine.

Distractions are welcome.  Particularly if they are English speaking and interesting.  Mostly the hotel owners or employees.  Sometimes other hotel guests.  It is always good to have a chat.

I’m always anxious if I miss a day that some of you may think I have had a problem – an accident even.  This of course could happen.  But maybe only start to get concerned if I miss three days running.

There’s been plenty of my hot air put into these blogs.  I think I’ve done close to 80 posts now.

Appropriate that today I let someone else provide the hot air for a change, and take me for a ride in a balloon over Cappadocia.

The day started at 0500 with a short mini bus ride to the balloon company headquarters to start the day with a coffee while all my fellow balloonists assembled.  I felt good.  My hot lemon drink and early night did the job.

Another short mini bus ride to the take off zone and we were in the basket and taking off just before sunrise.  It was a perfect morning, clear skies and light winds.

There were heaps of balloons.  Over 50 by my rough count.  And up to 25 people in each basket.  This is big business.

And spectacular too.  Peaceful.  Such a gentle take off and landing.  Much more control from the pilot than I’d expected.  Not even the burners were as noisy as I thought they’d be. And when they weren’t on it was so quiet.  360 degree views, elevation changes, everything.  I saw the sunrise about 5 times as we continually changed elevation.  We went into valleys and at times seemed to float amongst the fairy chimneys, so close you could have almost touched them.  Other balloons were close by too.  We may have even touched another one a couple of times.

After an hour of flight we landed, right on target, with the basket straight on the trailer that would take it back to base.  No dragging along the ground.

Champagne was on hand to toast the successful flight before we were taken by mini bus back to our hotels.

This was a great experience. It’s nice to know these things need more hot air than even I have.

Here are my favourite photos – prepare yourself, there are plenty of them.  Take a look at the views and you’ll understand why I took so many.

What a great way to start my last morning in Göreme.  Pretty soon the Family Truckster would be loaded and I’d be hitting the road to continue my Turkey motorcycle tour.  Still so many places I want to see.  What a great country!