Thursday, October 16, 2014

Balloons Over Göreme.


I was jolted awake this morning by a loud *whoosh* sound which was followed a short while later by another loud *whoosh*.  Even in my groggy state, I recognized that sound.  It was the *whoosh* created when fire heats the air in a hot air balloon.  I immediately realized that balloons were overhead.



I darted out the front door and before I even had to set my feet any further, I saw the sky filled with rising balloons.  These are the balloons that fill the skies every day during tourist season in this small village.


On my May 2008 visit, my friend Lei and I had taken a balloon ride and I enjoyed the experience though I wished that we had been in a larger balloon. We were in a small 4 man balloon and it didn't have enough fire power to get us very high up.


On our Nemrut tour, several of our fellow tour mates had told Bro that he must go on the ride but at a cost of 160 Euros, he wasn't certain he wanted to do it. I wanted to give him some idea of what it was all about so I rustled him awake. He had to come see the balloons.   It really was quite a sight to see - dozens of colorful balloons floating in the distant sky with the buildings of Göreme in the near ground.


I told Bro that the best ride would be in a large balloon and with a pilot that takes you as high up as is physically possible to do in a balloon.  That way, you really do get the best view.  As we watched the balloons floating along, I was tsk, tsking those that were floating close to ground and applauding the ones that were way, way up in the sky.

It was barely bright outside, the sun had yet to rise.  It was still so early that lights were still on the village.  It was chilly too as it is fall in Göreme.  We bundled up and went outside to watch the balloons.  One by one, they came from all directions, all heading towards the Rose Valley where the balloon riders would get the best bird's eye view of the unique landscape of this region.  All around us, we could hear that *whoosh*, the balloons glowing bright orange as the flame of the engine flared up and heated up the air inside the balloon.







By the time day broke, there were dozens of balloons floating up in the sky; I had lost count after 30 balloons.  Someone had told us that at the height of tourist season, there are as many as 90 balloons up in the air at the same time!  There are two flights each day and the large balloons can hold up to 24 people!  At 160 Euros per person, you can do the math - this is a real money making venture for the balloon companies and this very enterprising little village!

We were outside for probably a half hour, our eyes glued to the skies the entire time.  At the end of it, Bro was still not certain he wanted to do this.  Luckily, it's low season so even if he decides at the last minute, there won't be any issue getting us in (?) on (?) a balloon.

Back inside, I was already wide awake so I went ahead and got ready for the day.  Today, our rental car is being delivered to us at 9:30a so we need to get our breakfast in before then because once we have the car, we're hitting the road!


Good morning from Göreme!