Cappadocia Calling

Yesterday was the day – the day I’d meet my new Intrepid travel crew and depart by bus to the magical land that is Cappadocia. As usual, I was a bundle of nerves as I got ready to head out to the meeting point, and had the biggest hole of dread when the meeting time came and nobody was around. Had I somehow missed it? No, I checked all the details several times. There was nothing else for it but to call the company, and to my sheer relief, I was informed that nobody had left yet and the trip leader would come and get me. It turns out I was the only person who hadn’t stayed at that hotel, and several of them had been out together the night before. So in a sense, walking into the breakfast room was a little like being the new kid at school. Luckily though, everyone was nice and while things started out a little awkward, I managed to have some conversations – and it meant I wasn’t hungover for the 10 hour bus journey we were about to embark on, so that’s my silver lining. Despite my minor panic, ultimately things did work out, just like they always do. Worrying annoys me as it’s such an unnecessary emotion, but as long as it remains baseless, I’m willing to let it off. After all, this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and so missing it would have been heartbreaking.So, the journey… Well, for starters, Turkish cross country buses are nice, complete with aircon, TVs, luggage storage and even complementary snacks and drinks served at interim points throughout. It was still a hell of a long day at over 12 hours on the road with just a few short stops, but it could certainly have been worse, and this kind of travel is environmentally better than having private transport, as well as supports the local economy, after all.At last the moment came – we’d arrived. It was already dark, so you couldn’t see a lot, but we were there. That’s what mattered. Upon arrival to the hotel, our hosts had dinner waiting for us, a nice way to round off the day. Waking hours were short lived, however, because most of us had to prepare for an early start this morning. Yes, the famous hot air balloons. As I write this from my bed in my gorgeous cave room, I’ve pretty much just returned from this excursion with a little downtime before being taken to explore the cave cities this area is famous for. And what an experience it was.Slightly gutted that it took so long getting there and getting sorted that we’d completely missed the sunrise, everyone was impatiently waiting for since 5am, this experience was still pretty damn magical. And while there wasn’t a pink hue in sight, the blue daytime sky is just as striking.It’s so peaceful up in the sky, and the views are like no other. I can already tell this is going to be a fascinating area explore just from the aerial landscape. It is not as cold up there as you’re led to believe either. I quickly ditched my cardigan in favour of short sleeves, the heat from the balloon flame providing adequate warmth. After about an hour of floating around, we came down to land, sitting perfectly onto a waiting trailer in a maneuver that is clearly well-practiced. We dismounted and rounded off the experience with a warming drink and a certificate of completion. And all before breakfast!This is something that has been on my list for a long time, and to have finally done it is amazing. Seeing the balloons is why I chose to come here with my remaining annual leave, and yet there’s also still so much more left on the horizon. Lucky me!

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