A Balloon Ride in Kapadokya

Hendrik

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Several years ago my wife and I visited our son, who was then living in Turkey for a seven-month period of study of the language. With our son as translator, we took a side trip to Kapadokya (Cappadocia) and succumbed to the opportunity for a balloon ride.

The balloons fly each morning with acceptable conditions. One morning we rode, one morning we watched. It’s a great show, either way. Only one problem – to go riding you have to be up at zero-dark o’clock. Luckily, if you book through the hotel, the balloon companies provide shuttle service.

Preparing the balloon in the dawn twilight. This is noisy, labor-intensive business. The burner mounted on the tipped gondola is being used to finish the fill of the envelope which will, in turn, pull the gondola upright.
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Seconds away from being let go in order to right the gondola.
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With our burner firing in earnest, we start to rise and, once a couple of feet off the ground, we can start to grasp the scale of the project. Between paying passengers and ground crew, Göreme is a very busy place!
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Always more balloons
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Once we clear the ground obstacles we start moving generally south-east, toward Ortahisar (to the back of the camera - Çavusin is in the distance). It's go with the flow.
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Other balloons rising.
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Lots of others are having a like adventure.
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We were told that this morning the number of balloons launched reached the limit, 99, and that a second launch would begin once we landed (after about 55 minutes, airborne).
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Erciyes in the pre-dawn glow, seen from about 400 meters up. Erciyes is a currently inactive volcano that lies just south of the major central-Turkish city Kayseri (Caesarea)
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The foreground feature is Ak Tepe, and we are drifting over the Rose Valley, through which, later that day, we had a guided walk, courtesy of our hotelier.
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To be continued...
 
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Hendrik

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Maybe the beautiful country, but not the floating above (dreams excluded of course).
Dreams are nice, of course, but so unpredictable. As a kid, whenever I dreamt of flying, I'd wake up as I hit the floor. Heights give me the willies but, since the sides of the basket came up to my chest, I felt secure and the whole thing was a kick. I did make certain that the camera was well attached to me!
 

Hendrik

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For our trip, I had rented the 12-40 Pro. Even though I was also traveling with the O9-18 (also rented), O12-50, P20, and O40-150R, I fell in love with the 12-40 almost immediately. The bond was cemented once I got home and started post processing. Even though I had to return that copy, I bought my very own within six months. For the balloon ride, I carried only the Pro. Yes, I missed being able to zoom out further than 40 once we were at altitude but results are results...


The sun is up.
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Loud, but necessary. One might expect ballooning to be silent but between the burns, the guide’s patter and the constant radio chatter, peace was at a bit of a premium.
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Layers upon layers, into the distance.
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Low, warm light falls on Göreme lower right, Üçhisar left of center, Nevsehir in distance.
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Look out, below! What goes up must come down. That’s a lot of balloons!
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We’re one of the first down.
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Haul smartly, there.
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Stragglers
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Deflating.
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All smiles. Time for some celebratory bubbly (not to mention chimping the new piccies).
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Tomorrow we'll watch the show.
 

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Hendrik

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The next day. It's not our day to fly. We can get up a bit later, stumble twenty feet to the hotel terrace, sit down and still see the launch and sunrise.


Erciyes in morning twilight, seen from Üçhisar.
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The balloons have launched. Seen from Üçhisar.
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Sun & Erciyes.
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The sun is just peeking over the horizon at all the balloons.
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We weren’t expecting much after that, but the air currents brought the balloons towards us and we were treated to a grand performance.


This day the balloons fly right toward Üçhisar (we went the opposite way).
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Strange symmetry
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Strange symmetry redux
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Now, that’s what I call a strong diagonal!
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I liked the lines.
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Thanks for giving a look!
 
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Andrewmap

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Wonderful set of images from both days, thanks for sharing: it might be on some bucket lists, but not for me: I prefer wings either side when flying! :)
 

Hendrik

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Wonderful set of images from both days, thanks for sharing: it might be on some bucket lists, but not for me: I prefer wings either side when flying! :)
Aw, c'mon! Give it a try. ;)

Seriously, I feel somewhat the same but I was surprised how vital and engrossing the experience was of being aloft without any window between me and the landscape. As for skittishness with heights, that describes me to a T. But the walls of the basket are so high and rigid (there is no door – you have to climb up and over and be able to transition at the top) that I had no sense of height insecurity. That transferred to worries about dropping the camera. In any case, I'd do it again, no problem. And it's one of the only ways to get those angles and views.
 

Mattyh

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Wonderful and insightful, I was going to say images but that doesn’t do then justice so let’s say artwork.

This August (I know hot) we’ll be holidaying in Kusadasi so we can visit Ephesus, another one to tick of the bucket list and a first time visit for us to Turkey.
 

Hendrik

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Wonderful and insightful, I was going to say images but that doesn’t do then justice so let’s say artwork.

This August (I know hot) we’ll be holidaying in Kusadasi so we can visit Ephesus, another one to tick of the bucket list and a first time visit for us to Turkey.
Many thanks.

Enjoy your time in Turkey. The people there are wonderfully hospitable, despite the politics. Just plain folk.
 
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