Cancelled Flight: Cappadocia Part II

Cancelled Flight: Cappadocia Part II

Since all the air balloon flights were cancelled on my second day in Cappadocia, I planned a sunrise hike instead. I set my alarm at 6am and actually woke up before the alarm went off, but my legs won’t move. I just lied awake on my comfortable bed for an hour before I actually got up. I was too tired from my activities the previous day. I want to get those gorgeous golden hour shots at sunrise but I kept convincing myself that I can always get them at sunset instead. Lol! So, no sunrise hike and no air balloon flight, but I wasn’t worried. I still have my third and last day to do anything I want in this unbelievably beautiful moonscape. I showered and ate at the awesome breakfast buffet of my hotel, then I was off to do the Red Tour.

Red Tour was more relaxed and easy and the tour guide’s accent was much clearer. Our tour group was also bigger than my green tour the previous day, there were about 15 of us. I also like my group mates better on this tour because they were more friendly and interesting. I met a Colombian couple who loves to travel somewhere new once or twice a year, an Australian couple who lives in London and has so many travel plans and a solo Italian girl traveler who looks very cool, she reminds me of Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo, without the goth make up and the facial piercings. We had a casual chat during lunch and the girl from Australia asked what we do for a living and all of us have the same answer which is  “just a boring office job.” I realized right then that I’m exactly with the people who speaks my language. We then talked and shared our impressions about how warm and hospitable Turkish people are.

Travel Tip: I paid 35 euro for my Green Tour with Turkish Heritage Tours and 30 euro for my Red Tour with Woop Woop Travel. Bring cash because it’s more expensive if you use credit cards.

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Uçhisar

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Love Valley View Point

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Göreme Open Air Museum

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Göreme Open Air Museum

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Devrent valley

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Paşabağ fairy chimney rock formations

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Avanos Traditional Handicrafts

Honestly, from my own experience with the Turkish people, they treat you more like a friend than a customer or a stranger. After my Red Tour that day, I decided that I wont go for a sunset hike because I can just watch the sunset from my hotel. The hotels in Cappadocia are quite different. Kelebek hotel for instance is like a big compound of different caves, fairy chimneys and rock formations that are interconnected to each other. So, while finding a good spot to watch the sunset, I noticed that there’s a higher rooftop at the back part of the hotel. I know that I was already trespassing in another property because I saw a different hotel name, but I continued anyway because the hotel looked abandoned. Even when I got to the rooftop, the tables were all dusty and the chairs were stacked as if no one uses them. I sat there and waited for sunset for maybe about 30-40 minutes  but the weather was gloomy and it looked like it was going to rain. I started to go down the stairs but I was so surprised when a guy who looked like a hotel staff was about to go up. I stopped and pretended like I was taking photos thinking of an excuse for trespassing. The guy smiled and greeted me though, so I smiled back. He asked me if Im a guest from the Kelebek Hotel. I said yes while descending down the stairs and hurrying up to leave. Lol! He told me that I can stay if I want and even offered to bring me tea. Like, who does that? Who offers tea to strangers who trespassed at your property?! I was so surprised by his hospitality but I turned down his offer because it looked like it was about to rain plus I was getting too cold and hungry. Turkish are the friendliest people I’ve met.

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

View from the rooftop of the hotel I trespassed in!

After my rooftop encounter, I decided to have an early dinner and call it a day. But just when I was about to retire to my room, a guy from the reception called my attention and told me that my balloon flight for the next morning was again cancelled due to the strong wind forecast. I have an evening flight the next day and I’ll have no other chance of riding that air balloon. I was so disappointed to say the least. I tried hard to convince myself to just let it go because the weather is totally out of my control but Ill be damned if the weather will suddenly cooperate the day after I leave Cappadocia. The next morning, I asked the front desk how’s the weather forecast for the next day. They said that the wind looks good but they were confused why I’m even concerned when I’m checking out later to catch my Istanbul flight. I asked them many times about how good the chances are for a balloon flight the next day because I’m willing to cancel my flight to Istanbul that day and extend one more night in Cappadocia. I calculated the amount of money that I’m wasting for a cancelled flight and one night of accommodation in Istanbul, not to mention the money that I have to spend to book a new flight and to extend one more night in my hotel in Cappadocia. It’s something that I can live with as long as I can experience the balloon flight. But I was given no guarantees, obviously because they cant control the weather. I was so hesitant because what if I wasted all that money for nothing, what if the balloon flight gets cancelled again the next day. One of the receptionists put some sense into me. She said that it’s definitely a risk but its a risk worth taking because the balloon flight experience is definitely amazing. Risk it for one more day, she said and I did just that.

The best part was when I asked them to transfer me to a cheaper room because I was staying in a junior suite and it would be too costly for me to stay one more night. They told me that they have a cheaper room at 40eur as compared to my 60eur room but its just a basic standard room. I told them that I was fine with it, but after checking their system for a few minutes, they told me that I can stay in the same junior suite room for 40eur instead so I don’t have to go through the hassle of packing up and transferring my luggage to another room. They told me that the guest who booked my room for that date cancelled the reservation, so they’re letting me stay instead. I was so surprised and grateful. Like seriously, the staff in Kelebek Hotel are the best!

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Our tractor driven wagon ride on our way to eat some organic breakfast organized by my hotel.

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Organic breakfast in a secluded and charming Hidden King’s Valley owned by Kelebek Hotel

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

They’re preparing our breakfast

After joining the organic breakfast organized by my hotel, I spent half the day arranging for new flights and accommodation. It was almost noon time when I headed out to explore the town. I had nothing planned for that day since it was supposed to be my last day. I was having second thoughts whether or not to go on a hike in the Red and Rose Valley. I was so hesitant about it because my legs were already hurting so bad from the previous hikes that I did. Plus I have no idea where to start, where to go or how far it will be. Its a self guided hike basically. I was confident with my sense of direction but I was not confident if I can endure a long hike. I tried convincing myself that it will be an easy hike, its not like a forest or a mountain. I just basically need to hike up and down those steep rock formations. Like its not even slippery, but Im not exactly the fittest person in the world so what’s easy for them is hard for me. I really couldn’t make up my mind so I started to just walk aimlessly around the town and checked out some souvenirs in shops.

Goreme is a really small town, I didn’t expect that I was already reaching the end of the town after maybe 30-40 minutes leisurely walk. Some shop owners were even asking me, where Im heading and Ive been answering them: “Nothing, just walking around the town.” Lol! After a few more meters, I saw a dirt path on the left side of the main road that leads to the different valleys. Before I can cross the main road and start on the dirt path, there’s an ATV rental shop. There were actually a lot of them at the center of the town but I completely ignored them. But since its the last shop before the dirt road, I had no choice but engage in a conversation with the shop owner so I can ask for more info about the Red and Rose Valley. He asked where I was going and I told him that I want to go to the Red and Rose valley. I asked how far it is and what’s the nearest valley instead. He asked whether if Im just walking. I told him, maybe. Lol! I was so undecided. He said, “Why not ride an ATV?” He showed me a map and the valleys that I can visit on an ATV. I couldn’t go into the labyrinth of the valleys of course but I can go to some good vantage points and get some nice panorama views of each valley. I told him that I don’t know how to drive an ATV  and Im scared that I might fall. Deep down, I know it was easy, I was just really being paranoid.

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Sword Valley

They took some time to teach me and let me get used to it on a plain flat dirt path before they let me go. I was nervous at first but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. There’s a guide of course, otherwise I wouldn’t know where to go or which valley is which. The guide was riding his own ATV and he speaks zero english but he was so kind to me. He even let me use his sunnies so the dirt wont go into my eyes. He offered to take my photos and videos without me asking him. He almost gave me a heart attack when he led my ATV to jump on a very steep slope. Our communication was limited to laughs, nod, lets go, the name of the valleys and a lot of hand gestures, but I had the best time. I was so not prepared for this ATV ride, if I would have known, I could have brought my own sunnies, wore black jacket and black pants ang brought extra protection for my camera from the dust. My denim jacket and pants were so dusty after the ride. Thankfully my camera was built like a tank, so it was okay. But the ride was superb, it was honestly the best 60 lira that I spent in Turkey. I got to see the different valleys on my own pace. I was able to get up close to the Red and Rose Valley. In fact I stayed there for a long time. Honestly, the Red and Rose Valley captivated me most out of all the valleys in Cappadocia. It was one of my best days in Turkey.

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Red and Rose Valley

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Cavusin Old Greek Village

We passed by a group of young cyclists riding their mountain bikes on the dirt path on our way back. They yelled “hi”, so I yelled “hey” back. After I returned the ATV, I started walking back towards the town when I saw 3 of them resting on the road side with their mountain bikes. I just walked passed them but one of them called me out and pointed at my camera. I thought he wants to know what my camera is but he asked me to take a photo of him instead. I was initially surprised but I was happy to oblige. His friends were laughing at him because he couldn’t even speak english and he was so bold to ask a stranger to take his photo. Their other friends started to arrive and gathered around us, probably 15 of them. I was tempted to ask them for a group photo but we were on the side of the main road so it was difficult. Anyway, when he saw the photo that I took, he liked it so much that he wanted me to give him a copy. He asked if we can be friends on facebook but I lied and said that I don’t have facebook. Lol! I downloaded the photo on my phone using my camera’s wifi instead and sent it to him through airdrop since we were both using iphones. He really liked my shot and was so happy to get a copy, he kept showing it off to his friends. It was amusing.

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

The photo I took as requested. Lol!

When I got back to my hotel, there was no news of air balloon flight cancellation thankfully, so I slept early because the pick up time was at 4:45am the next day. I woke up at 3am because I have to pack up my things and get my luggage ready because I have a morning flight back to Istanbul after our air balloon activity. They brought us to have breakfast first before the balloon ride. We thought it will be a quick breakfast because people were done in probably 15-20 minutes. We were just waiting to be instructed to go inside our assigned vans so they can bring us to where the balloons are. But instead, we were told to go back and wait inside because the color status from the Turkish Civil Aviation is still at yellow. If it will turn red, it means all flights are cancelled. If it will turn green, then we can fly. We waited for probably an hour, like it was almost 6am when they decided to bring us where the balloons are and let us wait there instead.

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

When we got to the field, we saw that the balloons were fired up to be inflated but we were still not assured whether we can fly or not. Until, they told us to climb up and get inside the basket. There were about 15 people in 1 basket. We were all very excited because we know that it was definitely happening. Until we saw that some of the balloons started to rise up in the air and we felt that our balloon started to rise up too. Suddenly hundreds of balloons filled the horizon and we were suspended high up in the air. We can see the moonscape of Cappadocia bathe in soft morning light with a horizon dotted with hundreds of colourful balloons. I cant even begin to tell you how overwhelmingly beautiful that moment was. Tears literally started streaming down my face. I felt like my heart was about to explode because I was so happy and grateful for being in that moment. The memory of it as I write this now, still brings tears to my eyes. It was one of my most unforgettable travel moments. If you can only have one air balloon ride in your life, do it in Cappadocia.

Travel Tip: I was initially booked with Butterfly Balloons and their price was 120 euro. Since the balloon flight kept getting cancelled and my dates kept getting postponed, they got fully booked on the date when the flight was allowed again. My hotel booked me with Universal Balloons instead and I only paid 80 euro with them. The only difference that I can think of with more expensive companies is the before and after service. They probably serve more delicious breakfast and champagne that’s why they’re more expensive. But when it comes to the balloon flight experience itself, I honestly think there’s no difference. Also, book your balloon flight on your first day so if it gets cancelled, you can still book it again on your succeeding days of stay. You will get a full refund if you can’t fly at all.

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

 

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

 

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Celebrating with champagne after the balloon ride (but half of the glass is just filled with sour cherry juice. lol!)

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Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

 

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3 Comments

    Cappadocia Travelouge
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  2. Elaine

    Heart warming beautiful! Felt like I am with you in this journey while reading this.

    REPLY
    • Getz

      Thanks laine!

      REPLY

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