The only place I had ever seen hot air balloon rides was in my imagination when reading the book "Wizard of Oz". The next one was 20 years later, in Cappadocia, Turkey. It was the most exquisite experience of my lifetime, every cell inside of me came alive and I have never felt more exhilarated.
We could not have chosen a more beautiful spot than Turkey. We were surrounded by close to 80 hot air balloons and the views were out of this world. Pictures are worth a thousand words.
The pilot of hot air balloon is highly trained and certified after many hours of experience around the world. The fire in the balloon and the wind conditions determine the safety and speed of the balloon. It is a highly risky activity to do and the full responsibility of 8-16 people in the basket is on the pilot's shoulder.
As the sun rose we enjoyed the varied shades of the color of the sky against the colorful balloons and extra-ordinary landscape of this region.
Our pilot took us up and down the valleys and the sky so we experienced several varieties of views and shades. We went around these caves and learnt about the history of Cappadocia. There were Balloons crammed with 16-32 people, ours had only 9 people including the pilot. We felt more safe although we paid a lot more. Safety is very important in these rides.
The beauty of having so many hot air balloons around you is the photo op! A picture I would have wanted taken of my own balloon!
The balloon makes a landing on a flat plain on top of a hill. The company's van is constantly following the balloon and they are constantly in touch with the pilot over walky-talky. Once we make the landing, there are helpers who come to fold and pack the balloon. We open champagne bottles, they may throw you on the rolled up balloon and go cheers!
The hot air balloon rides usually begin shortly before sunrise. They took us in a jeep to a far away spot from where we began this unbelievable journey!
Some of our views from the top!
We missed the hunt, but not the feast!
Amidst the fog that had not yet fully lifted, we enjoyed the far and wide views of Serengeti.
Our landing was followed by a photo op with our Pilot Moses and his girlfriend as well as a hearty breakfast in the Serengeti itself with the fear of a lion attack looming in our hearts but an unfailing smile on our faces :)