Everybody that know's me well, knows that I'm no risk taker, I am a Mum first and foremost and I have 4 children to return safely home to. I'm known to be a tiny bit of a control freak, but I have a comfort zone, that I don't like to stray too far from. The Superman Escape ride , Buzz saw and The Green Lantern on the Gold coast theme parks are quietly in my comfort zone (just)!!
So, when I mentioned to my Cousin that I was organising a pre group conference extension to Cappodoccia the first thing he said to me was that 'You must experience a Balloon flight!!', as did everyone else that had visited the region.
Cappodoccia is known around the world as one of the best places to experience a hot air balloon ride. The spectacular surrealistic landscapes, combined with excellent flying conditions allow the balloons to gently drift over and between fairy chimneys, pigeon houses hewn into the unique rock formations, orchards and vineyards - through impressive Valleys, each with distinctive rock formations, colours and features and then float up over the rippled ravines for breathtaking views over the region.
|The unique rock formations, flying over the Goreme Valley...xxx|
Okay, so I finally bit the bullet and getting the okay from the rest of the group I proceeded to book our Balloon experience late last year, and felt quite comfortable with the Idea, I mean, seriously? How many Balloons do you hear of that crash and burn??? I'd read the stats online and our chances of dying in a Hot air Balloon were relatively low, even though my girlfriend had warned me..'.their not safe Lizzie!' Oh, well too late now. The hot air balloon experience was booked and we were all extremely happy to pay the extra 100 EURO per person to fly with the safest company in Cappodoccia, apparently!!
Roll on February 26 and I had just heard of the Hot air Balloon tragedy in Egypt killing 19...text messages were being sent around the group, that one had gone down, our chances were even better now, right? The week before departure, I received another message from our mate of another Hot air balloon, going down in Lima, Peru.....OMG!!!!
We arrived in Cappodoccia extremely late and checked into our gorgeous Cave Hotel and arose very early for our 4.25am departure to make our way to our launch. I wasn't feeling nervous in the least and was comforting Mim, who was very nervous. I wasn't overly happy with our pilot, as my research had told me that 'Mustafa' was the best, oh well, I guess Kaan would do...at least he had a pilot uniform on!!! The fact that he kept asking 'Is this your first time? Mine too...wasn't helping poor old Mim.
Most of the balloons were already flying high and for some reason we were having trouble getting our balloon to fill with air, let alone take off!!! We were quietly worried after at least the 2nd attempt, did these guy's actually know what they were doing??
The guys put us in the basket lying horizontally...this can't be normal can It? Is this seriously how we take off we were asking ourselves, whilst giggling and carrying on? It was actually to keep the basket down whilst the balloon was being filled...whoa, ok ...we knew that!!
|Boy, you turn me...upside down...xxx|
|Poor Mim...absolutely terrified...and then she copped a dose of tear gas in Istanbul..what an experience...xxx|
After the balloon was filled we hopped out of the basket again and then jumped in vertically and slowly took off!!
Once we were floating in the air I felt such a sense of calm. It was so serene and absolutely breathtaking, I felt completely safe and even Mim had calmed down and was enjoying herself. The 1.5 hour ride was absolutely magical and was followed by a light champagne breakfast. I even admitted to this being one of the most amazing experiences that I had encountered and we all had a fabulous time.
|And take off...xxx|
When we flew into Melbourne on Monday night, reality hit home that a hot air balloon had crashed in Cappodoccia that very morning! We could not believe this, so surreal and such tragedy, this could have been us!!! When our children learnt of this they said.."Dad is seriously going to kill us one day, making us swim through the emerald Cave, laden with jellyfish in Thailand, the Thai speedboat that we almost drowned in and now this!". Well at least we have great memories, I reminded the cherubs.
Would I do this again??? Well, after the accident.....NO WAY!!! But it was AWESOME!!!