Flying a hot air balloon seem far fetched and was never in my bucket list. It is because I keep my list achievable, rational and realistic. Though part of my bucket list is to visit the transcontinental country of Turkey, my flying a hot air balloon in Cappadocia was just in one of the plenty of things to do that I would not regret in case destiny would not let it happen.
And when I stepped on the tarmac of Kayseri Airport (after a domestic flight from Istanbul), I already concluded that flying the hot air balloon would be next to impossible. It was snowing!
Prior to going to Turkey specifically in Cappadocia, one travel tip I read in various blogs which I realized to be very significant is to book for a hot air balloon ride as soon as you arrived and checked-in in your hotel. Since hot air balloon ride is synonymous to Cappadocia, I suppose all hotels in Cappadocia has contacts to hot air balloon operators. A tourist must request/book for the soonest possible day of the ride because not all days in capricious Cappadocia would permit flying because of erratic weather conditions.
And since Cappadocia just experienced the first snow of the upcoming winter, I already gave up the idea that I would be riding the world famous hot air balloon in this part of the planet. The hotel owner told me that it would be impossible for operators to fly for the next couple of days. He nevertheless told me that I am booked on the day hot air balloon flying resumes. On when it is, only the weather knows according to the hotel owner.
But on the last night of my 5 days stay in Cappadocia while I was packing my bags for my return to Istanbul, the hotel owner was knocking on my door to inform me that hot air balloon ride resumes early tomorrow morning. That I got to be ready at 5:00 AM because a shuttle van will pick me up at the hotel so as to bring me to the site where all the preparations and flying happens.
When I told the hotel owner that I may not be flying anymore because my flight back to Istanbul is tomorrow after lunch, he gleefully told me that all flying happens in the morning and that I will surely be back at the hotel by 10:00 AM.
On the last night of my stay in Cappadocia, I concluded that part of the heavy snow that fell on my first day in Cappadocia must probably be fragments from a lucky star that were sprinkled by the heavens. I got to ride the hot air balloon!
When our balloon was landing on the plains of Cappadocia, I have already concluded that riding the hot air balloon was one of the unforgettable highlights of my Turkey journey. It was so surreal, the exhilarating experience was actually more than achieving and crossing out an entry in my bucket list.
Jusko, jusko, jusko! Salamat!