As our hot air balloon joined over 110 other balloons floating in the air at the same time, we all enjoyed the view from above those classic nature-made fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. And not once did any of the 110 balloons even come near each other as we all shared the sky over Cappadocia.
All ten of us in our Anatolian Balloon were frozen in awe viewing the many unique pillar formations with light shadows on them. Floating in the balloon before, during daybreak and after daylight showed us all stages of light in which the fairy chimneys existed after naturally forming from volcano- dumped layers of ash and lava over millions of years go.
When our balloon came within 3 feet of a fairy chimney, we could see the deep layers of soft volcanic tuff rock topped by a harder layer. As the land eroded, ravines and crevices formed, leaving the fairy chimneys of today. And more fairy chimneys are being formed constantly as erosion continues on the tuff lava in the Cappadocia area.
At one point in our balloon ride, our pilot maneuvered the balloon basket such that he could actually reach out and touch a tree that only grows in the area, plucking several leaves for us to sample. Included in that sample was a green 1-inch long pecan-like nut which no one chose to sample. The green leaves were sampled, however, and were very bitter tasting.
After about 75 minutes, the first of the 110 balloons started landing. And, too soon, it was time for our balloon ride to end. But landing was my least favorite of a balloon ride because the first 2 hot air balloon rides ended safely but we were all in crash position inside the basket as the balloon landed with a hit to the ground and then a drag for several yards over rough ground, bushes and uneven terrain until it stopped. My third hot air balloon ride landed perfectly on the ground, renewing my faith that balloons can have perfect smooth landings.
But none of the balloons I had been on matched this ride in Cappadocia because of the scenery and landing. The pilot told us “when I say get into crash position you get down inside the basket and cover your head.” But he never told us that as we began landing.
Instead he said, “Prepare for balloon parking.” And lo and behold, we landed perfectly on the balloon’s trailer while standing up in the basket watching the entire precision procedure. It was AWESOME, PERFECT, FANTASTIC, and UNBELIEVABLE. Upon noticing other balloons landing, they also had landed on their balloon’s trailer.
After celebrating with a glass of champagne and receiving our official certificate and photo of the “perfect 10” ride, It was a one of a kind, most exhilarating balloon ride ever and it now ranks the No.1 best hot air balloon ride in the world on my list and hope my 5th balloon ride is also a perfect ten.