Monday, January 3, 2022

Hot Air Balloons in Turkey

One of the highlights of our Turkey trip was hot air balloons. We were fortunate to get to see them from the hotel in the mornings, but also to experience it ourselves!

We woke up while still dark to have breakfast and take a bus out to our saloon launch site. It was such an indescribable experience and beautiful to see the light snow dusting on the ground as we flew up into the air and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings of Cappadocia. 


Turkey Trip!

I am not even sure where to begin to describe our time in Turkey except to call it magical. We flew out of Europe on Christmas Day to spend a week in Turkey (lots of stuff closes in Europe the week between Christmas and New Year's and we wanted some more adventure!)

We flew into Ankara, rented a car, and drove down to the Cappadocia area. We quickly realized that the 4 hour drive (while smooth and good roads) was not a good idea for the day we were flying out. We have never adjusted hotels once already on a trip, but we did just that - we reduced one night in the area and booked a hotel in Ankara for our last night in order to give us minimal stress en route to the airport. 

We arrived late in the evening so couldn't enjoy much of the sights entering the area. The next morning we packed up early for the highlight of our trip - hot air balloon ride! It was spectacular! (We booked it for the first day in case you can't go because of weather as they will re-schedule for the next day, etc.) You can catch all the pics of that experience here. 

The rest of the day we spent exploring around the hotel and relaxing after the long day of travel and early morning. The next day however we started exploring all around the area. 

Underground Cities

There were two different underground cities, just a short drive apart: Derinkuyu and Kaymakli. The girls were able to explore almost all of the caves and run around with minimal tourists inside. We love watching their interactions and games and the freedom to explore a piece of history. They also enjoyed running around the area outside the caves. 

Uçhisar - Pigeon Valley and Castle

Our next stop was Pigeon Valley (aptly named for all the pigeons that frequent there) and castle. The girls spent time torturing the poor pigeons and we hiked down to explore the valley. Afterwards we explored the castle grounds and views from the tops before finding a place to eat dinner. 

Our dinner that evening turned out to be so absolutely fantastic that we went back the next day for dinner. The gentleman who runs the restaurant and the ladies cooking are meal were so sweet. And the food. Sooo delicious. 🤤 It's called Sofra Restaurant in Urgup and we highly recommend the meat dish that is baked in a ceramic pot which the girls got to break open at the table. Such a fun experience!

Goreme Open Air Museum and Three Beauties 

We wanted to experience different parts of the Cappadocia area so packed up to move to a cave hotel. The couple that runs the hotel helped us with our luggage, made us the most amazing breakfast, and were fantastic. The girls enjoyed taking a bath in a cave and we loved the experience! 

En route to the hotel we noticed some cool looking structures just off the road and decided to pull over. We ended up on a spontaneous hike for a couple hours with the girls realizing they had the freedom to climb, explore, and play. This sounds so simple, but when you live in the desert this was a big and new experience for the girls and we definitely embraced it!Afterwards we headed on to visit Goreme Open Air Museum and the Three Beauties structure.

Devrent Fairy Chimneys and Zelve Open Air Museum

Our last full day we explored the Fairy Chimneys and Zelve Open Air Museum. There were some old homes that the girls got to climb inside and explore despite being a bit nerve-wracking for Jason and I. One of the things we appreciated about Turkey was the freedom and ability to explore, hike, and experience so much. 

Can you see the girls way up there?! 😱

Avanos Valley

Our last day in the area we drove through Avanos Valley en route back up to Ankara. We stopped at a ceramic shop and got a chance to see how pottery is made and the girls got a chance to try making a bowl. We bought a couple souvenirs from the shop before walking the city and accidentally buying a couple carpets 😂 

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