Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey. It's not always easy to identify why we develop a desire to do something but I'm pretty sure that whatever dreams I had to fly in a hot air balloon became entrenched when I first heard the Fifth Dimension sing, "Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon." That desire came crashing down, though, when I saw the Smokey the Bear balloon caught on a radio tower at the 2004 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. The pilot and his two young passengers had to climb out of their basket onto the tower and down the 700-foot structure while news helicopters hovered around them, creating strong winds and significantly adding danger to the situation.
But yesterday I overcame my fear and joined about 500 other people in the chilly sky over one of the world's most unusual landscapes.
|Our pilot, Mustafa, of Butterfly Balloons, said Cappadocia is well-known for its good flying days, more than 300 per year.|
|I was a bit relieved that our balloon was not so close to all these others in White Canyon. Instead, our pilot, Mustafa, thought we should ascend above the clouds to see the sunrise. And so we rose...|
higher and higher and
it got colder and colder...
|Descending again, we saw the shadow of our balloon on a nearby cloud and a rainbow encircling our basket. Thank you, Mustafa, for an unforgettable experience and a soft, uneventful landing!|