That 3:55am wake up call was brutal….
Twenty five minutes later, we were jumping into the wicker basket of a massive hot air balloon with fire scorching the top of our heads. The pre-dawn twilight glow was just starting to show the silhouettes of a sea of other like minded travelers all anxious to lift off into this mystical wonderland of Cappadocia.
Our pilot was the first out of the gates and we set the pace from high above. If the tears of joy pillowing in the corners of my eyes were any indication of my upcoming elation over the next 70 minutes, I had a feeling June 19th will forever be etched in my mind.
The sky lit up with the fire sparks from at least 100 balloons lifting into this new day, all at different heights in their journey. The color resonated against a rugged backdrop of cave like spires jutting out from this crazy topography below. Our pilot easily raised and lowered our vessel with the mixture of gentle breezes and the occasional fire torch.
That is until one of our dramatic gains in height was in direct line of another captain and we experienced a “morning kiss”. After bouncing off our nemesis and pummeling a poor cliffside bush, we rose to finally get our first glimpse of the sun gleaming off the horizon. Wow.
We glided towards the suns rays and I stopped counting after happily clicking away at over 100 pictures/videos. I felt the constant struggle of being in the moment and making sure to capture this glorious memory.
As we inched towards our final descent and inevitable end to this ride of a lifetime, we crouched as instructed to brace for impact. After three sharp bounces jolted us into the lap of the unlucky passenger behind us, we returned back to reality safely and as giddy as could be.
We toasted with champagne to an unforgettable ride!