Were we to trust Douglas Adams when saying that “The Guide says there is an art to flying, or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss”; from ‘Life, the Universe and Everything, it would be like embarking upon the never ending road of humanity towards the perfection of what lies beyond the ground. But was it not J.M.Barrie who said that birds can fly for they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings?
So for no moment must we doubt whether we can fly or not, because by doing so, we cease forever to be able to actually do it, as our friend Peter Pan would say.
Have you ever felt the need to simply want to do something spectacular but had no clue whatsoever where to start? Or has it been quite a while since your last daredevil act? Well I have just the thing for you! They’re called hot air balloon rides, and hopefully, after reading this article, you will no longer have second thoughts!
I have always dreamt of such a ride, but somehow the lack of control over the situation gave me such a fright. With a little bit of courage, you submit to the wind, enjoy the complete tranquility, put yourself in the shoes of Jules Verne, and simply admire the view from, well… way up there.
Hearing nothing but good things about them, I decided to fly with the Sultan Balloons team. What you need to keep in mind is that every experience is different, depending on the chosen company, but also the fact that the pilot has much to do with how pleasurable your flight may be…or not.
A sure thing is that the Sultan Balloons’ driver is sleepless-the man in charge of picking us up from the hotel and placing us at the take-off point, somewhere out in the open, on the field, near Goreme- Transportation is included so you needn’t worry about that.
I was there greeted by 3 balloons in different stages, under way (it takes about 15 min. for one balloon to be inflated) – all belonging to the Sultan Balloons. How could they have let us go up in the air on an empty stomach and without the sheer joy of my morning coffee?
Heaving in sight, the mighty Erciyes volcano was waking up basking in the gentle rays of sun.
The pilot that I ‘took advantage of’ in order to find out a little bit more about the surroundings and this ‘job’ as per say: Ismail Keremoglu-Chief Pilot and Flight Instructor. He’s been in business for about 9 years, during which he has accumulated 3600 flight hours. Besides many other awards, Ismail has been a National champion since 1997 and also a member of the Skydivers Association of the United States, British Balloon and also Airship Club.
What one must know about air balloon flights:
- They can be done only at sunrise, once a day. The adventure starts around 4 A.M and a must is mentioning the name of the hotel you’re staying at;
- In Cappadocia there are more than 30 companies offering this service. I chose Sultan Balloons as being highly recommended and due to their high level of professionalism. Not bad when flying with the chief!
- If not try it here, then when and where? The view of over 100 balloons ascending from the ground at the same time is absolutely amazing. But even more amazing is doing so at dawn. Breathless, I tell you!
- The pilots speak obviously several languages, Ismail alone speaks English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and just a tad of Romanian;
- What I found interesting was the fact that the place where a balloon takes off is never the same. This mostly depends on the weather forecast-which can shift everything 180 degrees. So keep in mind that a flight is never the same, and the balloon practically rides, where the wind takes it.
If it ever crosses your mind to purchase a balloon, expect around 95.000 euro having a 5-year life expectancy.
So why choose Sultan Balloons? Should one need more than the recommendation of Lonely Planet?
The price for flying a Sultan Balloons:
– balloon baskets carrying max. 20 people: 150 euro (cash), 160 euro (credit card), per one/1 hour.
Children aged: 6-12, half the price. Children under the age of 6: free.
– balloon basket carrying max 5 people: 110 euro (cash)/1200 euro (credit card)/per one/1 hour.
Worth mentioning: the price can be negotiated, an e-mail, a private message on FB and the deal is sealed!
This article (and more to come) is partly written – here the original – and fully translated by Ruxandra Stăncioiu, my SuperCoWorker.
<I could say about myself that I have a rather audacious sense of humour, summed up by the words of Laurell K. Hamilton: “When in doubt, ignore and be horribly unimpressed”>
Come and fly with me!