Day 11 - Hot Air ballooning, underground city
Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
105Trip End Jan 09, 2013
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The weather could have been a spoiler, however the rain stopped and the sky cleared, allowing us a very exciting experience.
We flew with Royal Balloons, with our guide Swart, a very accomplished balloon pilot and fantastic guide. We had a group of 12 in the balloon, which is 4 less than the basket of our ballon could take.
Being such a good place to balloon has meant that from 8 years ago, when there was only 4 balloons in the region, there can now be 120 balloons in the sky at a time
Of course the crazy landscape of Cappadocia, with fairy chimneys and rock towers makes the scenery very interesting, with the Swart dropping literally to tree height in some places in the valley. To celebrate landing, as is tradition we popped some bubbly and got medals. The whole experience was fantastic.
We had little time to pause between activities, as we has organized a tour. Pickup from our hotel at 0930!
Off we went, with our guide Sam, and tour group of 8, to see the sites that we couldn't do by walking.
Starting with a tour of a natural castle, including the Selime Catherdral, this towering piece of rock has been carved into a small Christian town. As was mentioned before, most of the caves in Cappadocia were made by Christian escaping persecution. It is difficult to get to many of the caves, which ensured they could not be attacked easily - being mostly monks and nuns they were keen to avoid fighting and rather tried to shut themselves into the castle if there was danger
From here we headed to the Anatolian Canyon, a beautiful fairyland canyon, where we did a short walk before lunch.
We stopped at a volcanic lake, one of many. Cappadocia was formed from the many volcanoes in the area.
To the highlight of the trip, the underground city. This city is thought to have been a refuge for locals facing danger. The city needs to be seen to be believed. It has been dug to 7 levels deep. The inhabitants built kitchens, ventilation shafts, wells, churches, meeting rooms, private rooms, and even place to put their animals.
The tunneling is impressive, with traps for enemies and stair corridors over 100 meters long. It was like something out of Indiana Jones.
Speaking of which, some of the Cappadocian landscape we passed was used in the first Star Wars movies, no 4.
We ended our tour with a visit to the onyx manufacturing jewellery store and a stop at a good viewing spot.
Exhausted we have grabbed some take away food and are looking forward to an early night.
The day has been wonderful.