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October 10th 2015
Published: October 18th 2015
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We knew hot air ballooning was popular in Cappadocia so we didn't expect to have the skies to ourselves but there were dozens and dozens of balloons, probably more than 100, and this is the low season! This was a new experience for both us, and it was a fantastic one. The heat and noise when the burner was being used contrasts sharply with the cold and silence when it's not. The incredible views without windows, wings or engines getting in the way. The slow drift in whichever direction the wind takes you – of course the balloon company has a good idea which way it's blowing before take off, these are sightseeing tours. The skill and knowledge of the pilot. The bright, clear, sunny morning with mist still in the valleys. The amazing geology. Everything combined to make it a memorable day. Well worth the €140 per person cost.

The day before we'd had a different view of the rocks by hiking in some of the valleys around Goreme. It's great to wander knowing it's almost impossible to get properly lost but we did manage to end up in a couple of hanging valleys where the only way out was back the way we'd come. The formations themselves are incredible and added to that is the impact humans have made by carving out houses, churches and graves, and pigeon roosts (to collect to droppings for fertilizer). Most are now abandoned and disused but some are still occupied. It's a wondrous place.

This is the first place we've been in quite a while that could be considered a mainstream tourist destination. It was a bit of a shock, particularly in the pocket – what we've been used to paying for dinner now buys us a couple of coffees. On the plus side – and it's a very BIG plus, it's also the first place where we've been able to find restaurants that serve wine and beer – not since I had Hepatitis 20 odd years ago have I gone so long without a drink. After almost three dry weeks even the ropey, overpriced local wine tastes good – well OK at least.

It's the seaside next.

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19th October 2015
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