Pretty much everything cool we’ve done on this trip has been because of a recommendation from someone.
Cappadocia, Turkey was no different.
I didn’t think we were going to be able to make it to Cappadocia because we had to fly from Istanbul and we didn’t book in advance so it would probably be pretty expensive.
Our first night in Istanbul we found roundtrip flights on Turkish Airlines for $85 that would get us back to Istanbul in time to catch our flight to Athens. When we then found a hostel for one night for $8, we jumped at the chance.
But of course, as always, we had problems. I was trying to book our shuttle from the Kayseri airport to Cappadocia when I realized our roundtrip flight from Istanbul was to/from the wrong airport.
I made this mistake once with Brussels! How did I do it again!?
We wouldn’t have had enough time to switch airports in Istanbul, recheck our bags and make our flight to Athens. So we had to pay a $50 change fee on Turkish Airlines to change our flights to go through the correct Istanbul airport.
But we finally made it to Cappadocia and thank god we did. This place is absolutely beautiful.
Despite being only $8 a night, Ali’s Guest House was an awesome hostel! It was built into the side of one of the cliffs so we were literally sleeping in a cave. This kept it really cool too which was a nice change from the disgustingly hot nights in Istanbul.
We spent our first day hiking the Rose Valley. I almost don’t want to share photos because they just don’t do it justice. It’s so beautiful and breathtaking. It may be the most beautiful place we’ve been yet.
After a dinner of Turkish pottery kebab (amazingness!) and watching a perfect sunset with a bottle of wine, we went to bed early. We were to be up at 4 a.m., the following morning for a hot air balloon ride.
On most mornings, up to 150 hot air balloons fill the sky over the surreal Cappadocia rock formations. Our ride was through the company Air Kapadokya and we were beyond pleased with the trip.
It was literally a once in a lifetime experience. Who knew this place in the middle of Turkey existed!? It is still largely untouched and not completely overrun by tourists like many places we have been. It was a perfect morning.
Except for the fact that my camera died so I had to take all of the below photos with my iPhone 5. I was devastated. I had packed my bag the night before so I could just grab it and go at 4 a.m. As I laid in bed I thought, “Hmm…my camera could have turned on in my bag because it’s so packed. Maybe I should take it out so the battery doesn’t die.” But I was so exhausted I just hoped for the best. Of course we got to the balloon, I took four photos and it died!
If you can get to Istanbul, you can’t leave Turkey without visiting this place. It truly does not seem real.
Thank you to Ben Forer and Tim Gowa for the tip and pressing me to come here!!
Ready for takeoff! (Note: This is a picture of a picture…awkward) It was 4:45 a.m. and we were exhausted:
Balloons being prepped before takeoff:
And a glass of champagne to celebrate a safe landing, even though it was only 6:15 a.m.!