The first glimpse of Görum in Cappadocia was breathtaking – from the top of the touristy panorama view point over the city. I had to think this statement over and over again, and I concluded that it is true: I have never ever seen anything like this stone village with the chimney stones and the windows and doors carved in the stone, with the more modern stone houses spread in between. It is the most amazing and surrealistic place I have visited! The special landscape is a result of volcanic activity, and then the climate in form of rain, snow melting, river erosions and temperature fluctuations in the region has shaped the characteristic stone formations called fairy chimneys.
Even more amazing than the formations are the historical settlements inside the stones. The tufa rocks was easily carved, and due to harsh weather conditions in Cappadocia the residents of the region carved their homes in the stones, even far down in the stones in underground cities of various sizes – the largest one’s going several floors down under ground and down to 85 meters deep.
People in Turkey are friendly, and the people of Görum are no exception. Wherever you walk in town people greet you and may very well invite you for tea. Accept, and you will have a nice cup of Turkish tea and a chat with a local who will give you a lot of inside information of the town. I met a former chef who runs the Pashahan hotel, and was invited for tea and some traditional sweets – and I also got a recommendation for a good balloon company which was among the best according to him. The same company got thumbs up from some other tourists who had done the ride the same morning as well.
I was picked up in the morning, and we were served a light breakfast at the office of Balloon Turca before the mini buses took us out to the balloons. The crew was already filling the balloon, and after just a few minutes we were in the basket – feeling the heat of the flame filling the balloon with hot air. The burners in the balloon are fueled with propane gas, and the hot air which fills the balloon and makes it rise up in the air. If you are curious about how the balloons operate, you may find helpful information here.
The early morning balloon ride to see the sunrise is one of the most famous sights in Cappadocia. Every morning up to 100 balloons take off from Göreme to show off the original landscape in the special morning light. I am always skeptic to the mass tourism activities – but believe me: this experience would never have been the same without the 100 balloons in the air!
Our pilot Toro was obviously an experienced balloon driver, he took us slowly up in the air – and we watched the funny sight of balloons popping up from the stone formations around us. We were lifted up for an overview, and then he maneuvered the balloon down in the valleys, over the apricot trees – even so close to the ground that I could observe a frog jumping around! We floated around the stone formations over the wine ranks – until Toro took us up in the air for a breathtaking sight: the sun rising over the mountains making the morning light change totally to a golden orange color. To be honest, this is not a moment to describe – it is a moment to experience!
You can read more about Balloon Turca, and you can also book a balloon flight with them on their web page. The price of a standard morning balloon flight is 130 Euros (July 2012), including a pick-up at your accommodation, a light breakfast, the balloon ride, a glass of champagne – and maybe even a hug from a handsome pilot if you´re lucky!
Thanks a lot to Balloon Turca who invited me along to their balloon ride and gave me the chance to have this very special experience in Cappadocia.
I´m an Oslo based web publisher with passion for communication, travel and a green lifestyle. When I travel, I prefer to go slow, sustainable, and “live like a local”. Why slow? It is about challenging the cult of speed, and to enjoy the small things in life and to live in the present.