More Photos of Hot Air Balloons in Cappadocia, and A Moment of Gratitude

Posted on
Feb 2, 2017
Posted in: Attractions

So, I’m not done telling you about the hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia. I hope that’s okay.

The thing is, even after we took our ride, both Rand and I kept thinking about it, and not long after he said to me, “Hey, what do you think about getting up early and watching all of the balloons take off?”

There’s this weird thing that happens with Rand ALL THE DAMN TIME when we travel, where I have to decide whether I’m going to stay comfy and warm in my hotel under a pile of covers, or whether I’m going to go out and have an experience that may or may not be unforgettable. I should note that all of these unforgettable experiences seem to be scheduled for the crack of dawn. And Rand, who will scarcely get up before 9:30am on a normal day, will bounce out of our hotel room at 5am while I’m rethinking my marriage vows.

(I kid. I like him. But I may not have been so eager to spend my entire life with him if he’d been a morning person.)

Our hotel arranged for a taxi to pick us up the following morning. Our driver was a lovely chain-smoking man in his 50s who did a terrible job of hiding the fact that he thought we were insane. He drove us to the launch site and sat in his warm car, gently shaking his head while we hopped out to stand in the cold. But by the end even he had stepped out to take photos alongside us.

That morning was clearer than it had been on the day that we went up. We watched the balloons fill – the loud rush of the heaters echoing again across the hills – and saw them slowly turn upright.


They sat there for a moment, looming, dark and silent.


Until the heaters ran again, making them glow.



And then, the sky still dark, we watched them float into the sky.


Our driver took us to a ridge that overlooked the launch site, and we saw the balloons rise from the valley below us. Sometimes they would seem to race each other. During our flight our pilot had explained to us that the balloons touching was not concerning – it was when the baskets bumped into one another than problems arose. Fortunately, that’s rare.


Our balloon ride had been miraculous, but the sky on this morning blew it out of the sky.


The sun began to rise, and with it, more balloons.

And once again, as it had been on the day we took our flight, the sky was soon filled with them.


In a blink the sun was up, in a blink it was daytime. Slowly, Cappadocia began to wake. We were a six-hour drive from the Syrian border. If someone had left by car – if it were possible to leave – they could have reached us by lunchtime. But the only thing stopping us from seeing the sunrise was that we had to pull ourselves from our beautiful hotel bed. That was it. We got up, we watched the sunrise, we took photos. Later we’d wander through towns and eat lamb and we’d go home. Easily. Safely.


We climbed into the cab. The driver had the heater running for us, and the inside smelled faintly of stale cigarette smoke. I tucked my hands into my armpits, trying to warm them up.

“So,” Rand asked me as we headed back to our hotel, “was it worth it?”

“Always,” I told him. In my world, when this is the biggest decision I am faced with, stepping out into the darkest with him is always worth it.

Leave a Comment

  • Gratitude and compassion. Thank you for the reminder after I watched the sun rise through the crack in my curtains on this Saturday(!) morning. I’ll always be a morning person, I’m afraid. For some reason my husband loves me anyway. 🙂

  • Theresa

    Not relevant to this post, but I saw this and thought of you. I know, I know, I don’t even “know” you. But your love for Jeff Goldblum spans all space and time.

  • shweta ggupta
  • Veronica

    Simply breathtaking. There are no other words. My (ex) brother in law spent time in Turkey and I have a friend who lives there. All the pictures I have seen of the land, cities, and people make me wish I could go there. Maybe one day. But first…. Italy. I have been waiting my whole life to go there and I will get there… one day. Preferably before Venice sinks. I am playing a shameful catch-up on your blog. But on the upside I just finished your book and LOVED it. I laughed and I even got choked up, and not even in the Oh my god your love story is so sweet it’s nauseating kind of way 😉 Thanks for sharing your life with us in all its wonderful, unpredictable, humorous glory.

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