My mom, Katie, and I woke up at 4:45am on Aug. 21st, my 30th birthday. The car picked us up at 5:05 and dropped us off at a garage where many other bleary-eyed foreigners drank coffee and nibbled on bisquits. Next, we were shuttled into our pilot's vans, and driven into the countryside, which was littered with limp hot air balloons and passengers huddled in the chilly morning, waiting for their rides to inflate. The ride to our balloon was the scariest part of the morning- our driver was given the wrong directions, and so we sped over criss-crossing dirt roads in the Cappadoccian countryside searching for the right balloon and crew.
When we found it, it was fun to watch the process from flacid balloon to 20 of us climbing into the wicker basket, the crew holding our tethers as the pilot completed the final inhalations.
We ascended very quickly, and were very soon one with the rest of the school of the balloons.
Our pilot maneuvered our balloon up and down over hills, in between fairy chimneys. It was very still, and we enjoyed a crisp focused view of the landscape pre-hot summer haze.
The neatest part of the experience was being in the center of 100 or so other balloons, all floating in the same direction with the wind. It was magical.
After we landed, the crew pulled out a small table for cake and champagne to toast our ride.
My mom then bought a pin of a hot air balloon flying over fairy chimneys, not realizing to the average American eye, it will look like a hot air balloon flying over a land of erect penises.