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Flying in Cappadocia

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Another Argentinian showed up at the Monastery Cave Hotel. Actually, Luis (aka: Gerónimo or Momo) was originally from Venezuela. Like the Argentinian gypsy-hippies who I had met two weeks ago, Luis has been considering not returning to South America.

Luis began to think about adopting new citizenship while in Spain. Since he has arrived and traveled in Turkey, his thoughts about where he might settle have shifted. In Cappadocia, Luis's focus seems to be sharpening. After this morning, I'm wondering if Luis has found his new home.

Do you remember the 1960s-70s rock group, The 5th Dimension? Do you remember Up, up and away...? That is exactly what Luis and I did this morning.

Last night, I pretty much begged Luis to take a balloon ride with me. I think I energetically willed him to say YES. Hot air balloon rides are expensive. Really expensive. And yet... Dude, we are talking about a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. I am not sure it was my doing that brought Luis to the affirmative conclusion. I know for a fact Luis wanted to do this. Without knowing any facts, I feel everyone wants to do this. I sure as shit wanted to do this.

Balloon rides are tenuous. If the weather is not perfect, flights are cancelled. I would be leaving Cappadocia on Monday. Saturday was looking like a good day for flying. On Friday night, I made my pitch. Ercan called a friend. I begged Luis.

Whatever it was that tipped the balance from "too much" to "why not," Luis said "Yes." At 06:00 (6 am) we climbed on to a small bus that arrived in front of our cave hotel to pick us up. The bus drove to Göreme, picking up more people along the way. When the bus parked at our destination spot, all the people on the bus stepped out onto Mars. We watched flat material laying on the ground fire up and become hot air balloons, all around us. We climbed in to a basket attached to a huge balloon. Flames fired above us, into the balloon. As the sun rose, we did too. We lifted into the sky, along with 100 or so other hot air balloons, each carrying a basket of passengers from various towns in Cappadocia.

Luis is a documentary film maker. He is not working during his exploratory travels. He does not have his equipment with him. Yet, because he is used to capturing life on film, he took a lot of pictures and video clips. I took a few pics and videos, but... we can thank Luis for the bulk of the following footage.

Thank you, Luis.

Come, let's fly...

Luis and me, at 06:00, on the bus

Pre-flight preparation...

In this next video (that I took on my leetle phone camera), you can hear Luis saying "thank you..." He did not know I was filming. Once he realized my video was rolling, he stopped talking mid-sentence. What he was saying thank-you about was me asking (well, pretty much begging) him (last night) to take this balloon ride. I tell you these details because sometimes, it seems, begging turns out well.

Loud and powerful flames fuel the flight
Cappadocia waking up

Fairy chimneys and balloons

soon, it will be our turn...

This experience is so surreal, Luis starts mumbling in Spanish, and I am rendered speechless. What comes out of me is:"woah. wow. oh..."

Our pilots are masters.

If you are afraid of heights and experience vertigo, don't look down!

Ninety-nine red balloons go by... in Cappadocia, Türkiye

sunrise... from the sky...

This expression is not unusual. There are so many amazing sights to take one's breath away

Luis and me... up, up, and away!

In between being freakin' amazed or just... completely happy, I listened to Luis talk about the viability of him living in Cappadocia, creating hot air balloon promotional videos and documentaries. I do believe he was very glad to be on this trip. I hope that you are glad to be on it, too...

Check out this next video. Our pilot will take us down into valleys, between fairy chimneys and spikey pillars that looked like giant, naturally made cairns...

From our birdseye view, we have a truly spectacular view of the caves...

So freakin' gorgeous, yes?

We went up and down and up again... Now, let us go REALLY high...

What goes up must come down...

From the air, I watched a pick-up truck with a flatbed driving across the flat desert-looking land. And men, running. I thought, "I think all that is for us..."

Dude. The landing is so smooth, we do not need to "tuck down." And... we are landing on the flatbed attached to the back of the pick-up truck. Do you see any other balloons doing this? No? No! I do not see any other balloon landing in this way either. This is a ca-razy cool manuever. Our pilot is freakin' genius. All I can do is laugh...

The truck is driving... with us in it... in our basket, with the balloon above us, There are men hanging on ropes keeping the balloon down and the flatbed and truck from tipping over.

Stopped. The balloon comes down...

We climb out of the basket...

While the men squeeze the air out of the balloon and tie it into a bundle of material.

While the paying customers wander on the land, half delerious.

...and once we're all out... there's a champagne toast!

So glad we did that together! Cheers. Peace.

(The balloon, now a bundle in the back of the pick-up truck, is driven off. And we are heralded back to our transport bus, back to our hotels, back to earth).

60 views4 comments


Adrienne Roth
Adrienne Roth
Dec 07, 2023

OK, I have thoroughly enjoyed following along on this epic Adventure of yours and murphy's law catastrophies, Living by curiously through it all. And that hot air balloon ride was incredible. But it seems you were up there from dawn until dusk. So the burning question is what happens when you have to pee up there?🤣🤣🤣

Ami Ji Schmid
Ami Ji Schmid
Dec 08, 2023
Replying to

Toileting questions are most welcome here ;-). The total time without a toilet was ~4 hours. We drove to and from, waited to board, drank champagne, etc. And then of course there was the balloon ride. I'd say we were in the air an hour and a half. I was aware that, toward the end of that hour and a half, when the need to pee began to emerge, I was hoping we'd land. I remember thinking how relatively bizarre it seemed that I wanted the trip to end so I could pee. Biological needs rule. Maybe because it was all such a spectacular and new phenomenon, and my mind and spirit were preoccupied, my body responded as it did…


Oh, the life of a balloonatic! It's not Ami who's full of hot air, it's the balloon!

Ami Ji Schmid
Ami Ji Schmid
Dec 06, 2023
Replying to

"... a balloonatic..." That is so true!

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