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Avanos

I think this is the first time on the entire trip that my alarm has actually managed to wake me up and I haven't beaten it to the punch ten minutes early, but waking up at 3:30am has that effect on everyone.

I got up in the dark and threw on whatever clothes my hands managed to locate in my dazed state, I vaguely remember grabbing my sole jumped and remembering to tell my passengers that if they were going to do a balloon ride to dress warmly.

I went out and waited in the dimly lit alley until someone came up to me and asked if I was waiting for a balloon ride. I followed the man to a transfer van, which was too big to get up the road my hotel is in and jumped in. We went around picking people up and finally went out to the restaurant for breakfast. I had soup for breakfast, which was actually really nice and certainly beat the tradition Turkish breakfast of tomatos, cucumber and over boiled egg, dry bread and olives.

After breakfast we got back into the vans and were driven out to a field where they were inflating the balloons. It was quite a sight we drove up to, seeing huge colourful creature rise and stand tall in the lunar landscape of Cappadocia. Occasionally, these creatures seemed to take a deep breath and then breathe brilliant flame as they expanded.

I was taken to my balloon, which was yellow and blue and climbed into its basket. We were given a briefing on how to stand and assume the crash position if we came down hard and then we took off. It was strange, it happened so slowly, almost didn't feel it, we were on the ground and then all of a sudden we just literally floated away.

At first we weren't very high, just above the strange rock formations, but then our pilot decided to take us really high, so high in fact that most of the other balloons were below us. It was a spectacular sight, an amazing desert like sunrise over the one of a kind rock formations of Cappadocia, but what really put the icing on the cake, was actually the eighty or so other colourful balloons floating around. It really was one of the most spectacular sights a person could ever see and totally worth every cent I had paid for it.

We spent about an hour in the air, before making our landing, the ground crew pulled us in and settled the basket on the back of a ute and we all had to climb out. We then had fun assisting the crew deflate the balloon, they opened the top of it to let the hot air out and we all chased the air out the end by walking on the balloon.

It was then time to champagne and cherry juice while the crew put the balloon away, what a perfect way to end this experience. We all then got into the transfer vans, mine got a flat tire and I had to walk most of the way back to the hotel. Typical.

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