Hot-air ballooning in Turkey

Big Balloons and Sad Goodbyes! Rock houses, underground cities, hot-air balloons and some of the best hiking in the world! We’re going to miss Turkey… so much!  Such a romantic view, stunning balloon colours, the gorgeous sunset and hey and are those BOING Bracelets!

BOING Jewellery are all inspired by the travels of Andy & Alissa from 'Mad or Nomad', for more info on their travels

A hundred pilots stood still, watching and waiting. Faint radio crackles, excited whispers and the accidental pre-emptive click of a camera echoed throughout the valley as a thousand people willed the sun to wake-up.

As the first glow of warm orange sun pierced through the rocks the patient pilots saw their cue. The crackles turned to shouts and the radios went berserk. They flicked the switches and cracked the gas. Fire roared above us and flames pumped hot air into the towering balloons.

The sun broke away from the earth’s surface like a slowly rising helium ball. As it climbed higher into the morning sky it’s gravitational strings snapped away – cutting gravity’s hold on the valley. Hundreds of balloons floated upwards, soaring over the Magical Kingdom of Cappadocia - instantly becoming one of the most special moments of our life. Unfortunately, Billy sat the balloon ride out - something about liking his hooves firmly on the ground.

Cappadocia is special, whether you’re floating 3,000 feet above it or squeezing through tight tunnels 200 feet beneath it. And in the week we spent there, we did it all from top to bottom - and loved every minute of it.

We trekked all the major valleys, marching until our feet burned and night fell. We hitchhiked home when we couldn’t walk anymore and rented a car the next day to find and wander through even more valleys and the underground city of Derinkuyu. It’s the largest multi-level underground city in Cappadocia, dropping 200 feet below the surface. It could hold 20,000 people including live-stock, had schools, libraries and a complex tunnel system with ventilation shafts – it’s crazy how people actually lived there!

We explored ancient hidden houses carved into rocks, got lost in Red Valley and slipped and stumbled down steep rock faces – apart from Billy, who was in his element. Watching the sunrise every morning over the rocks, knowing that in a few hours you’ll be clambering all over them makes Cappadocia an adventurer’s paradise.

After Cappadocia we made our way to Trabzon on the Black Sea coast. But getting there turned into another hell ride. We spent two days riding through torrential rain and heavy winds only to be turned away by our AirBnB booking, which ended in a two-hour search for somewhere to sleep. It got even worse the next day as our route led high into the mountains. Within an hour we were atop a snowy mountain pass, white-walled with ice either side, the wind crashing into us from every angle, pushing us closer to the cliff edges. We had no choice but to crawl at 15mph, exposed to everything it could throw at us, soaking us through with rain, freezing our finger tips and Billy’s fur with ice and battering our bodies with wind - it took us an eternity to clear it.

Cold, tired and beaten we made our way to Lake Uzongul – our final stop in Turkey before pushing onto Georgia. Our last days in Turkey were spent off-roading into the mountains surrounding the emerald green lake, stuffing our faces with as much Turkish food as possible and soaking up as much as we could of the country we fell in love with.

Turkey is an alluring concoction of different worlds, mesmerising and ever-changing landscapes, delicious cuisine and incredible hospitality. We loved all of it, especially the wonderful, kind-hearted people we met along the way. Go there, you are going to love it too.

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