Dear friends, my dream of flying away in my own house, attached to thousands of colorful balloons, almost came true. (Thank you, Pixar, for giving me completely unrealistic dreams). I only had one balloon (but it was huge – size does matter), it wasn’t my house, and I didn’t land in Venezuela, but what matters is that I flew. And the place I landed in was breathtakingly beautiful.
Before I get to that though, let me give you some background about where it all went
We went to Cappadocia a week ago, and it’s an otherworldly place. There are tall cone-shaped rock formations everywhere, romantically called fairy chimneys (such a perfect name). The most impressive part is that people carved homes and churches into these rocks over 1000 years ago, so the fairy chimneys have windows and doors and some even have frescos painted inside.
Now, back to my ‘UP’ experience: We started our visit in Cappadocia with an incredible hot air balloon ride at sunrise.
The funny thing is, the people who managed our hot air balloon company weren’t brilliant businessmen. After realizing that we could book their services through our hotel for cheaper than their listed rate, Abe negotiated an even lower rate with the company (what a boss. I love him.) When we showed up, they asked us “what are you paying today?” which was a weird (and dumb) question to begin with. And then I saw, directly in front of me, a list of all the different rates that every passenger was paying that day. The rates ranged from 90€ p/p (us) to 160€ p/p (some really ripped-off people). Those were some pretty inflated hot air balloon prices (hehe) considering that everyone was in the same room, receiving the same service at the same time, and that the price list was RIGHT THERE for anyone to see. People started asking each other about pricing (luckily, before the 160€ losers arrived), but we kept our traps shut to avoid mutiny before takeoff. I’d rather cause chaos once I’ve received my service.
The flight itself was incredible. We took off just around sunrise and delved into the beautiful valleys and canyons to see the fairy chimneys from up close. Abe overcame his hilarious manly and perfectly normal fear of heights and actually enjoyed this whole new world (cue Aladdin song). We were lucky to have made it back down alive though. Let me tell you why.
A moronic couple on our flight did nothing but take selfies and ask others to take their picture the entire time, from pre-takeoff to post-landing (I’ll henceforth refer to them as ‘the idiots’). This in itself was annoying but forgivable as it was admittedly a picturesque and once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. But then, as we were preparing to land and 2 men reached to bring our hot air balloon safely to the ground, the idiots repeatedly thrust their phone into the men’s faces (who, have I mentioned, were holding the ropes to our safety) and asked them to take their picture INSTEAD OF LANDING US. The guys stared at the idiots incredulously, and somehow managed to politely tell them that another colleague would take their stupid picture later. What kind of morons do this? #areyouforreal?
Beyond flying in hot air balloons, we hiked in the Love Valley. This sounds really romantic, but the truth is that the valley is named for its penis-shaped phallic rock formations (let’s be mature about this). So of course we had to take photos.
We also hiked in the Pigeon and Rose Valleys. If I might offer my marketing services to Cappadocia, I would rename Pigeon Valley something like ‘the Hummingbird Valley’ instead. Who cares if people don’t actually see hummingbirds (because there are none… but just tell the tourists they were unlucky that day)? At least people will want to go. Pigeons suck. But, despite the valley’s terrible name and the fact that we got lost and had to be rescued by a local, the valley was beautiful and fun to explore, and was surprisingly not covered in pigeon shit.
Overall, we loved our time in Cappadocia. Even without a thousand tiny balloons, we were transported to a magical and truly unforgettable place.