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Europe 2022: Cappadocia, Turkey

Our flight to Cappadocia from Istanbul was delayed for over 5 hours, so we didn’t land until after midnight and got to our hotel at around 1:30 AM. This would have been fine if we hadn’t just had a few very busy days and a wake up at 4:30 AM for a hot air balloon ride the following morning! We were exhausted, but rallied the following morning for something that I have had on my bucket list for years – a hot air balloon ride over the landscape of Cappadocia. We used a company called Royal Balloon who was highly recommended and we could not have been happier.

We were shuttled to the main building the balloon tour would leave from at 4:30 AM, on around 3 hours sleep. Our group was sleep deprived, but reluctantly woke up for what would be one of the highlights of the trip. After a quick coffee and some breakfast, we went to the field where they began to blow the balloons up. There wasn’t much to see in the pitch black darkness other than the fires that were blowing up the balloons. Just before sunrise, we boarded our balloon and traveled above the earth. The scenery was absolutely stunning and something I will remember for the rest of my life. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to check something so grand off of my bucket list alongside three of my friends.

After landing in the field, we had a champagne toast to a successful flight before heading back to our hotel for a quick nap before our next thing on the itinerary. I should mention that I planned the day’s itinerary around the fact that I wasn’t sure if we were going to have good enough weather to do the hot air balloon ride and we only had a two day window to accomplish it. The agenda was heavily skewed to the first day of our time in Cappadocia due to this. We were picked up at around 9:00 AM for our private tour around Cappadocia. It was during this tour that we gained an appreciation for the actual scenery of the area – it was like we were in Tatooine from Star Wars! The main feature of Cappadocia was these beautiful caves and cities that were dug into volcanic rocks that eroded over 60 million years. Along the way, we stopped at a pottery factory where we bought beautiful pieces of art including coasters, dishes and wine vessels!

After a quick bite to eat, we headed back to our hotel for a bit of a rest. I wasn’t that tired, so I explored the hotel. It was dug into one of the volcanic rocks and we literally slept in one of the caves. We then had our final activity I planned for the day, a quad sunset ride across the hills and scenery we had seen from above earlier in the day. We literally explored Cappadocia from sunrise to sunset and it was an amazing experience.

We quickly showered before heading up to our hotel rooftop to take in the view of the city all lit up.

For dinner, we went to a restaurant that our tour guide recommended – Topdeck. It was a traditional eatery where you sat on the floor while you ate, or in my case laid on my side. The food was fantastic!

The following morning, we slept in after a whirlwind day! After one final stop at our hotel’s roof deck, we checked out and went into town to grab something to eat. I tried a Turkish coffee, which our tour guides had said is nothing to write home about, and they were correct.

We then headed to a nearby town called Avanos to relax for the afternoon. We grabbed some ice cream and walked around a bit before heading to a bar to chill and reminisce about the previous two weeks in which we visited 3 countries and 5 cities! We then headed to the airport for a late night flight back to Istanbul where we all had early flights the following morning back to the USA and reality.

The trip was truly an amazing trip with even better friends. What started out as an idea to go to Ibiza turned into a 2 week trip to Spain, Croatia and Turkey. We all had an amazing time and can’t wait to do it all again soon – maybe something a bit more relaxing, though!

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