The unique moon-like natural rock landscape… Houses carved in rocks… Cave churches… Pigeon holes dotting fairy chimneys as if they are windows…
How much more perfect backdrop for a hot-air balloon ride can it get?!
Upon my arrival in Goreme from Ephesus, I immediately looked for travel agencies offering hot-air balloon rides. I did not know how much a balloon ride will exactly cost, anticipating only that it will really dent my budget. Fortunately, I have budget enough for this adventure and so there was no turning back. I scheduled a flight on the second day with hopes that the weather would be conducive to flying. It would be my first time to experience flight sports and I didn’t know what to expect.
Two days later…
I was up early for the hotel pick-up. The moon was still shining, but it wasn’t so dark outside. Oh yeah, it was summer!
Then we were asked to board the compartmentalized basket. It was time to fly!
As our basket was gently carried by the wind, the pilot varies the flight altitude from high to low to very high and very low. At times it felt like we will crash into fairy chimneys. Other times we soared so high that everything beneath us seemed so little. We marvelled at the fairy chimneys that looked like needles ready to poke our balloons. We flew over the valley and were able to get close to some pigeon holes. Everyone was preoccupied taking photos from their chosen cramped spot.
The gentleness of the flight and the peaceful surroundings almost drifts you to a land far, far away where you can almost hear your thoughts. Where you can almost be one with your innermost self. And you wish that you can hold on to that peace and stay stress-free…
Until you hear a soft thud, and you are back to earth…
The flight and the temporary escape from reality ends, but not without a celebratory champagne and getting a souvenir flight certificate to cap it off 🙂
The Science Behind Hot Air Balloon:
How does the hot-air balloon fly? A gas burner heats the air to a temperature of about 100°C (212°F). Since hot air is lighter and less dense than the cool air around the balloon, the heated air causes the whole balloon to rise. When the air inside the balloon cools down, or when the hot air is let out, the balloon goes down.
What are the primary parts of the balloon? The ENVELOPE or the actual fabric balloon which holds the air, the BURNER which propels the heat up inside the envelope and the BASKET which carries the passengers and the pilot.
How is the elevation of the balloon controlled? Winds determine a balloon’s direction. Pilot can steer a balloon to a limited extent by adjusting the balloon’s altitude to make use of different wind speeds and directions. To lift the balloon, the pilot moves a control that opens up the propane valve which increases the flow of gas, and thus the size of the flame. The increased flame causes the air to heat more rapidly, the ballon to rises. Moreover, when the parachute valve is opened, some hot air can escape decreasing the inner air temperature. This causes the balloon to descent.
What is covered in the hot-air balloon cost? Basically, a standard flight covers pick-up and drop-off from hotels within Goreme, light breakfast spread served at the flight prep area, an hour hot-air balloon flight, champagne celebration at the end of the flight and a flight certificate signed by the pilot.