Cappadocia, Turkey: Butterfly Balloons Hot Air Balloon Flight

by jenjenk on November 14, 2011

Butterfly Balloons Hot Air Balloons Cappadocia, TurkeyI am suspended high up in the air in nothing more than a wicker basket that is hanging by a string attached to a huge sack of hot air.  The very same person who can’t even stand on a chair because of her knee knocking fear of heights.  Conceptually, it sounds crazy.  Luckily, I lack common sense so I didn’t have that to prevent me from being the first to climb into the basket as everyone else pondered the mechanics on how best to get into the basket [note: it's impossible to maintain lady-like composure when climbing into the basket when you're barely 5' 3" - even if you took gymnastics for the better part of your childhood].

The rain that swept into Cappadocia in the middle of the night came as a surprise to me, given the beautiful day before.  Much to my disappointment, it was still raining when the van came to pick up a bleary group of hopeful aeronauts at 6:00am.  In true “L.A. Story” fashion, we were driven down the hill about 100 meters away to a waiting area stocked with a light breakfast and coffee.  After 45 minutes of “go”/”no go” flight statuses, our flight was finally a “go”…maybe. We were taken to an alternate launch site in hopes of re-routing our flight pattern to avoid some gusty winds.butterfly balloons being inflated in Cappadocia, turkeyWe [the amateur photographers] tried to be as unobtrusive as possible as we stepped in, out, and around the balloons as they were being inflated.  The pilots were surprisingly patient in the face of our obnoxious efforts to get that “perfect shot”.  I was unsuccessful in my attempts at staying unobtrusive or at capturing the perfect shot.  However, I considered it a win that I managed not to set myself on fire.  That would’ve put a damper on the trip.

Even as we boarded the balloon, we still weren’t sure that we’d actually take flight.  The goal was to wait for the perfect moment for lift off.  So we waited…and swayed in the basket…and waited.  Took a few pictures…swayed some more…

Butterfly Balloons Hot Air Balloons Cappadocia, Turkey

I'm the Japanese woman next to the guy in Green. I swear I'm not that short.

I was so busy taking photos of everything, doing little 360′s in our 1/4 of the basket that I didn’t even realize when we were up in the air.  Once I did, I kinda panicked. The annoying cackle you’ll hear in the video – yeah, that was me.

Unfortunately, soon after we took off, Captain Mike felt that we needed to land as we were headed into the storm.  He was truly disappointed that we weren’t able to take flight but expressed his concerns over our safety.  It was actually the best of both words – we got to take flight and we were refunded our money since we were only up for about 10 minutes.  I enjoyed the short flight that we did have but I do feel the need to go back for another chance at a flight…and to hang out and relax at the Kelebek.

Since I was unable to truly experience a full flight, Can you share your experiences with me if you had the opportunity for a successful flight?  What did you see??  If you haven’t done this before, is this something you’d want to do – or are you like me and terrified of heights??

Butterfly Balloon
Phone: +90 384 271 3010
Email: fly@butterflyballoons.com
Funniest quote of the morning to our group from one of the other pilots as he deadpanned: “You will be flying with Captain Mike [Green]. He is afraid of heights… Good luck.”
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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

laurel November 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Sorry to hear you only got to go up for 10 minutes. I’ve been up for an hour over Calgary, Canada. I’m not afraid of heights, but did feel a bit queasy. I think it’s a sign of a good company that they’re worried about your safety over profits and I love that they have a sense of humor, the last quote is a good one!
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jenjenk November 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm

EXACTLY. that’s what i noticed the most was that they stressed safety over the fact that they hadn’t flown in a week or two. it had to be hard but I appreciated not dying or being in for a really rough/scary ride…

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HeatherChristo November 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm

OMG. First- your laugh is cute! Second- this is such a cool thing to write about and have taken video of. I could never, ever do that (motion sickness), but have always had the fantasy of being able to. Also- the fire picture is crazy! I guess I never thought about the logistics of how that was being inflated!

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jenjenk November 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm

heather – you are SO nice!! it was a cackle that annoyed ME! ;)

It’s weird…there was almost no motion. it really was like floating. LOVED it!! :)

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Courtney Mroch November 14, 2011 at 7:49 pm

WOW!!!!!! Very awesome, Jen. I would never be so brave to go up in a balloon! Not even for only 10 minutes. (Although, that was Mother Nature’s fault really. Still…I’d be praying for Mother Nature’s intervention to get me out of something like that. ;)
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jenjenk November 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm

That’s what my friend thought, too, but she gamed up & did it! :) I think you’d go for it!

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Jade November 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I have always, always, always wanted to do this! It sounds a little scary, but I can imagine once you are up in the sky that it is so crazy cool exciting that you forget your worries!
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jenjenk November 15, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I didn’t even realize we were flying!! it’s the landing that is a little nerve wracking…but he was such an awesome pilot that we literally “kissed” the ground with a light gentle touch!

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inka November 14, 2011 at 8:12 pm

You can pride yourself on having done the most original ‘non flight’ in Cappadocia. I mean everybody can complete one but how often do you experience 10 minutes only? i’ve done it twice, it’s great to see all these weird shapes from above, but I hate the hiss of the flame.
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jenjenk November 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm

AHAHAHA! I never quite saw it in that light, but you’re right! :) I didn’t care for how loud the flame was [it really interrupted a lot of my super silent video recording]. :)

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Michael Figueiredo November 14, 2011 at 8:38 pm

I am SO jealous! Riding a hot air balloon over Cappadocia is high on my bucket list. :)
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jenjenk November 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I never knew I wanted to do it until I started researching…and technically, I still haven’t really done it yet! ;)

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Marj November 14, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Beautiful laugh!!!! No I haven’t done this before and I would be too scared as I get scared of heights. Anyway it looks like you had a great time even though your flight was only 10 minutes :) at least it was a good experience as not many people can do this. Thanks for sharing I enjoyed reading your experience!
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jenjenk November 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm

you are too kind, marj – i know how crazy i sounded! ;)

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John in France November 14, 2011 at 11:19 pm

At least you got to experience part of it!! I think I’d have to have the perfect day – blue sky and very gentle breeze!!!
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jenjenk November 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I would’ve taken anything at that point…I was up pretty early so I had pretty high expectations…

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ben - adventureswithben November 15, 2011 at 12:25 am

I went on a balloon trip in Thailand. It too was short due to weather, but awesome. I think the best part was landing. We ended up in a field and these random Thai kids ran over to help us fold the balloon up.
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jenjenk November 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm

oh, that is awesome!! We landed in a field of sharp prickly bramble. :) …not only was i the first one in, I was also the first one out…owie.

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glen November 15, 2011 at 2:01 am

I flew in a hot air balloon sometime around 1985 during my past life as a television videographer. I don’t mind telling you, I was scared to death and my knees shook the whole time. Somehow, I don’t think I’d be as scared today as I was then, but still, flying is not really my thing and I have no desire to do it again (but it’s cool to be able to say that I’ve done it once. I still have the hot-air balloon-shaped pin they gave to first-time fliers!)

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jenjenk November 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Wait, so I missed out on champagne AND a hot air balloon shaped pin??!! :)

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Turkey's For Life November 15, 2011 at 6:46 am

You’re brave enough to even consider setting off. I was too frightened to do it when we were in Cappadocia. Good to see the companies taking care with the weather conditions though. I MIGHT consider it next time we’re in Cappadocia… :)
Julia
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jenjenk November 15, 2011 at 3:44 pm

this DEFINITELY needs to go on your list of things to do!! the views really are amazing. I was lucky to go in the fall so the colors were really beautiful…

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Christy @ Technosyncratic November 15, 2011 at 9:24 am

I’m a little scared of heights, so I’ve been hesitant to ride in a hot air balloon. On the other hand, I think they’re beautiful, so….. it will probably happen one of these days! The landing is the part that freaks me out the most.
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jenjenk November 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm

You won’t really even realize that you were flying…it just feels like you’re floating. Pretty awesome. I had a great pilot so he had a wonderful landing…

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Gladys | ByahengBarok.com November 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm

i’ve always wanted to ride a balloon! seems amazing to be up there :)
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jenjenk November 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Highly recommended – especially if you’re someplace as spectacular as Cappadocia!

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Sophie November 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Can’t believe I haven’t tried hot-air ballooning yet. Sounds like wonderful way to see the unusual and slightly eerie landscape of Cappadocia!
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jenjenk November 16, 2011 at 1:44 am

It definitely gives you a pretty unique vantage point! ;) love that “moonscape” look of cappadocia!

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Natalie November 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm

You are much braver than me. I got to the take off site and bottled out! Shame you did not get a full flight.
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jenjenk November 16, 2011 at 1:44 am

oh, no!!! I’m sorry to hear that, really!! i think you’d have liked it more than not!

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Cathy Sweeney November 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Love the cackle — that would probably be me if I was on a balloon. Have never taken one — need to build up some courage and do it. I can’t believe how many balloons are in the air at the same time — very cool.

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jenjenk November 16, 2011 at 1:45 am

It amazes me that those balloons don’t crash into each other!!!! i mean, it’s not like there’s a steering wheel! ;)

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Abby November 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I hear about so many magical experiences hot air ballooning! But mine was the most scared for my life I have ever been. The basket wasn’t quite up to my waist, so I honestly thought I was going to fall off. It was so good, I didn’t feel in control, shivering and just wanting it to end. I might try again in a warmer place!
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jenjenk November 16, 2011 at 1:46 am

Yeah…that was my biggest fear…i needed to know that the basket was at least chest high. No chances of me accidentally tipping out! phew!

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Mark Wiens November 16, 2011 at 11:51 am

I’m also afraid of heights, but I’d love to try out a hot air ballon – especially with a view of Cappadocia. Too bad the weather conditions didn’t turn out well, but sounds like it was still a great experience!
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Red Nomad OZ November 17, 2011 at 3:47 am

Wow! Snakes, fear of heights – what else do we have in common?! For a height-challenged person (in both respects!) I think you got the best deal!! I’d be wanting the ‘go’ status to be WAY more definite than ‘go – maybe’!!! Better luck next time – if there IS a next time!!

PS – You don’t look short – that guy is clearly abnormally tall!!
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Christopher November 23, 2011 at 6:44 am

Looks like a wonderful ride and great way to view the natural beauty of this area. I wouldn’t like to be in a balloon with all those people though. Yikes!
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Sherry November 23, 2011 at 5:42 pm

I’m envious because you accomplished two things I still have yet to do: 1) Go on a hot air balloon ride and 2) See the Cappadocia. I’d take a free 10 min ride any day. What a sensation it must’ve been taking off!
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