Second day in Cappadocia started off with a bang at dawn with a hot-air balloon ride. We watched as the sky turned from darkness gradually into light blue in a deep valley surrounded by cliffs. As the balloon guys spread the 4-storey length cloth, we watched in amazement as the pilot climbed in the basket horizontally to start the propane-fuelled fire into the deflated balloon gradually being inflated by two super-strong fans. It looked like a dangerous daunting task where danger loomed at any moment if any of the team players’ safety awareness wasn’t on form.
As the balloon tilted up vertically, we rushed in excitement into the four segments, each one carrying 5 clients each. In less than a minute we were rising in altitude where everyone’s mood was enlightened to see hundreds of other balloons flying together with us across the valleys and the beautiful rock outcrops of the cliffs. Though the price was very expensive, we felt it was something you have to try at least once in your life.
We then got back to our hotel for some lovely breakfast buffet where I ate enough to last me until dinner. Though I am admittedly not proud to be a Singaporean, ‘kiasuism’ is an art everyone should master to maximize your dollar’s efficiency. We then started off our fabulous and long-awaited ‘Green Tour’ of Cappadocia.
First stop was Pigeon Valley where you just stand near the edge of the cliff looking at more ‘Fairy Chimneys’ as we did in the Red Tour the day before. I don’t think I would ever get bored at these rock formations even if I have to see them a million times. Next was a very long drive to Selime Cathedral, a monastery carved out into the rock just like the legendary monastery we saw at the Goreme Open Air Museum. We took some pretty cool shots and this monastery looked like it was perfect for a scene for Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider.
Next we went to Ihlara Valley where we started from the top and took the stairs down a beautiful valley with clear rivers meandering.
The valley was a stunning view but unfortunately we have been to the land which produces the best valleys and mountains Mother Earth could offer – Nepal. Somehow it pales in comparison but was still an enjoyable sight nevertheless. We then had lunch by the riverside restaurant. The food was filling but was of average taste if compared to other places we have tasted in Turkey. After lunch was a 45 minute drive to the legendary underground city of Derinkuyu.
We started off the tour with the guide showing us the ventilation shaft of the whole underground system that was majestically built 8 storeys underneath. It was a real miraculous work of art as they do not have the modern excavation tools we have nowadays.
It was a complete system of storage, residence, winery, ventilation and also a labyrinth to confuse and trap the enemies – mainly the Romans during the period where they captured Christians to be used as slaves. This impressive work of architecture is a real marvel and I really enjoyed myself exploring this massive tunnels of adventure. Though only 10% of it is accessible to the public now, it is enough for us to witness the genius of the Turks and how huge the place was.
Returning back home, the guide stopped us at an overpriced shop selling precious stones which I did not even bother to pay much attention to. Last stop was a last view of the other side of the Pigeon Valley, our original first stop. Then it was back to Goreme where we were in need of some intensive rest and sleep.
Price for Hot-Air Balloon:
120 Euros per pax for a basket of 20 people (the lesser the people in each ride, the more expensive the price will be)
Price for both Red & Green Tour: 220 TL per pax