Cappadocia, a historical region in central Turkey, was a place I’d never even heard of as we made plans to visit Istanbul. I remember the first time I saw a picture of the unique landscape, and wondering if it was indeed a real place or some dreamy depiction from a Turkish fairytale. The topography is pierced with volcanic peaks and scattered with unique rock formations known as “fairy chimneys”, a name that precisely describes these fantastic structures. We had no plans of visiting central Turkey, and no time to veer off course given our already hectic schedule. I started reading about Cappadocia and its fascinating history, with churches from the time of Alexander the Great, Roman ruins, ancient monasteries and multi-level underground cities! Most exciting of all, I learned that Cappadocia is the number one place in the world for hot air ballooning. The idea of experiencing this distinctive landscape from above, floating high over the fairy chimneys, burned a fantastic image in my mind…. stubbornness set in. I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain… "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." It was hard for me to even fathom that a place like this actually exists outside of my own daydreams, and I was willing to move mountains for a chance to make those dreams a reality. Cappadocia is an easy flight from Istanbul, and I quickly coordinated a quick, overnight trip that ended up being one of the most magical experiences of our lives. We caught a 4AM flight and spent all day hiking. We pushed ourselves to explore as much as possible, enjoying one, good night’s rest and the opportunity to experience 21st century cave dwellings! We woke the next morning for a sunrise hot air balloon ride before flying back to Istanbul. That sleepy sunrise was the highlight of our Cappadocia fairytale. Every exhausting moment of our overnight trip was worth it for a chance to experience sunrise, high in our beautiful balloon, over the most whimsical landscape in the world. We soared higher and higher, watching the sun slowly creep its way over the peaks. Soon we were surrounded by hundreds of colorful balloons, adding even more character to our unique environment. Moments like these are priceless – the moments your dreams come to fruition, whatever those dreams might be, after moving mountains to reach them. Sometimes an idea seem so far-fetched, but the only impossible tasks are the ones you never begin. Sometimes your vision of a place, or an experience, is so unbelievable you can only expect disappointment when reality sets in… but sometimes reality is even better than you imagined. Andrea is a travel professional who escaped the 'corporate world' to answer the call of her wanderlust. Having an intense passion for exploring new places and experiencing new cultures, Andrea is circling the globe with her husband, Bryan, seeking out unique events and unforgettable experiences. Andrea's travel blog, Best World Yet, provides firsthand recommendations and inspiration for adventure, as she and Bryan make the world their home. You can follow them on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter. Andrea is an adrenaline junkie and yogi, who enjoys hiking, paragliding and cliff-jumping as well as food, wine, art and dancing. She is especially passionate about helping others make the most of their travels, and founded Elite Travel Arrangements in January of 2015. ETA is a luxury agency planning customized trips from curated travel selections. With in-depth, firsthand experience, Andrea combines her enthusiasm and passion for travel with an insider's perspective; offering local recommendations and hidden gems to ETA clients.
Comments will be approved before showing up.