Oh, did I ever have an early wake up call this morning… I was expecting to get up at 4:30 am because I had a hot air balloon ride that I was being picked up at 5 am for. I had my alarm set and a wake up call arranged so I was ready! What I wasn’t ready for was the guy walking through the village at 2 am with a really big drum, banging it with all his might to wake everyone for the pre-dawn Ramadan meal. Oh my god. I had earplugs in and everything, they were no match for the drum. Then, I finally get back to sleep at around 3:00, and I’m jarred awake before my alarm has a chance to go off at 4:30 by the call to prayer coming over the loudspeaker, which is awfully close to my hotel. It’s all part of the experience, right?
I go get my ride for the balloon, and we get a little breakfast and coffee at their office first. They come and tell us that they’re delaying it 15-20 minutes because it’s windy. OK, I just read Enduring Love by Ian McEwan, and it’s about a hot air balloon crash, so I’m a tad nervous….
We leave for the take off point and watch the balloons inflate. We get loaded into the basket and wait. Then wait some more. You can feel the wind moving the basket around, and see the other balloons being moved around quite a bit. There were some balloons already in the air, but our pilot said that not all of the companies follow the same safety policies so don’t be fooled that it’s safe just because some were in the air. We waited another 20 minutes to see if the win would die down but it didn’t so they deflated the balloon and our spirits! What a bummer getting up so early, but I’m 100% in favour of going with a company that values our lives more than getting our money. I came back to the hotel and went back to bed for 4 hours.
|Tired but excited!|
|Blowing ‘er up!|
|We’re getting aboard!|
|Ready to go!|
|The puppies and kittens in this town are making my heart hurt they are so cute.|
It was a hot one today, and I had to walk to the Goreme Open Air Museum from my hotel about 1.5 km. I stopped along the way to talk carpets with a couple of brothers selling beautiful old Nomad rugs and textiles. They don’t call them antiques since most of the stuff they have is only 70-100 years old, but that’s antique to me. Nicholas Cage was here in January filming some movie and they both have their photo displayed with him, so cute! I asked if he bought a rug, and they said they gave him one. Bah! So unfair, celebrity gifts!
I met this guy with some camels on my way up to the museum as well. You could get a photo of yourself sitting on the camel for 5 euro, or a very short ride for 20 euro. I thought that was a lot of money so I declined, but as I was standing there this kid (like 10-12 years old) with dark sunglasses and 2 inch super spiky hair comes up to me and says something really fast. I asked him to repeat and he pointed at me and said“Angelina Jolie.” I said, “Well, my name is Andrea, so you were close!” Then he said, “You’re very cute!” Oh my god! This kid was like, a KID! They learn young is all I can say. This is a funny, funny place.
|He was trying to get the camel to kiss me but I wasn’t too excited about that idea.|
I got to the Open Air Museum and paid my 15 TL. This is where you can go into the dwellings and churches carved into the rocks. What an interesting place, especially when you consider it’s now a Muslim country but these were used by early Christians. It was very cool, but I came *this close* to twisting or breaking my ankle there. That would have put a big damper on my travel now, wouldn’t it?
|I went back to my hotel for a quick swim and a lay down in a hammock. I could get used to this life!|
On my way walking back to my hotel I saw a sign advertising 2 hour, ½ day and full day horseback rides through the Rose Valley. I went and got some info and decided to do the 5 o’clock ride. It would be cooler then and we’d maybe see the sunset.
I have to admit I’m a little nervous around horses. I think I was bucked by a pony when I was five, and since then have been on maybe 5 horses? I love horses though, and the idea of riding through this landscape really appealed so I decided to go for it.
It was spectacular! I had a good gentle horse who was more interested in trying to stop and eat the foliage than anything else. This poor young Italian girl was on a horse that decided to bolt, that was kind of surreal. She was fine, but didn’t make a sound. If it were me on that horse, I’d have been shrieking my face off!
We rode all the way this ancient Greek settlement, had a quick beer stop and rode back to the stable. It was one of the highlights of my trip for sure. Top it all off with a nice glass of local red wine and a marbled fillet Mignon, and I think it might have been the perfect day if the hot air balloon ride had panned out. I have high hopes for tomorrow morning. At 4:30. UGH.
|Oh my god, I’m on a horse.|