Friday, 5 October 2007

Day 17 – Ballooning – Kahta

Tuesday 2nd October 2007

Surprisingly everyone made it up, packed their gear and was ready to take to the air on time. The minibuses arrived to take us into to town and we were greeted with coffee and biscuits and assigned our balloons. Another short bus ride later we were ready to board our balloon. The experience is hard to do justice to in words and I am really not going to try too hard here. It was simply amazing, the views, the sunrise, everything about it was awesome and I highly recommend this to anyone. It also made me consider whether or not I am afraid of heights, I have never thought myself to be but this ride went HIGH, on deeper reflection I think fear it too strong a word and daunted by heights would be a better description. Upon landing we were greeted with a Turkish version of a Kia Royal and some cake and we helped deflate and pack the balloon which our pilot had expertly landed on his trailer!

The return to camp for breakfast was high spirited and the three ballooning groups all compared notes and got competitive as usual with comments such as “ours was faster than yours”, “we were up there longest” and “they decorated our balloon for photos” flying around (sorry for the pun) A combined breakfast and lunch making session followed then it was on the bus for a 10 hour (minimum) drive, cabin fever here we come!

As I thought it would cabin fever began to encroach on the bus as the drive went on. A stop at a local shop provided some relief with local school kids being fascinated with us and our female driver. Not something you see every day in Muslim countries. As boredom began to worsen our young lad from Sheffield came up with the inspired suggestion of running a book on the time we would arrive at camp. A piece of paper, 26 1 Lira bets later and we had a game with one of the Irish girls swooping the pot in the end. The relief of reaching the campsite was enormous (though some of those with later times in the book had been hoping for more of a delay). We offered the chance to upgrade from tent pitch to hotel room for 15 lira per person (bargain), dinner was made for us and the first few cans of pop were only 1.5 lira but sometimes things are too good to be true with the price for pop rising to 3.5 lira by the end of dinner and wine coming in at 45 lira (the cost of a room for three!) After our basic but filling dinner and high drinks bill we headed to bed hoping the rip off tactics would end there, isn’t naivety great! Simple but clean rooms greeted us with en-suite facilities, a 3:30am start tomorrow to climb mount Nemrut and see the sunrise ahead we hit the hay.

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