After a long couple days driving east from Istanbul, we found ourselves in Cappadocia, Turkey. It’s the one spot in Turkey that was a must see for us. We scoped out a few different wild camp spots and settled on this spot in Göreme National Park.
There was small spot on the cliff above the hoodoos that required some clearance to pass. Our van did just fine coming in at an angle.
The kids immediately found themselves bouldering and claiming spots as their “home” for the day.
Our view here also inspired some drawing of our surroundings by the kids.
And when the sun dropped lower in the evening, we got a visitor.
Who appreciated all of our snuggles and snacks as well.
Those sunset colors. Wow.
It was below freezing when we woke up to the whooshing sound of the hot air balloons.
Our oldest kid Ava didn’t let that deter her from experiencing this moment. And I’m glad because the last time we watched hot air balloons in New Mexico, she fell off of her bike and broke her arm in front of the Darth Vader balloon.
We’ve had the pleasure of attending the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque three times in the last eight years. Witnessing the mass ascension numbering in the hundreds is a life changing experience. I’ve seen pictures of Cappadocia like this for years and to experience it personally is one of the main reasons why we came to Turkey. The craggy landscape dotted by colorful balloons floating effortlessly in the brisk dawn air is something we will never forget.
Ballooning means big money here. We ran some basic numbers on the amount of business conducted. There are roughly 100 balloons. Most are of the large basket variety with a capacity of 20 people. All are usually full and cost 200 euros to ride. Rarely any discounts are given. Assuming 2 people in each balloon are operators, days like this can bring in around 350,000 euros. This morning we saw no balloons because the wind was too strong. We probably had just a light 5 mph breeze. The officials gave them a no go and grounded everyone for the day. I think that means if tomorrow morning gets the green light, we should see an epic day of ballooning.
And look who came back to visit first thing in the morning. I noticed that he visited all the trucks this morning and most of them had some food for him. Guess we made it on his morning daily rounds list today.
My Joshua Tree mug from Mazamar Art Pottery (that I purchased many years in Pioneertown, California) making its way around the world.
When in the town of Göreme, the kids wanted to try to homemade potato chips on a stick.
Happy with their choice.
In town, we noticed a really young and shy puppy.
We have leftover food from our cat Yoda just for moments like these. It took a while for this one to trust us enough to eat his food from afar.
Scoping out another potential boondocking spot.
Would have been a nice spot as well.
Until we noticed large tours on ATVs kicking up dirt and making tons of noise.
Our original spot will do just fine again. Plus it comes with a large puppy dog.
So dark and quiet at night. We stayed for a few nights but only caught the hot air balloons once due to the wind.
Our last stop in Cappadocia is the Open Air Museum in Goreme. It showcases the homes and churches carved into the rocks and caves here in Cappadocia.
Here are a couple videos I made for Instagram during our stay:
Thanks for following along,