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Goreme - Sultanhani - Afyonkarahisar

Trip Details

Road Trip 2014
Date: Sat, 13/09/2014
Distance: 430km
Motorcyclists: Manolis, Giorgos, Stratos
Copilots: -
Photographers: Manolis, Giorgos, Stratos
Authors: Manolis
Translators: Sakis
Map: Trip map

Sightseeing map

At about 4:30 a.m., we were all on foot, and after a bit Stelios knocked the door. It is assumed that the young man –from the hotel-, who arranged the flight, would leave a note on the door with the company that we would fly. This was happening -as we realized later- as if someone had not awakened the time that would come the company's driver to pick him, then he will knock the door. We had absolutely no notice ... Once we put that warmer clothes we had, we went to the street to wait.

The truth was that the village had such mobility at the time, which gave you the impression that it was broad daylight!!! In almost every hotel / accommodation there were people waiting to receive them. Flying with balloons was one of the most profitable businesses in Cappadokia and you could understand it, if you happen to find awake at 5 in the morning in Goreme. We finally booked a flight to 130 € / person with the company Saray Ballons.

At 4:45 a.m. the van came to pick us up. He had other customers, while after us received and others ... something like school bus! After taking those who had to take, we headed to a place, like a big cafeteria, which were gathered enough people. Essentially there, the companies involved the customers to offer them a mini-breakfast, like tea, coffee and some biscuits...

Nearby were the first balloons that were preparing... The gas used for this purpose, fed by large bottles in the form of the flame. The sun that hour had not yet raised, causing the balloons lit and it was created a spectacular setting in the darkness that prevailed at that time.

After 10-15 minutes we got back in the van and started toward our balloon. This time, people were even more...

After five minutes we reached a plateau, through a dirt road. It was the takeoff point. Many balloons and people stood there. Each company had its own colors and designs in balloon. In the preparation process, from time to time you saw illuminated balloons with different variety of colors! I think for those who live the experience for the first time and not only is really special!

We approached the basket of our balloon and began to enter into either a metal ladder, or some special handles. The capacity was between 20 to 24 people. The pilot, having given some guidelines, prepared the "big balloon" to depart...

The balloon began to get up slowly! The sensation was unusual and not disturbing at all! Even for George that had fear of heights, he did not felt uncomfortable and he was very pleased! We were in the sky, even before sunrise. He begins to define... We could have an incredible panoramic view of the surrounding area! Around us there were balloons in a variety of heights and distance from us! When the sun started rising, the landscape became more impressive! The light struck on the bare conical rocks, giving unique shades of red! Unique spectacle!!!

The pilot seemed to be highly skilled, and in the course of the balloon, he managed to pass us just a few meters from the rocks, making the flight more exciting, stress-free! Generally, pilots tended to do that to impress their clients, but within reasonable limits. During he updated us to the points we were, and we spent some time over our accommodation and managed to see our bikes!

The flight lasted 1 hour and 5 minutes. Usually it is approximately 45 minutes. The landing was impressive, as he managed to land the basket right on the transport trailer, which was tied behind a jeep of the company!!! Incredible! Stelios -which had done this again- said he was very good pilot, compared to the last time!

The epilogue of the flight was a small event held just when all disembarked. The balloons companies had as custom at the end of each flight, to open champagne in honor of those who first fly balloon. Specifically, based on what he told us, the first flown was two Frenchmen, who used three animals as passengers. Once the flight is completed, the French opened champagne to please God for their success.

They gave us a flight certificate and then we returned all to our hotels.

Stelios and Natasha departed immediately, as they had to travel about 800km up to Izmir. Natasha would have to fly -the next day morning- to Chania by plane, due to work commitments. We would arrive in the afternoon, where we were leaving from Cesme to Chios and then to Piraeus, with Stelios. But we will share the distance in two days, with a stopover in Afyonkarahisar (435km)

At 10am we started to Afyon. The route Nevsehir - Aksaray - Konya - Afyon was a route that crossed plateaus. In general, it might be the most monotonous of this journey, particularly the section Aksaray - Konya. We made a short stop at the Cervansaray Sultanhani. It was a very nice, small stone fortress-palace built by Seljuk style, used as Cervansaray, as travelers rest station. It is kept in a very good condition and well worth a visit whoever passes by this route. The price ticket is 5TL.

Having covered about 200km., we passed out of Konya, which was one of the most important cities of the country. And this time we did not have the time to visit it. It had several attractions in the historic center. The city was neat, as it is immediately apparent even when you ride to the ring road.

About 80km before the Afyon it was raining. The tiredness was beginning to fall on me, because of the early waking and I was trying to find ways to keep myself awake. At 4pm we entered in Afyon with a bad weather condition...

The choice of the hotel Oreko Express Otel (55€/triple) proved quite good, as the rooms were clean and we could park the bikes right outside the hotel. We found it relatively easy because it was centrally located. We took a bath and went to eat.

We knew the place, so we went directly to the historic center. We ended up in a restaurant, just across the Soudan Hotel. We were unlucky, as it was cut the electric power in the region. So we did a walk and finally we preferred Numan Usta restaurant which it had gas and wood for toasting. As we ordered the electric power came...

The food was good and after we finished we took a walk at the old town, before returning to the hotel. Unfortunately the stomach-intestinal disturbances occurred again, making us go back to the accommodation. I fell asleep in the hope that the next day I would be better...