In my mind, there are few experiences that defy common sense as much as a hot air balloon ride. Especially if, like me, you harbour a healthy fear of heights. The very notion of a giant vinyl envelope filled with heated ozone remaining hanging high in the sky, without the help of engines or wings, is full of so much hot air. Ahem.
If you are going to put your life at risk though, the magical landscapes of Cappodocia, Turkey might be reason enough. Because you might actually start believing in fairytales once you’re floating high above a terrain so improbable, it could only be found in the Brothers Grimm.
Dotted with lanky mushroom-like rock formations called fairy chimneys, that could’ve been pulled straight out of a Salvador Dali painting, networks of underground cities far below the surface of the earth and curvy cliff faces sculpted from the remnants of volcanic eruptions, the Anatolian plateau far below is nothing less than surreal.
As we sailed weightlessly into the blue, accompanied by the light of dawn and the strangely stirring sight of hundreds of other colourful bulbs floating effortlessly into the sky along with us, my fear of heights was lost. Suspended between wonder at the enchanted environment all around us, and the base desire to be grounded safely on solid earth.
Would you take a hot air balloon ride? Where’s your dream place to risk your life doing it?