Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Friday, 22 December 2017

Hot Dogging in Urgup

hot-dogged, hot-dog·ging, hot-dogs Slang To perform daring stunts or ostentatious manuevers.  The next day, two of these balloons collide and the upper balloon tears a hole in the lower balloon. In the crash 3 die and 22 are injured. This confirms my impression of a general cavalier disregard for safety and prudent separation.

Mrs. Phred took almost all these pictures. I was paralysed with fear and afraid to move from the centre of the gondola, which I had both arms wrapped around and no hands free for the camera.

There are 90 to 100 balloons flying over Cappadocia this morning. Each balloon holds 12 to 25 tourists. Our young Turkish pilot is skimming the gondola along though this narrow valley of pointy rocks. He's bumping other balloons in what he calls his "morning kiss" and staying mostly inches away from  (and often below) the surrounding  terrain.

The balloon in the picture above resulted in a number of injuries, broken bones and three fatalities. It happened the morning after my flight when this blog was already written and published.

230 years ago, in 1783, a chicken, a sheep and a rooster made the first ascent in a hot air balloon. King Louis XVI thought it would be a good idea to use condemned criminals as the first human pilots, but Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquis Francois d'Arlandes got him to change his mind and let them try it out with animals. When the chicken came back alive, they decided to try it themselves. They lit up a disgusting mix of burning straw and stinking manure in an attached burning pot and off they went.

They landed in a French vineyard, and while the farmers were debating whether to immediately surrender or first make a half-hearted pitchfork charge, the two pilots had the wit and foresight to produce bottles of champagne, a tradition which continues unabated to the present day.

Here the young Turkish Hot Dog pilot makes a balloon bumping a ''morning kiss". Later, after landing the gondola precisely on a waiting trailer, he produces a bottle of champagne and twelve glasses.

We spend almost an hour skimming the  "Chimneys" in the valley, often just inches from the strange eroded lava formations

They ballooned here 334 days last year. The scenic rock formations make this place either the number 1 or 2 place to balloon in the world, depending on what you Google..

Cappadocia is considered perhaps the best place in the world to take a hot air balloon ride. Today about 2,000 tourists took a daybreak  ride. Tomorrow three of them do not make it back alive.

Later, after the long flight at low altitude down the valley,  we shoot up to an altitude 2100 meters (I think, or maybe feet) to try to catch winds that will bring us down in the right place.

The balloons below heading for the strange rocks.



  1. How exciting...I loved ballooning...and this looks like a cool place to do trip home...SIL

  2. so glad to read about it...again thanks for the great photos....sil