note - changed blog template to make photos bigger, apologies for any rubbish formatting.
Hello again - if you wish to read about puns and general updates, there is a post for that under this one.
In September I went to Turkey for two weeks! This was my first major overseas trip, which is great as it now means I can answer "Have you travelled?" with something other than "Once I went to Brisbane for a week with a brass band."
Me, in Turkey! I'm hiding in a hole because tourism.
Turkey was awesome and I had far too many adventures to cover them all in one post, so I'll start off with the balloon ride over Cappadocia (it's what I took the fewest photos of & is therefore the easiest to organise).
All the photos in this post are taken by Me; if you want to use them for desktop backgrounds or site images or to tell lies about having been to Turkey or whatever, send me an email and I'll probably be all "that's cool, bro, here is the high res version" unless you are going to make money from them, in which case you can give me some money also.
Every morning, 100 balloons go up over the town of Göreme; it's the main tourist attraction in the area (the town has a population of 2500, and normally supports the same amount of tourists).
This is the view from our hotel balcony:
"Well, Jim, it looks like this morning's weather is mostly balloons."
We got picked up from our hotel at 6am, and had breakfast before going out to The Field of Sleeping Balloons.
"Fred, can you turn your burners off bro? Balloons are trying to sleep"
We were dropped off next to our balloon of choice - we went with Royal Balloons and I would highly recommend them for next time you need to do some ballooning - and the balloon pilot (?) and balloon.... technicians (??) inflated the balloon by the bright light of a Hilux:
The balloon basket held 20, sectioned into four parts; I ended up in the middle, next to the pilot. This had the added benefit that right before taking this photo, I got to turn on the gas and effectively drive the balloon for about three seconds.
Because we'd launched at the same time as 99 other balloons, there was an immense amount of balloon traffic. If you want to go and look at the scenery of Cappadocia I recommend you do not do this from a balloon, because all you will see is more balloon.
Here is what the sunrise looks like from the middle of a pack of balloons -
After the sun had risen, we flew down a valley in a sort of a balloon convoy. "Let's see if we can make our balloon kiss that balloon!" said the pilot, as our balloon crept up closer to the next balloon in the line.
There would be a photo of the balloons kissing here, but I was worried about dying in a freak intentional balloon collision fire accident and so I had put the camera down to hang onto the safety straps.
The vans you can see on the road are all tourist minibuses; the balloons create an immense amount of traffic in the morning. All 100 balloons land in more or less the same area; as a result you have 2 minibuses + 1 4WD per balloon, all frantically hooning around the landscape in an attempt to be ready and waiting when their balloon lands.
I don't have anything sarcastic to say about this photo
Halfway through our trip an older British tourist said loudly, "I heard that the really good pilots can land the balloon right on the back of the truck!" and our pilot visibly bristled and said something in Turkish into his radio -
- and then when we came into land, he set the balloon down neatly onto the bed of the Hilux.
Once we landed, bubbly appeared, the pilot came round and tucked a flower behind everyone's ear, we had a celebratory drink...
And then we went home for breakfast.
If you guys liked this post and would like to see more pictures of Turkey - potentially including the pinnacle of my photographic achievements, "Picture of a Turkey, in Turkey" - let me know in the comments. I was thinking of putting up a series (by location) of Turkey photos and stories, but only if that's of general interest. If not, I'll return to bad puns and complaints about spreadsheets.