When we were in Cappadocia in Turkey, Mum and Dad decided that they wanted to go in a hot-air balloon over the landscape. The day we were going to go, we woke up really early, at 4:30am, and got dressed in our warmest clothes for our 5:10am pick-up by Urdup Balloons.
Before we got there, we had to stop at other hotels to pick up more people. When we got there, they had a little breakfast for us, with cake, dessert, hot chocolate, tea and coffee. Then after breakfast, we boarded the van again to the place where the hot-air balloons were.
The hot-air balloon basket was rectangular-shaped and had four sections for people to go inside. Our balloon was yellow with rainbow-colour stripes on it. There were about 20 people in our group going with us in the hot-air balloon. Most of them were Asians. We (our family) went in one part of the four sections with two other people. Murat our pilot introduced himself and told us the position on how we were going to land.
Then, all of a sudden we started to lift off the ground. We were flying! I was excited and amazed at the view. Mum and Maleah were taking pictures. As we got higher, it started to get colder. Before we lifted off, I remember the pilot telling us that the person closest to the hot-air balloon flame would not be as cold as the rest. I was lucky because I was close to the flame.
We rode down really low in the valley and then rode up really high into the clouds. The landscape was beautiful, with fairy chimneys everywhere in a colourful valley. There were lots of different-coloured balloons too. Our pilot said there were 40 balloons flying in the sky that morning, but when it is Balloon Festival, there can be more than 100 flying all at once.
It was cool to be in the clouds. You could only see white, and it was really quiet, and you could feel the humidity on your skin.
We flew for about an hour. When it was time to land, our pilot gave us instructions to get in position to land. We had to hold on to a handle with an adult holding us and facing backwards. I think that the pilot asked us to face back so we wouldn’t be scared when we were landing. It was a rough but fun landing. The landing felt like being on a galloping horse and there were shouts from the passengers because they were a little scared. I wasn’t scared though. Our basket ended up tipping over, landing on its side. It was really fun!
When we got out we could see the basket’s trail on the ground from having been dragged by the balloon. The Urdup men gave us champagne and juice to toast the balloon ride. We each also got a certificate to remember the day. They spelled dad’s name as BRAIN instead of Brian, which was really funny! It was a good experience and really fun. My most favourite part was when we were landing.
Joshua Smeenk, aged 9, first travelled at the age of 14 months, to San Francisco, where his mother pushed him up and down the city’s hills in his stroller. Our family travel-writing competition judge Deborah Stone was impressed by how Joshua “sets up the trip well then describes the ride and the exhilaration as well as the things he saw.” Joshua won a free weekend stay for his family at a youth hostel of choice in England or Wales, plus a year’s family Youth Hostel Association membership.
Read more about family holidays in Turkey.