Day 2: Failed Ride in Çat and Inescapable Touristry in Göreme
Since all the balloon flights in Göreme are all booked up, another operator is further away in a town called Çat. A van picks me up after 3 am. I’m the first on the van and it picks others in nearby towns. The headlight casts on some bits of the towns in the dark along the way. While we are approaching the site, the driver tells us all the balloon operations are cancelled due to the winds. That is a big BLOW! But nothing we can do.
While the van is tracking back to drop off disappointing customers, the dawn reveals those bits of the towns we passed earlier in the morning. I wouldn’t see how morning light changes the towns’ landscapes unless the balloon flight was cancelled. At least, I get this small tour of the towns. Now, I’m determining whether I should give this another shot tomorrow.
There are concerns if I take another chance for a balloon flight on the same morning as I leave for Istanbul: no guarantee on the weather and the tight timing to get to the airport. But hey, this could be once in a lifetime. So I renegotiate with the hotelier for another balloon ride. Finger crossed.
It is too hot and sunny to get out and about in Anatolian summer. I take it easy but manage to get to Göreme Open Air Museum in the late afternoon. When I learn that it used to be a monastery complex, the natural landscape triggers my spiritual perspective—living in a cave for a higher mind. It is sublimely satisfying to examine it through the viewfinder. I wish it was treated with more respect by banal tourists.
Afterwards, I have some beers to digest the day while looking at the town’s tourist activities. This is inescapable.
Finishing up the day, I take a cab back to Mustafapaşa and keep drinking at the local pub. It turns out to be a very fun late night, mingling with the real locals. Such a contrast to the scene in Göreme! As they move on to party in Ürgüp, I have to bail, walk back to the hotel, get some sleep, and see how the dice rolls in the morning.