Posts Tagged With: amazing scenery


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There were groans when we were awakened at 2:00 a.m. to be driven to our balloon ride grounds. The balloon experience is and optional tour and three of us, me, Owen and Gina were the only takers. It was cold and chilly when we arrived to see balloons and crews working all over a huge field staging area.

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What a thrill when a balloon is suddenly aloft and lighting up the sky and ready to fly. Beautiful.

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We are directed to our balloon and the crew is working hard to get it upright.

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Watching it grow bigger and bigger and lift the basket and come off the ground. Quite a show.DSC06509 (Copy)

Our faces are reddened by the flames. A crewman offers to take our picture. Now we are glad we got up early. We are the first ones to load. The other 21 passengers are nowhere to be seen.

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Balloons all around us are coming to life.

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We are airborne and flying before the sun comes up.

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A beautiful sunrise.

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In the distance, the sun plays across the highest ridges first. What a magnificent way to watch a sunrise. You can click  once than again to make the photos bigger for a better view if you like. Then back arrow to return to the blog.


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This balloon gets close enough to “kiss”  which means we bumped together, a fairly common event when 70 to 90 balloons launch in close proximity.

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We fly over a deep tufa canyon. The white tufa is a volcanic rock that makes quite beautiful formations.

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It is a strange feeling to be practically above another flyer.

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The colors and beautiful background delight the senses.

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Owen and…

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…Gina are both enjoying their first balloon flight. It is a drifting, serene experience.

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At some point, as we gaze at the rough terrain,  the “fairy Chimneys”  we kind of wonder about the landing? I’ve flown before, but only over fields and vineyards or savannah.

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The area has rose-colored rocks and is called the rose garden.

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Some of the tufa shows colorful streaks as well. Something you cannot see from the ground.

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We know that we will hike this area later in the day with our group.

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We watch as SkyWay is making for a landing area where one balloon is already on the ground, ready to be rolled up and put back on the truck.

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Half deflated, the balloon lands right on the chase trailer. I’ve never seen it done that way before this flight. These are giant baskets. We were given instructions on how to brace for a hard ground landing which has been my past experience in the three balloon rides I’ve taken where everyone is in one simple basket holding about 6 people plus one or two crew members.

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Everyone bails out and down she goes.

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We spot our ground crew.

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The pilot throws them a line and they drag us into position.

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Our pilot keeps the balloon slightly inflated while we bail out. No other crew member on this flight.

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We watch our balloon collapse and congratulate the pilot on our soft, perfect landing.

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We celebrate and enjoy cookies and champagne and salute our successful flight. Everyone is taking pictures. We are presented with a flight certificate and then bused back to the hotel. Wonderful. I’d have to say, each flight is different and unique. Very enjoyable.



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It was a good decision to move to Friendship Cove. The sea is a smooth mirror.  (Usla’s photo of the sunken baths.) Legend has it that Mark Anthony built the baths and gave Cleopatra the entire Turquoise Coast as a wedding gift. There is a sense of delight to think about swimming in the same spot as Cleopatra. I’m not quite ready to face the cold waters and unsure of my upper body strength since the accident, so I remain cautious. This day, April 26th, is a scheduled hike, up a mountain, down the other side, up another mountain and down the other side, steep, rocky about 4 hours long. I’m unsure.  I climbed the Superstitious Mountains out of Apache Junction in 2012, before the accident, straight up, two hours for spectacular views. Usla offers an alternative, to head in the opposite direction and take a shorter 50 minute hike and meet them coming down.


The long hike photos are Usla’s. The hikers are motored to the shore in batches.


Mike, Norman, Owen, Barbara, Joan and Judith pause on the hike for a photo. The hike is described as pine-shaded, with the smell of wild herbs and the music of goat bells.


The goal is to meet with a shepherd family. The wife has prepared them some shepherds bread and they will talk about their remote lifestyle. Here they meet the family. The shepherd allows his goats to eat in the wild. They return at night to be milked and get water. They eke an existence from the dairy products, living off the land, and wooden spoons that he makes and sells. Their house is very small.

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In the meantime, the rest of us are headed up the back way with Mehenten. A typically  steep and rocky trail like others we’ve seen in Turkey.

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We take a break in the shade of this copse of trees with a stone structure. Mehenten doesn’t know what it’s function is.

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We find a shepherd’s rest stop seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Just a few boards with a tarp over the top attached to a tree. A rudimentary shelter for a nap, and a quick cup of coffee or a drink of water.

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We join the main group at a Greco-Roman site called Lydea.

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Below the temple is another shepherd’s place in the valley. He lives in much the same way as the others. The rest stop may belong to him.

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On both hikes, beautiful views of the Turquoise Coast, lovely coves, and blue, blue waters.


On our return, Usla takes a group photo.

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After a change of clothing, I pop up on deck and hear a great splash. Owen jumping off the railing. (Usla’s photo.)DSC05568 (Copy)

I know he is a good swimmer, but I probably would have nixed the idea. Too late, Gramma.

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Since he already jumped, I made him do it again for the camera, not realizing that Usla had gotten him jumping.

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As they say, all’s well that ends well. Who could argue with that big happy smile anyway.

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After lunch, just about everyone braved the cold water and it is cold according to Gina, Joel and Maria. Maria can swim to land and back to the boat without stopping. She is a very strong swimmer. Gina is gung-ho. She says, “yes, its a bit cold.” Brrr! I stuck my hand in and it came back rigid.

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The Captain decided to barbeque chicken for dinner. After dinner, some played cards,  caught up with their journals and some watched a movie about the battle of Galliopli. A horrific loss of life through the stupidity of Allied leaders who failed to plan or assess the cost and horror of attempting to cross Turkey and capture a harbor for Russia. They needlessly sent 100,000 men to their death and gained nothing.

I had more pictures but the signal is loading so slowly, I gave up.




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