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Adventure in Air Part 2
High on the Anatolian plateau, the curious landscapes of Cappadocia resemble a fantasy world. Honey-coloured rocks have eroded into sculptural forms resembling minarets, magic mushrooms and what have become known as Fairy Chimneys. Meanwhile underground settlers since the Bronze Age have been busy carving out cave houses, churches and monasteries from the soft volcanic rock – even entire subterranean cities.
I took a hot-air balloon ride at sunrise and the ride was mesmerizing. Hungry for more, I decided to keep on relishing the spectacle from the terrace of my cave hotel in the town of Göreme. My hunt for an extravagant stay ended with Sultan Cave Suites for its rooftop view, other options included Museum Hotel or Kayakapi, all of which have outdoor pools. As hundreds of balloons drifted overhead and the low sun cast apricot light on this extraordinary land, it became one of the most unforgettable moments of my journey on earth.
Sultan Cave Suites, located at the top of Aydinli Hill, which means that guests are treated to panoramic views over the town of Goreme below. Rooms carved from stone are equipped with modern amenities such as free Wifi and luxurious showers, but step outside and you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time. Admiring the hot air balloons soar overhead, sipping wine from the terrace, or heading out onto my private balcony to watch the sun set over the cave dwellings of Goreme below, what more could I wish for?
Ölüdeniz (Fethiye), Muğla
Next, I went Paragliding across the spectacular white sand of Ölüdeniz. The topography was a calm, slow, and easy final descent as the winds were light with a long beachfront.
However, this doesn't mean it was without excitement! Babadağ is almost 2,000 meters high, so I had to make sure I was dressed warmly since there's ice year-round at the top. It takes about 30 minutes to paraglide all the way down to the bottom, and in that time, I did 360 degree turns, wingovers, and found the best lift in a thermal so as to extend my descent.
Turkey has a great number of ancient sites; one such is Ephesus. Now UNESCO-protected, it, arguably, is the grandest of them all. The Temple of Artemis which stood in the ancient city of Ephesus was one of the original Seven Wonders of the World. Little remains of it now, but the remains of Ephesus are wondrous nonetheless. The settlements are believed to have begun 9,000 years ago. There are Roman, Christian, Ottoman, Hellenistic and Greek monuments scattered across Ephesus. Colonnaded streets, temples, a huge amphitheatre, the Celsus library whose carved façade still stands today, archways framing the blue Mediterranean sky are just some of the examples of its grandeur.
After walking through the city, I realised it was now time to witness it from the sky, while free-falling. I took a shuttle from the Selçuk town center and was kilometers above the ancient city in no time. Witnessing the majestic architecture and town planning while in freefall was an experience like no other.
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