Hot air balloon and Mount Nemrut

Greetings from Nemrut!

Woke up at 04:30 on Monday morning, ready to experience new mode of transportation, hot air balloon!
After stepping out, I was a bit worried if they will fly at all, because sky was cloudy and light drizzle was coming down.
In any case, balloon company picked me and other passengers up at the agreed time.
After light breakfast, they took us to the take-off place. There we were able to see how they prepare balloons for the flight.

After take off, we climbed immediately to roughly 700m high, scenery was stunning!
Unfortunately sky was quite cloudy, so did not see sunrise so well, but Cappadoccia rock formations were really amazing.
What made scenery even more amazing was huge amount of hot air balloons which took off roughly at the same time. Do not know how many there was, but if I say “sky was full of them”, it will describe the scenery.

We flew roughly 1 hour, sometimes higher, sometimes lower. One point we flew so close to the trees, that we were able to handpick fruits from the trees. Also flying inside the rock formation valley was amazing.
After the flight we had shampagne celebration and then company took us back to our hotels.

I was now ready to hit the road again.
Took some smaller roads, were road surface was in quite bad shape, full of potholes and some occational gravel surface. Highest point on these small roads was 1955m high, so it felt almost like riding in the alps!
More south-east I got, I saw also that areas changed poorer, houses were unpainted and traffic got worse (quite many “suiside” passings where I had to slow down and go really to the edge of the road to avoid collision).

In Göksun I stopped to buy some water and send few text messages. While I was typing text message, there was car accident just few meters away from me in roundabout. I did not see what happened, but heard loud bang and then I saw people running to the accident scene.
A bit later police and ambulance arrived, I do not know if someone was hurt, but there was so many people that I decided to continue my journey.

Stayed overnight in Kahramanmaras, where I realized that I was around 130km away from Syria, where is war ongoing. Felt really unreal to think about it!
At the evening I had Sauna and nice Turkish dinner.

On Tuesday morning, I was quite lazy and continued my ride at 12. Well, I did not had so many kilometers planned for the day, so took it easily. In Narli (closest point for me from the Syria, around 100km), I stopped for a ice tea at gas station. Immediately after I stopped, I was invited for a tea. Guy who invited me, had been living in Germany over ten years, so we were able to have some discussions in german. He mentioned that on previous day, there had been another Finn, who was on his way to Afganistan for work.

From Narli, I continued towards Nemrut Dagi. Landscape was dry, barren and hills everywhere. Nice!

I had read from the internet, that road to the top of the Nemrut Dagi is in quite bad shape, but I guess this is old information.
At least road on the southside is in good shape, no gravel.
On my way up, I stopped at Hotel Euphrat Nemrut to check if they have camping places. They had, so promised to come back after sunset.
This hotel/camping was actually well located, because it was just few minutes ride from the gate to the national park (entrance fee is 8TL/person).
Ride from the hotel/camping to the top of mountain took around 15 minutes (again, good road surface).
On top, there is parking area and place where you can buy refreshments and souveniers.
From this area you still need to walk around 20 minutes, to reach the peak.

I was there well in time before the sunset, so walked around in east- and westside and took quite many photos.
It is really amazing to think that these statues are over 2000 years old!
Little by little more and more people started to show up to watch sunset. Luckily I had picked my spot in time, so had good place to put my tripod.

For some reason I seemed to be some sort of scene myself, because quite many people wanted to have their photo taken with me 😀
Maybe it was because of my beard? 😉
Common thing was that they wanted me to take my sunglasses off so that blue eyes can be seen in the photo 🙂

I met also one traveller at the top, he was going back to Mongolia with his LandRover. He is taking partly same route as me, so it might be that I meet him still on a way.

Sunset was nice, but nothing awesome. I wanted to stay up after the sunset to take more photos of the statues, but guard said they are closing the site for a night.

Went back down, pitched my tent and had dinner. This hotel/camping area has wifi-connection, so can update my blog from here.

Today morning, I got up at four in the morning. Arrived to the parking area at 04:30 and arrived to the top before five.
Sunrise was around 05:10, so had enough time to setup my gear.
I think sunrise was more spectacular scene compared to sunset, so recommend to arrive here in the morning.
From north side you can get closer to the peak with your car/motorcycle, but the road seems to be gravel.

Now having rest day here at the camping -area, updating my blog and going through huge number of photos.
Tomorrow I will continue towards north.

Seems like my body starts to adjust to these hot temperatures, I do not sweat so much anymore 🙂

Few comments about the gear:

  • Bike: Has not smoked again after those two times.
  • Riding suit: Excellent, works really well in high temperatures
  • Pocket camera: Pentax WG-1, takes ok photos but video quality is worse than bad… It is totally unacceptable. Shame, because one reason why I bought this camera was to shoot videos with it (now I need to use my 7D, which makes bigger file sizes and fills my external hard discs faster :()
  • Tyres: Heidenau K60-Scout. They have now around 8500km and will last easily another 6-7 thousand. Really happy with my tyre choise.
  • At the moment GPS has 8326km travel distance during this trip

    6 thoughts on “Hot air balloon and Mount Nemrut

    1. Thanks Jarmo!
      Yes, this kind of schedule is really nice 🙂
      Will take it easily without any hurry (well, maybe in Tajikistan I have to hurry a bit…)

    2. Jostakin syystä rss-feedi ei tullut oikein luuriin, ohjelma valitti vain että teksti saatavissa vain englanniksi. Aiemmin toiminut hyvin.

    3. Excellent trip you have, mainly because schedule is so flexible that you can stop or you can go depends your feelings.

      Good luck my friend, take care and have safe ride.

      Greetings from hot Manaus ( actually not hot yet, below 40 we are here still..)

    4. Just back from a 3-day ride round the black wood forest 😉 reading your blog makes me really jealous – great as always, Marko! Good luck

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