Days Six, Part One

Sorry for the delay, folks.
My day following the epicness of the balloon ride was followed by an 8pm bedtime. I must have run myself to exhaustion.
So, Day Six: the day of the balloon ride. Woke up exceptionally early (4:30) and headed to the bus. We got to the field where the balloons would be taking off around 5 am, and they were half way to being full. It is really nifty how they do it. This is how, based on what I observe.They open up the balloon (which is huge) and two guys held it open at the mouth. They lie the basket down and use a giant fan to open the inside a little, and use the fire on the top of basket to start filling it with hot air. There was one walking around the snide of the balloon, too making sure it was laid out and filling up properly, and I would guess checking to make sure there were no obvious leaks. Once he whole upper part is filled, the guy step out and once it is a little more full, the balloon starts to rise. They tip the basket over and test all the burners, and then they finally let you in. It was quite exciting to watch. There is no official takeoff point, since it all depends on the wind. We were at the base of some of the rock formations. The gentlemen helped us into the basket, and after one final check, we were off.
Flying over the rock formations, rock cities, and fairy chimneys was incredible. The sun was only just coming up, and so we saw the sunrise from behind the mountains. The captain, upon reaching around 1000ft, informed is that yea, this is his office. We cruised along with the wind for about an hour, and touched ground at about 7. We missed our first landing, and our captain, Graham, had to find another spot. We almost landed on top of a wine grape field. The farmers came out to check their plants (they get this all the time) and we waited til the trailer that was to come fetch us arrived. We scrambled out – one little older lady struggling a bit, but I admire her gumption to do it – and they gave us champagne and cherry, and a little certificate. It was so beautiful, and the air was so clear. We arrived back at the hotel in time to have breakfast, and get ourselves all set to hop on the bus for our day’s next adventure.







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