Up, Up & Away!
I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about this for the past couple of weeks whilst things were still fresh in the mind however the balloon flight I took earlier this month is one of those life experiences which stay with you. The flight was a gift from several people for my 30th birthday last year and I’d waited until this time of the year to book so as to not have to get up too early. To check that the flight was on I was up at just after 5:30am to ring the flight hotline and, thankfully, it was still on with the weather predicted to be very good; and boy they weren’t wrong! Whilst I’ve never flown in a hot air balloon before and nor do I count myself an expert in such matters but I doubt you’d be able to better the day we had for the flight. The wind was calm, the sun was shining and whilst it wasn’t exactly warm you weren’t freezing either. It made for such a fantastic experience and plenty of photo opportunities. Speaking of which I’ve uploaded some to my Flickr account, it was tough to whittle the shots down but many were repeats.
Anyway, I made my way to the Hyatt hotel where we met the crew from Balloon Aloft and signed waivers and had a quick briefing. From there we made our way to the launch site which was to be just outside of Old Parliament House. I was asked to help hold the balloon open whilst cold air was blown in by a large fan. Once this was complete they then started to use the burners to heat up the air and achieve lift. It was a pretty cool experience being there to watch how they set these balloons up for flight. Once we were up in the air, with the exception of the burners and occasional chatter it was beautifully silent. In some ways it was an eerie stillness but at the same time it just made the experience feel that bit more special. It also fortified my appreciation for Canberra and it’s surroundings and how lucky we are to live where we do. The mountains looked majestic in the air with some snow-capped peaks in the distance. The lake was still and almost glass like and with the day being so clear we could see for mile up on mile off into the distance. I doubt any plane flight could match or top this experience even if they fly higher there’s something about being in the basket that makes you feel connected to your surroundings; maybe it’s the fact there’s nothing between you and the air around you.
All-in-all it was a fantastic experience which if I could I would do again in a heartbeat. I want to thank all those who contributed towards its purchase as its created one fantastic memory I will never forget.