Ballooning away

One of my most iconic and memorable moment in life was my hot air balloon experience. It was in Christchurch New Zealand. When we landed in Christchurch it was nice, however parts of the city were completely battered due to the massive earthquake they had suffered in 2011. In fact our hotel, Novotel was right where the earthquake had happened, so our view that time was broken buildings and cracked roads. 

Thankfully we were barely in the hotel as we had the ballooning planned out. The Ballooning Canterbury team picked us up from the hotel at 4 am. Two t-shirts and one thick jacket is still not enough to bear the mornings of New Zealand. It was too cold, but once you see the balloon, you cannot feel anything but joy at that moment. One awesome thing about this hot air balloon was that we were involved in the complete process. We helped take the balloon out, fill it with hot air through the gas burners, and once we landed, we even packed the balloon. (Most difficult task ever)

Once our balloon was filled up, we got into the basket and soared away. You don't feel cold any more thanks to all the fire coming out from the gas cylinders. We soared up 5000 feet above the farms. Sheer beauty.

All you can do that time is hold the person you love and marvel at how beautiful the world is. Here's a picture. And yes, I know my nose is shining a little too much.
                                                       
Our pilot Micheal Oakley was amazing. It's nice to see people having so much knowledge about the things they love. Hot air ballooning was invented in France in 1783. Initially balloons without passengers were sent up.The first passengers in a hot air balloon were a sheep, duck and a rooster.The first manned balloon flight travelled over Paris for 5.5 miles. It stayed airborne for 23 minutes. This was the first attempt made by man to fly! Awesome!

Micheal then shared a lovely tradition with us. In the olden times when the royalties travelled in the balloon they obviously had to land on someone else's property. Thus as a token to thank them they would carry gifts for them. Hence that day when we landed on his friend's farm, he had a bottle of champagne ready as a gift for her. Glad to see that they still follow this sweet tradition, but at the same time I wondered how many bottles he had to gift people everyday, and what a massive cost that would be.
Once we landed, we packed the balloon up. I honestly cannot explain how crazy that task is, so I am not going to try. 

We then layed our eyes on a lovely food spread they had for us. 

                                     

We were treated to a wonderful spread of fresh produce fruits, muffins, champagne and juice. Since we were the "honeymoon" couple, Micheal gave us the cork of the champagne bottle as a token with the blessing "may you have a lot of babies!"

That cork is now nestled safely in my memory box.

Hot air ballooning is something everyone should do once in their life. It renders you speechless. Though we have already done it, I would like to do it in Turkey one fine day. 
 (K- I hope you are reading this)

That's all for now. Peace.



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