To start off, I surprised Richard (my boyfriend), with a handmade hot air balloon 30th birthday card.
I was excited when I received a confirmation email that the hot air balloon will be taking off as scheduled despite the COVID19 :) Best news ever! In fact, this took place just prior to the social distancing measures. It will be the last great experience we have as a couple for a while.
The email included what to bring/ not to bring, basically your essentials:
Gloves, caps, thick puffy jackets, scarves. (Anything to keep you warm that morning as it can get quite chilly).
Do NOT bring a big bag/ alot of things with you as you are not permited to bring it up in the air balloon with you.
I did wear a pair of boots with a slight heel to them which fortunately was allowed. People with thinner heel would find it very hard to manouver around as the ground was very bumpy and the floor of the hot air balloon basket is not a flat surface. Sneakers would be the most ideal footwear in my opinion :)
On the day itself:
I woke up around 3am to do my make up, considering how much filming & photography we were doing that morning :) Richard woke up around 4.30am and came to pick me up around 5.00am.
The journey was about 45 minutes to Balgownie Estate, we got there with just 5 minutes to spare. Our first instruction by Global Ballooning was to go for a quick toilet stop, as there obviously won't be any toilets up in the air! :)
Later, we were instructed to assemble outside the foyer and were ushered into a mini shuttle bus to depart for our take off location.
They tend to stop here and there every now and then to test out what the wind conditions were like. Apparently you need to know which direction the wind is blowing from, and how strong the wind is blowing, in order to depart from a particular area. This was done by releasing a helium balloon with a blinking GPS tracking light. This information determined where to drive in order to fly back to Balgownie Estate.
Richard volunteered to help with setting up the balloon, and he got to experience first hand how the balloon becomes inflated from scratch :) It's a combination of fire with a gigantic fan that blows a lot of wind into the balloon.
On a side note, we were the first ones to take off! We ascended into the sky pretty quickly and the view was seriously breathtaking!
As you can see in the backdrop, we're just next to Tesselaar Tulip Farm.
Our first hot air balloon selfie with the go pro 8!
We were both filled with so much joy as it felt so surreal to float along in the air at such heights. The sensation of floating like a balloon is like nothing we'd experienced before, and the air was cool and crisp with the sunrise shining through the clouds.
What surprised us was that we were ascending further and further into the sky, and soon we were above the clouds, smack bang in front of the beautiful warm sun!
Sunrise at it's best!
We both agree that it was the most beautiful sunrise we have ever experienced :)
We ascended and descended through the clouds twice and finally it was time to land.
It felt like I was coming back to earth from heaven :)
Eddie was a very skillful pilot and we landed smoothly. Everyone clapped at how insightful and amazing he was. He mentioned that he had been competing on hot air balloon competitions overseas for the past few years, which explaints the extensive knowledge he has when piloting the balloon at a young age.
The pack up was so interesting and fun! Everyone had to tie and roll the balloon up like a sausage roll, so that it could be used for the next day :) Loved this team work activity.
We were given a USB hot air balloon stick and certificate after we landed.
Happy 30th Birthday Richard and thank you to Global Ballooning for this beautiful experience. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves nature or wants a romantic way to start their date off as it is very memorable.
by Erin Tucci / Michelle Low