Hot Air Balloon Ride At Dusk

If you are looking to treat your partner to something really special then what could be more so than taking a ride in a hot air balloon at dusk? Imagine silently soaring over villages and towns, seeing lights prick out as the sun sets and as you are carried gently along by a cool summer breeze. To add even more spice, take a bottle of chilled champagne and some crystal glasses to sip it from.

Maybe you want to use the occasion to propose marriage or maybe it’s to reaffirm your affection for each other. Perhaps you want to show your appreciation to the one you love for supporting you through a difficult patch. Whatever the reason, going up in a balloon will definitely provide a moment to remember.

If you aren’t sure how it works, let’s look at a typical flight.

The first thing is for all the passengers to meet up at a pre-arranged assembly point – usually an hour or so before dusk. From there, you (and, depending upon the package you have booked, there may be up to 8 of you flying together) will be driven to where the balloon and its pilot (yes, they are called pilots) are waiting.

Most operators include an opportunity to witness the balloon being inflated – an experience in itself as this fragile, multi-coloured Goliath rises above the roaring gas flames like a giant phoenix. Nowadays balloons come in a huge range of shapes – everything from Disney characters to space ships and bananas. This is the moment to bring out your camera – you can’t fail to get some exciting pictures. It could be that you will even get the chance to help out with the balloon’s inflation.

If you’re worried about falling over the side – don’t. The basket, made of wicker and also known as a gondola, will be subdivided into compartments and each passenger will be allocated their own – you don’t wander around the basket clinging to the sides and wishing you had a parachute. Instead, everyone has their particular place in the basket and this ensures its stability.

When everyone is settled into the gondola, the pilot gives a signal, the guide ropes are released, the balloon gives a slight tug and suddenly and gently you are airborne.

Once you’ve reached the desired altitude (5,000 feet or thereabouts), you can crack open the champagne, toast each other and look out over the tranquil scene below. Apart from your own whispered sweet nothings and the odd burst as the burner blasts hot air upwards to be trapped in the balloon’s delicate fabric, there will be absolute silence.

The flight itself will last around an hour and, since a hot air balloon lacks any form of horizontal propulsion and can only drift with the wind, what usually happens is that the car that ferried you to the take-off point will follow your flight path by road.

Finally, the balloon lands in an appropriate field, you disembark, take a last photo or two, get in the waiting car and are driven back to your own vehicle.

From there, why not cap the evening with a trip to a quiet but classy restaurant?

A hot air balloon ‘dusk’ flight will typically cost from £100 per person and take 3 to 4 hours from start to finish. You should dress reasonably warmly, although because you are drifting with the wind, there is no ‘wind chill’ effect.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: