Ever gone on a hot air balloon ride? Last June, Marc and I were fortunate enough to have that experience with Robert Etherington of Ballooning in Tuscany.
We met Robert and his wife Liz at about 5:30am at their home, just outside Montisi, Italy. He was getting the balloon ready as we drove up. Marc and I assisted in the cold and hot inflation of the balloon. That was great! We didn’t realize we’d be able to help put up and take down the balloon.
A tug of a lever by Robert, extreme heat from the burner, and we slowly lifted toward the new day. A smile came across my face that would last for hours after our flight. We slowly floated over the Tuscan countryside. It was surprisingly peaceful, just an occasional dog barking us away from its territory. The views were breathtaking. Neither words nor any of the photos we took do it justice.
Robert was excellent. He was the perfect combination of balloon pilot, tour guide, history professor and comedian. All delivered with his peppy British accent. He is a very memorable character and I’m glad to have met him. When we were done floating, we landed ever so gently on a farmer’s field, three castles in view, close to the road.
Once the balloon was deflated and I was pried out of the basket we all adjourned to the shade for the customary champagne toast.
With our Ballooning in Tuscany certificate in hand we left Robert and Liz for our next adventure. This was one of the highlights of our trip. Robert gave us the very best possible view of the Tuscany Valley. It’s an adventure we’ll never forget!