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Report 1560: POSTCARD: Ballooning Above Tuscany

By Bugalu from AL, Spring 2008

Trip Description: This postcard has been sent ‘air mail’… from the basket of a hot air balloon!

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Tuscany

Categories: Day Tours; Package Tour

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Page 1 of 2: Pre-Ride

photo by Sandi

Ballooning in Tuscany

I am sending y’all a postcard from the basket of a hot air balloon, floating over the hills of Tuscany. You just have to see this to believe it. It has been a once in a lifetime experience… just let me tell you.

We were staying in the little village of Montisi with Gail’s Great Escape in our beautiful villa with a view of the Tuscan hills. Our great escape included an opportunity to ride in a hot air balloon. I jumped at the chance. Gail helped us book with Robert Etherington from Ballooning in Tuscany, taking care of all of the details. Two other slow travel buddies, Jerry and Paul, were braving the basket as well.

Robert is a professional balloonist, who has been written up in several publications. National Geographic said, "The best pilot is Robert Etherington, a Briton who has toured Tuscany by balloon for 15 years." If I am getting in a hot air balloon, I am only riding with the best! His wife Liz Graham-Yooll is a wonderfully talented artist and an author of children’s books- in addition to being his right hand helper and driver of the chase car.

Our ride was scheduled for Tuesday morning bright and early. Robert is very careful about the weather, and he will only fly when the air conditions are perfect. We had to call Monday evening, for him to give us the thumbs up. Luckily we got the good news while at dinner in Pienza. We had a reason to toast with another bottle of wine.

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