Up, Up and Way Above Tuscany
After our email confirmation, we met Annie in an easy to find parking lot just off the highway south of Siena. She was there with her husband Nick, the pilot, and their crew who were working to set up the balloon for filling with cool air. We were given a brief but important safety talk and invited to help with the filling of the balloon. While it is not mandatory to help with the preparation, it was welcomed by us as we were so excited to be part of this longtime dream of ours.
Soon we were on our way it what was the most gentle and incredible ride we have ever experienced. We were constantly looking at the views and even saying hello to the neighbors on the ground as we began our approx. 1 hr journey. We took some wonderful photos and were awestruck at the beauty of the area below us. We admit we are fortunate to live here in Siena and to see the Crete Senesi change with the seasons, but we were not prepared for the stunning views from above.
Annie and Nick provided a seamless experience, from start to finish. We felt safe, knowing Nick has over 30 yrs experience as a balloon pilot and were given enough info about how to be safe in the basket and how to best enjoy the ride. At the end of the journey we were invited to be part of the end process, and it was fun to lend a guided hand in the dismantling of the balloon. If you have ever struggled with stuffing a sleeping back into the stuff bag, imagine something 1,000 times the size!
With the help of the instructions from the crew, we managed it, it was quite fun, and in the end, were treated to a Pop Up Prosecco breakfast right there in the country field where we landed. We received a souvenir balloon pin, and a certificate to commemorate our day. I can't say enough about the passion this team has for their profession. They provided an exceptional experience, which has always been a dream for us. Would do it again in a heartbeat!