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My "Bucket List" - where to take a hot air balloon ride?

My "Bucket List" - where to take a hot air balloon ride?

Mar 23rd, 2008, 03:33 AM
  #1  
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My "Bucket List" - where to take a hot air balloon ride?

I'm of that certain age where I fear I have only 10 - 15 good years of travel left. So, I've started compiling my own "Bucket List". One of the things I'd like to do but haven't done yet is to take a hot air balloon ride. But, where oh where to take it? Cappadocia, Burgandy, the Loire? I look to my well traveled, adventurous Fodorite friends to give me suggestions. This summer I'll be in Munich, Austria & the Czech Republic. Next summer I'll be back in the south of France & then a few days in Burgandy. I haven't decided yet where to go in 2010 but am contemplating an African Safari as that is also on my Bucket List. Maybe a hot air baloon ride there? Please help me with your suggestions! Thanking all in advance.
Dee_Dee is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 04:48 AM
  #2  
 
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We have taken three hot-air balloon rides -- over the Masai Mara in Kenya, over the Alice Springs area in Australia, and over the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.

Hands down, the sunrise ride over Kenya is the very best.
USNR is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 05:05 AM
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Why not take the ride while you're in Bavaria?
http://www.happy-ballooning.com/

If you like it, then you can add balloon rides into your future travels.

Full disclosure: yes, he's a relative, but a very distant one.
BTilke is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 05:19 AM
  #4  
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USNR - I hadn't thought about the Valley of the Kings. Yet another option! May I ask what made the Masai Mara experience so memorable? The wildlife, the scenery? Both?

BTilke - thanks for the link. I'm not finding an English language icon on the home page. My German is virtually non-existant. Can you tell me what part of Bavaria the town is in? I will be in Berchetesgaden (sp?) for 4 nights. Is the town near there?
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Mar 23rd, 2008, 06:19 AM
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He is based in Warngau-Locham, which is (almost) due south of Munich, not that close to Berchtesgaden. BUT he flies from various points around Bavaria, mostly around the Allgau (as I recall) but also other areas. You would probably have to email him to see about flights near you (I believe he does speak English, just doesn't have it on his web site).
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Mar 23rd, 2008, 07:11 AM
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The only non-tethered hot air balloon ride I have taken to date is the one at sunrise over Masai Mara, and it would be hard to imagine something more memorable. As to what made it so - the amazing scenery, sighting of animals on the ground (elephant, wildebeest, etc.) sight of the sun rising over the Mara, the ride to and from launch and landing site, the celebratory breakfast in the middle of the bush. It was not cheap but worth every penny - and I am one who typically avoids high priced add-ons.
[Oh, yes, there was also the "small world" aspect of discovering that the pilot and I knew people in common in my hometown.]
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Mar 23rd, 2008, 09:20 AM
  #7  
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BTilke - I googled & found a Berchtesgaden outfitter that does paragliding (I'm too chicken for that) and hot air balooning. As variable as the weather can be in the summer, it would probably be better for me to contact a local outfitter.

Seamus - what a lovely word picture you painted. I really must make that a part of my itinerary if I get to take my African Safari. I'm single & none of my friends care to go. So I'm thinking I'll just have to bite the bullet & go it alone. I travel all over Europe by myself - why not Africa!
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Mar 23rd, 2008, 09:39 AM
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Agree about ballooning in the Mara. I've done this twice, once in Burgundy and once in Kenya. No comparison, as the scenery, and the animals below, made the Mara balloon ride an unforgettable experience. I barely remember the ride in Burgundy. Not that Burgundy itself is not lovely, but for the balloon ride, save your money and go to Africa!! I understand some Kenya properties are offering slightly lower prices now...
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Mar 23rd, 2008, 01:12 PM
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We left our tented camp in the dark and arrived where the balloon was being filled just before sunup. Then with a great roar, off we went. Sun just peeking over the veldt, shadows long and short. Elephants, zebras, wildebeest, antelope, cheetahs, and down we came in a little over an hour beside a river filled with hippos. There, under a blooming tree, we had a full champagne breakfast, watched by the half-submerged hippos and a crowd of monkeys. Worth the money? Priceless.
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Mar 23rd, 2008, 01:25 PM
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Based on what I'm hearing....I need to go to Africa for my balloon ride! If it weren't for the fact that I'm taking a cousin to France summer '09, I'd change plans & take my safari instead. How will I wait until '10?

USNR - your experience sounds fantastic. Do you mind me asking where you were, did you take a tour or do independent travel? And, do you remember the name of the outfitter?
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Mar 23rd, 2008, 01:33 PM
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If you do one in the Loire I can assure you the glide over places like Chenonceau is unforgettable


www.franceballoons.com
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Mar 23rd, 2008, 01:59 PM
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Vetralla & Dukey, thank you both for the links. I followed the one to Tuscany but couldn't open the virtual tour. I need to download some software which I'll do latter. I followed the link for the slide show of ballooning over the Loire. I fell in love with Chenonceaux when I visited there some years ago. I think ballooning over it at sunrise would be absolutely magical! Thank you both for the info.
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Mar 24th, 2008, 08:06 AM
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I agree...there was no greater experience than our sunrise balloon ride over the maasi mara! Just incredible!
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Mar 24th, 2008, 09:38 AM
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If you're close, Napa Valley in the the good old USA is a delight as well.
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Mar 24th, 2008, 03:20 PM
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We have never ever in our oives considered a balloon ride as something we would do. BUT, last spring we visited Cappadocia and decided it was one thing we definitely needed to spring for while there. We consider it the highlight of our trip. The terrain there is so very different and itneresting that seeing it from a balloon is fabulous. Our pilot would take us way up so we could get the large perspective and then down so low we could almost touch the peaks.

Visit Cappadocia while you are still fit and able! The best places ther entail lots of trekking and climbing.
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Mar 25th, 2008, 11:28 AM
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Julies, I so want to visit Cappadocia. I went to Greece & the coast of Turkey last summer and fell in love with Turkey. I only spent 1 week there as I was not comfortable committing more time until I tested it out as a single female traveler. I am absolutely going to return. The coast is beautiful, the Greek & Roman ruins extraordinary and best of all the people were ever so friendly. On my next visit I will get to both Istambul & Cappadocia. Do you recall the name of the outfitter you used for your balloon ride?
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Mar 25th, 2008, 12:43 PM
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We used EZ Air Balloons. I'd read about them here, and they were extremely affordable. We were happy with their services, and when we were up we could see all the other balloons from the other companies. None of them seemed to be doing anything exceptionally different to make them worth more money.

I should say though that our basket was quite full of people, but all flights from the previous day had been canceled. So, my guess is that there were double the number of people as usual. We had been scheduled for the day before but got a phone call just as we were going to bed telling us that EZ Air had decided to cancel due to very windy conditions, so we rescheduled for the next day. We were more than happy to be working with a company that would forego profit for safety.
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Mar 25th, 2008, 03:03 PM
  #18  
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Thanks Julies for sharing the information. I know I will get to Cappadocia some day. And, I'm with you. I like a company who will sacrifice profit for safety!
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Mar 25th, 2008, 04:00 PM
  #19  
P_M
 
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Cappodocia is high on my list of things to do too, and I will definitely ballon while I'm there.

I recently ballooned over the Valley of the Kings. I'll provide a link to my Egypt/Jordan pics. Of course you are welcome to look at all pics, but you'll easily find the balloons.

http://www.worldisround.com/articles/344302/
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Mar 29th, 2008, 04:28 AM
  #20  
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Fabulous photos P_M! Those night time shots in Eygpt are beautiful. You visited another place on my list - Jordan. Your shots of the Roman ruins are terrific. Thank you for sharing!
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