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BellaOnline's Southeast USA Editor

Fly High with Hot-air Ballooning

Iíve always been intrigued by hot-air balloons. You donít see many around the Southeast, and, on the rare occasions Iíve spotted one, I always wondered what it would be like to ride in one. Well, thanks to Bobís Ballooning out of Orlando, Fla., I now know: It is totally awesome! While that may sound clichť, itís still true.

We started our adventure at daybreak; yes, this is way too early for many (including me!), but itís an ideal time to hot-air balloon. The fun starts with inflating the balloon, a process that riders can take part in with the ballooning staff. One unique treat was standing inside the balloon at it inflates. Standing inside really shows you just how big that balloon is!

Once we were up in the air, we took in gorgeous views of the surrounding landscape, and the morning fog danced through the trees. Although I was a bit nervous during the initial balloon launch, my nerves settled as we reached cruising altitude: approximately 1,000 to 2,000 feet. After all, who wouldn't forget their own nerves when taking in the 360-degree, panoramic view? You definitely have to bring your camera along on this trip!

As we floated through the air, our balloon pilot answered our many questions on how to pilot the balloon, working with the wind and what happens when you miss your planned landing spot (you ascend as needed and find another spot). As our flight came to a close, we landed with a quick bump (we wanted to make sure we landed on the first try) and quickly set to work helping pack up the balloon. This process doesn't take long, nor require much work on your partĖwe simply had to roll up the balloon and sit on it as necessary to push out any remaining air.

Once our balloon and basket were packed up, we set out to track down our companions, who were traveling in a second balloon (they missed their initial landing). After packing up the second balloon, we celebrated with the traditional champagne toast and thanked our pilots for a great experience. It certainly was the perfect start to our day!

To plan your own adventure, contact Bobís Balloons at 407.466.6380 or visit bobsballoons.com.

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