It wasn't what I had expected, but it made me understand more that dreams can be different from reality/the experience. Dreams are made of all the sweet, tasty, nicely-smelling, soft-as-a-cotton-ball, gorgeous idealism in my head without knowing what it's really all about. It may be sweet, but there may be a slight tangy taste as well. Or it may be nicely-smelling, but it's a bit rough on the touch. It may even be bitter with a slight sweet taste only and mostly rough and not smelling like anything at all. It sure opened up my view, though.
I didn't think it would be THAT tough to prepare for an air balloon ride nor would it be that tough to land. After the balloon was almost ready for take off, the wind suddenly changed direction and the people preparing for the ride had to really act quickly to turn it all around and they had to do it all over again - they had to deflate the balloon in order to reposition it and then inflate it again before we were finally ready to take off.
Here are a few photos to show the preparation stage. In the first pic you can see that on the side of the basket there are two "holes" that could be used as steps to get into the basket (which was really important for me 'coz I'm short HA HA...)
Here's a video clip I took when they were inflating the balloon - right before the wind blew it up to the right side of the video and they had to do it all over again:
The take off itself went very quickly and excellently, though. It didn't feel like anything at all. I have motion and sea sickness, so I was a bit afraid that I'd feel dizzy or something, but I didn't feel it at all. In fact, the take off was MUCH better than a plane's take off. The only difference was that we both felt HOT!!! The heat of the burners above us was rather uncomfortable, though it got better once we got high enough and the air temperature around us dropped down. The burners were also so noisy, so it was hard to talk.
Here's a pic of the burners:
Here's one video I took when we got higher...the loud noises you hear is from the burner:
But we could see a gorgeous sunset that took place slowly from high up there as well as the bird-eye-view around the area. Despite the heat, the rather tight space in the basket that made it impossible to move around too much and the noisy burners (and a rather rough landing which I'd tell soon), it was worth it. :-D
After taking plenty of pics and videos (I had to hold on to my camera so tightly for fear that it would drop down ha ha...), we looked into each other's eyes and we both had that certain look that said, "Hey, it's kinda cool up here. I'm SO glad we can experience this together! Marvellous view!" :-D
Here are a few pics from up there. The first pic is the famous Heviz Thermal Lake.
Another view of Balaton Lake...it's such a HUGE lake...
Anyway, the wind picked up when we were preparing for landing, so the pilot told us to hold on with both hands to the ropes that were conveniently hung around the basket. The pilot became so very busy then because he had to use the walkie-talkie to tell the others where his location was so that they could prepare themselves down there as well as checking the wind speed and then he had to pull one of the ropes connected to the balloon so that we didn't graze on a tree that we almost ran into. Apparently by pulling the rope, the balloon then swerved a little bit to the left side of the tree. Phew!
Then we heard a low thud when we landed on a 45 degree angle and then one guy grabbed on to the basket to get it back straight up whereas the other had to grab onto one of the other rope so that the wind didn't blow the balloon back up. Then after securing the basket and the balloon, the pilot told R2 to get out of the basket, then he himself get out of there after a while and finally in the end I was told to get out of the basket. Then they had to pack everything before we could leave. Quite an adventure! :-D
After they had finished packing up, then we had a little ceremony before they took us back to the hotel. We got our certificates (because it was our first air balloon ride) as well as a bottle of champagne. Here are the pics:
And that's a wrap!!! :-D Air balloon ride: check. :-D