In July John and I took our first ever trip in a hot air balloon. It was a glorious evening and we met our fellow balloonists on the outskirts of Amboise in the Loire Valley.

Preparing for take off

The basket and balloon arrived

We all had to lend a hand in the preparations for take off.

John and the other men helped lift the basket off the trailer.









Then we spread the balloon out flat on the ground.

The balloon was spread out flat on the ground.

John took careful watch over proceedings













Standing back and taking a breather!

Fiona next to the flat balloon

















The balloon was blown up with the aid of an industrial powered fan.









It was a popular evening for ballooning and ours wasn't the only balloon being inflated by the industrial fans.

It took approx 10 minustes to inflate the balloon










John watching the balloon being inflated

After about 10 minutes the balloon was inflated and the burners were switched on.

The burners were on full blast













Up up and away!

Then we clambered into the basket and within seconds we were floating in the sky

Chenonceau chateau from the air.


looking down on the Chateau Chenonceau, Loire Valley France

heading towards Chenonceau chateau.

Floating over to Chenonceau chateau in the balloon.













It was a wonderful sensation to be so high up looking down over the beautiful chateau and the river Cher.

Aerial view of the gardens of the chateau Chenonceau




As we approached we had a lovely aerial view of the gardens.








flying over the chateau and river Cher













Then our pilot flew us over the surrounding woodland and vineyards.  It was very peaceful (except when he put the burners on!)

It was so very peaceful in the balloon.


All too soon our journey was over and we landed safely in a field.

Back on terra firma.






Back on terra firma.










It was a fabulous experience and naturally we had a champagne toast to celebrate!

a champagne toast to celebrate our baptism of flight!

See the photos of the rest of our weekend stay in Amboise and also our previous visit in 2004.