I was looking through pictures from my trip to Egypt the other day, and I was reminded of the shear beauty of the River Nile from the sky. The $140 I forked out for a 4.00am wake up and hot air balloon ride was more than worth it! I saw the sun rise directly over the distant horizon lighting the world. It was truly amazing.
My alarm went off entirely too early, but I dragged myself out of bed and got dressed. February mornings in Egypt aren’t cold cold, but I did grab a good jacket and my blanket scarf as a just in case. I waded through the hotel and found the group. We all looked a little worse for wear. We piled into a minivan and headed into the darkness.
A little while later we came to a big field where at least twenty hot air balloons were gassing up. I don’t know what I expected the noise of the heater to be, but it certainly wasn’t the roar that it made. People were running around ensuring safety measures and splitting people into groups to board. The scene had an urgent, high energy feel to it. I was ushered forward to a group of 12 other people where we waited to climb into the basket.
Now, when I say climb into the basket, I literally mean climb into the basket. They did not have a step ladder nor a door. A gentleman held out his hands with fingers interlocked for me to step onto and over the edge I went. Not too long later, we rose into the sky.
Before the sun rose over the horizon, we were in the air. Luxor was glittered with lights below. The sun hinted its arrival across the Nile. We blew in the breeze. It was amazing. Everyone was talking and laughing, but I couldn’t help but look around in wonder at the world. I snapped pictures and recorded videos and watched for the sun. When the sun finally rose, a burst of light flew across the land and I could see the many colors of Egypt.
Did you ever expect Egypt to be so green? I could see divided fields growing crops of all shades of green, blue river canals feeding the soil, and tan sand for as far as the eye could see (which wasn’t very far because of the giant mountain of dirt). But it was amazing!
The most striking contrast was the line where the green stopped and the tan began. It was as if someone drew a line in the earth and said, “This is where you can grow food, and this is where you cannot.” The massive sand ridge there is the Valley of the Kings. You can see Hatshepsut’s temple at the base of the mountain, and through a tunnel to the valley on the other side is the Valley of the Kings.
We had a bumpy ride on the way down to earth. That’s the funny thing about hot air balloons – you never know where the wind will or will not blow you. We flew smack into a few of these palm trees and I luckily thought to catch this one on film. One of the guys in our basket was hit in the face! He was ok, but we all got a good laugh out of it.
One of the BEST parts of the entire flight was riding over peoples’ homes. I love to see how other people live, and from the air is a great way to check it out! The homes were BEAUTIFUL! They had arched roofs, painted tile, materials. Everything.
We landed in a field surrounded by muck. And then we had to walk about half a mile to a van that would take us back to our travel groups. It was the end of a great morning.