Switzerland is one of my favorite destinations in Europe. High mountains, serene lakes, beautiful springs and rivers, castles and old cities. I have been visiting Switzerland from west to east on trains, cable cars even boats. I wanted to try something new, and I decided to try hot air balloon flight for the first time in my life. For the start, i can say it was really good idea.
I wanted to see lake Geneva and mountains surrounding it from above, and the best choice for the French speaking part of Switzerland ( Suisse Romande ) is Ballons du Leman, hot air balloon company with more then 250 flights per year from 60 sites in western Switzerland. For me, it was crucial information that they have the most skilled and experienced pilots, who will show me amazing views on the Alps and lake Geneva from up above. My hot air balloon experience started very early in the morning. During the ride to launching site, one of the team member of Ballons du Leman was explaining me the process and how hot air balloons are functioning, Conversation was interesting and very informative. At the launching site, near the city of Lausanne, Ballons du Leman team was preparing the balloon for taking off.
Passengers had interesting opportunity to help and make preparation for the flight. I had a lot of questions about functioning and preparation for flight and pilot and team members where very informative and helpful. After folding the balloon, there was a time to fill it first with colder air, and when it was already with a certain form, we started to filing in the hot air.
And when the balloon was filled up with hot air, it was time to start with the flight. Passenger entered basket. It was enough space for all of us, and everybody has a lot of space for themselves, and it was with perfect condition to start the flight. I was already looking forward to the views and taking nice photography work. TAKE OFF TIME=)
At the beginning, my first expression was that I am in elevator that is going very smoothly through the air, elevator without walls, so you can see everything in all directions. from beautiful vanilla sky that was amazing colored that morning, to lake and mountains far behind.
Already after couple of minutes, we were high above Lausanne so I had opportunity to see the city below me and beautiful lake Geneva with Alps behind.
Lake and the city was on the south side, and we slowly started to move north. Below us were images of suburbia, villages and roads. I was able to take really good areal photography.
Lake Geneva was further and further now, and it was already possible to see Lake Neuchatel, on the western part of Switzerland. To the east was Berner Oberland mountains and the view was really beautiful, on each side nature, lakes, mountains, villages. Switzerland at its best.
At the highest point, we have reached 1600 meters above ground. It is good to have jacket at that heights, and team of Ballons du Leman will give you all information about what is the best to ware and take with yourself on your flight. That October morning was very warm, so even on the height of 1600 meters it was pretty mild, and without high winds.
We were in the air for more then one hour and it was time to start descending. Slowly, meter by meter, we were approaching the area of villages north of the Lausanne. Passing through forests, and fields we had opportunity to see rural part of Switzerland, farms, horses and cows. Ground was near us, but we still had opportunity to see Mountain peaks covered with snow.
On the other side there was the village of Sottens, and that was our landing site.
Landing was very smooth. If taking off seemed to me as having a ride on elevator, Landing was as same as comfortable. We touched the ground and my first expression was- ,,I want to try again,, it was so good experience.
It was time for breakfast. Team of Ballons du Leman made breakfast, coffee, croissants. After the breakfast, we were awarded with diplomas of having the hot air balloon experience and we celebrated with Champaign. It was one of a life time experience and I know that next time when I want to experience beautiful scenery from above, my choice will be Ballons du Leman again.