EASTERN FLANDERS FROM AN EXTRAORDINARY POINT OF VIEW

EASTERN FLANDERS FROM AN EXTRAORDINARY POINT OF VIEW

A birthday card, that was my present. With a brief message that went as follows: “Block Saturday 11 and Sunday 19 June in your agenda. We bet you will never guess what your present will be this year!” On 11 June, nothing extraordinary seemed to be happening. Until around two in the afternoon. My friend got a phone call of which I only overheard ‘great!’. 

Shortly after that, we were in the car. We drove from Nukerke to Ronse in Eastern Flanders. We stopped at a field where some friends were waiting. Everyone wished me a happy birthday but no one wanted to spoil the surprise. A little later, my parents arrived and ten minutes later my boyfriend’s. Suddenly, a SUV with a typical ballooning trailer showed up. 

I exclaimed: “Oh no, say this isn’t true. A balloon ride, here in East Flanders, are you serious!”

Everybody laughed…

Oostvlaanderen

THE GREATEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER 

After a brief introduction, Ramses’ team got started. Quickly and efficiently. Soon, all the men present were bustling about with all kinds of material. In no time, there was an empty balloon lying on the grass which was then professionally attached to the basket. Just as the burner and the gas bottles. Some of the men held the balloon’s mouth open so air could be blown in. 

As soon as the balloon was filled with some air, the air was heated with the burner. We got a nice tight balloon pretty fast, the basket got up. The pilot invited everyone to enter the basket. 

We got a short expert explanation about safety, do’s and don’ts and off we went. On a balloon ride heading towards Ghent, the capital of East Flanders. With family and friends. It was so great to celebrate my birthday together this way.

CARRIED BY THE WIND, FLOATING THROUGH THE AIR 

After our departure in Ronse, we quietly floated over Oudenaarde in the direction of Ghent. Underneath us, the Scheldt winding through the landscape. I will never forget how amazing a balloon ride is. Floating through the air, carried by nothing but wind. An hour of pure excitement. Two eyes are not enough to absorb everything. 

Fortunately, Ramses advised us to make some videos with our smartphones. Just before Ghent, our hot air balloon made a soft landing. We were just far enough to enjoy a beautiful view of Ghent’s city centre.

Together with the crew, the balloon was professionally packed. Then, it was time for the classic glass of bubbles that made Dom Pérignon world-famous.