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We woke up at about 3:30am and left the boat by 4:00am for our hot air balloon ride. We had spent a lot of time debating whether to do it because 1) none of us are morning people 2) two of us were scared to death of heights and 3) it was somewhat expensive…but we could not have been happier that we decided to go.
When we got to the take-off site, we had a few minutes to watch the balloons being inflated all around us. The massive pilot lights and rising balloons against the pre-dawn sky was amazing, especially in the midst of a setting that was already so spectacular.
Once in the basket, Laura, her mom, her sister, and I took our positions along with a Spanish couple who didn’t speak English (and seemed miserable) and several staff members from the balloon company.
Although it was clear our balloon was going up, it didn’t even seem like we were moving. It was an unusual sensation to feel like we were hovering in mid-air, but it was great for me and my sister-in-law who both have a fear of heights. We had been pretty worried, but we ended up loving every minute of it.
We soared over all the fabulous sites of the area, including Queen Hatshepsut’s temple, the Colossi of Memnon, the Valley of the Queens, and a little of the Valley of the Kings. Seeing everything from the air gave us a totally different perspective on the locations of all the landmarks and the engineering achievements it took to construct them.
We landed in a field (right by a goat herder!) only about a half-mile from where we started after a 45 minute flight. The vendor, Horus Airship and Balloon, was first rate. They paid attention to safety, used good equipment and generally ran a smooth operation.
Although we had been up for at least five hours, it was only 9am, so it was time to head to the hotel for a nap…