Balloon Ride Adventure for Gusto Wine Tours!
Highly recommended for an unforgettable experience!
We had an unforgettable morning on a hot air balloon ride over the spectacular Umbrian countryside! Getting up and out by 6am was on the sleepy side, but the dawn light was beautiful and the sunrise gave promise for a gorgeous day!
We arrived at Cantina Dionigi and immediately, Peter Kollar, the owner of Balloon Adventures Italy SRL and our wonderful pilot and host for the morning took control, guiding us to a parking spot, showing us where to sign up, introducing us to everyone who had already arrived. We hopped into the comfortable transport for less than a minute to drive up the road to the take-off site. This is also Peter’s home and land. In the near future, everyone will meet here as there is parking & the balloon is there!
We were given instructions on how to get into the basket and watched as the balloon was inflated – a wonderful sight! Once the balloon was full enough to float, we all scrambled into the basket and within a couple of minutes we were rapidly rising away from the waving ground crew who would be tracking the balloon to come and collect us from wherever the wind took us!
The views across the Umbrian countryside were absolutely spectacular and Peter was busy pointing out the landmarks below because, even though we live here, these places, from above, are difficult to recognise!
The morning air was so still we had to rise to 1.3 km before we ‘caught the winds’! Until that point, we didn’t know which way we were going! Peter showed us on the iPad that we had been zig-zagging! Then we were licking along at about 15km an hour and when we were rising, it was at around 2 metres a second – but we couldn’t feel any of this! We were serenely floating along – it wasn’t windy, in fact, it was very warm indeed. ( Err, we had our own heater right in the middle of the basket, so of course it wasn’t cold!)
A balloon ride in the early morning looking out over the vines, the olive groves, seeing Assisi almost floating in the distance with Mount Subasio looking huge against the sky was a truly unforgettable experience!
Some of the passengers could see their homes as we floated over them and the little hilltop towns looked absolutely amazing from the air!
We began our descent as we reached the relative flat area around Bevagna and Peter started looking for a suitable spot to land – not the easiest thing to do when most of the fields are full of grain, the farmers wouldn’t be happy if a big heavy basket flattened their crops!
We were on target for a perfect field just outside of Bevagna by the river Topino. Suddenly the wind changed direction and we were heading for the river! Peter skilfully handled the balloon and we gently landed on the lane beside the river, right next to a farmhouse whose occupants woke to a big surprise! (The older guy coming out with hair all over the place and his shirt buttons done up all wrong!)
The ground crew were right there and ran over to help. Then we were out and all hands ‘on deck’ to help bring the balloon down, get the air out and put it in its bag – which really didn’t seem to be big enough to hold an enormous balloon – but it did!
The balloon and then the basket were loaded up on the flat-bed and we were loaded up in the comfortable minivans and we were taken back to Cantina Dionigi for a post flight ‘breakfast’!
The Prosecco came out first and the table was laden with delicious goodies like fresh melon, meats, cheeses, bruschette with Dionigi’s own olive oil and, of course their wines – A Grechetto followed by their Montefalco Rosso and then their Sagrantino di Montefalco. It was a very jolly group that made its way down to the cellars to have a look around!
Ballooning followed by a wine tasting breakfast! A match made in heaven! Thank you for a spectacular morning Peter!
Peter Koller – Balloon Adventures Italy SRL
Roberto Dionigi – Cantina Dionigi