Why do Hot Air Balloon rides have such an affiliation with romance?
According to thefreedictionary.com Romance can be described as a mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful.
On my quest to find the Gold Coast’s best representations of romance I ended up 3200 feet in the air wondering what it all means…
The Scenic Balloon Tour van showed up long before dawn. I loaded in with 13 strangers and we headed down the road sleepy and quiet.
As the sun started to rise, we continued through the Gold Coasts hinterland under a brightening sapphire sky. The silhouettes of the trees started to take shape, so did the outlines of the cuddly couples surrounding me in the van.
My first sign of romance.
In order to have the safest flight possible, we had to continue on farther than expected to find the right weather conditions. We ended up in Beaudesert where we joined other balloon groups. We then caravanned out to Boys Town paddock.
As we got out of the van, we were treated to a picturesque sunrise that painted the landscape in soft pastel colours. The crew strung out the balloon and connected it to the basket. Everyone’s focus switched from landscape to balloon when large fans were turned on the fill the balloons.
13 stories of balloon stretched across the paddock and slowly started to inflate. Heat was slowly added to get the balloon to standing position.
We were separated into groups of 4 then asked to climb in the basket. After our safety demonstration, we were off. We waved goodbye to the folks on the ground as we gently lifted into the morning sky.
Once the flames were tuned off, it was surprisingly quiet. We peacefully floated in the air until our pilot broke the silence with a joke. From that point on, the balloon ride was extremely jovial!
Everyone was full of questions for the pilot and enjoyed their time with their loved ones by hugging, snapping photos and taking in the sites. Not nearly as “classically romantic” as I had imagined, it was all fun!
The birds eye view we got of the Gold Coast Hinterland was sensational! As the basket turned and the vantage point changed, we could see Brisbane, Mount Tamborine, paddock after paddock, and the Scenic Rim. Being that high and being able to reach out and feel the air and look down and underneath the basket was almost an out of body experience. So often when we are lucky enough to get such a spectacular view there is a barrier; whether it be a window or the ground beneath your feet, usually there is something blocking you from a 360 experience. Being completely submersed in the experience was more spectacular than I ever could have imagined and surprisingly not scary.
After a long sally though the sky, it was time to land. Our pilot instructed us to get into landing position which was squatting with both hands grasping a rope, and he impressively and softly landed us in a cow field. As with being in the air, the landing was not nearly as frightening as I had imagined it would be.
Once on the ground, our crew was waiting for us. They secured the basket and balloon and we all hopped out.
I was assuming we would hop right on the bus and go, but I assumed wrong. We had to pack up the balloon. It took enormous amounts effort to get the air out of the balloon and then put it in the bag. Imagine deflating an air mattress and putting it in a bag but times that 13 stories. It was hot and hard, but with a little effort we had it wrapped up and ready to go in no time.
It was in the struggle of packing the balloon that I saw romance again. There was a couple heaving the balloon in the bag. Through all the sweat and flies, they were having the best time. Laughing and being silly, I haven't seen two adults have that much fun with each other, maybe ever. The hard work didn't phase them, they were just so happy to be helping and doing something with each other. With each hoist of the balloon they would make a silly noise then burst into giggles.
The telenovela romance I was expecting was no where to be found on this excursion.
As the balloon was secured on the trailer by the crew the rest of us loaded in the van and headed back to the Gold Coast for breakfast.
Mercure hosted us, for a gorgeous champagne buffet breakfast!
Each couple was allotted their own table, but something magnificent happened. The friendships made on the flight carried over into breakfast and couples were sitting together and making an effort to expand the budding friendships. Instead of a romantic breakfast overlooking the golf course, most people chose comradery over privacy. My third sign of romance.
I originally set out on this course to find the meaning of romance and have a little fun along the way. What I didn't expect was for the fun to be the catalyst for the romance.
If any of you were hoping for a cheesy hot air balloon love story, I’m sorry to disappoint.
The romance of the hot air ballon lies in adventure, and laughing with your partner, and the making of a great memory.
Going back to the definition of romance, it can be described as a mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful.
I believe all of those descriptions made an appearance throughout the day, just not in the way I was expecting. So is life I suppose!
Anyway, mission accomplished, I now know why hot air balloon rides are so romantic and had a great time figuring it out!