It is an intoxicating experience that of flying in a hot air balloon, a sort of walk in the clouds, in a time suspended between dream and reality.
Early in the morning, when the sun begins to rise behind the horizon and announces the dawn of a new day to the world, we witness the preparations of those who, with great experience, set up the huge aerostatic balloon, which takes shape lying in the meadow, swelling triumphantly. The turning point is when the big balloon rises from the ground and straightens the basket we easily slip into, ready for the baptism of flight.
The vigorous flame that warms the air making it light, produces joyful puffs, until with great trepidation, we realize that the crucial moment has arrived: we gently detach ourselves from the ground and begin to rise. We look in ecstasy at the landscape touched by the sun and see trees and houses getting smaller and smaller. And while the balloon rises, heavy thoughts remain anchored to the ground and even our head becomes lighter.
We have chosen the Langhe for this flight experience, so it is the gentle profile of the hills that stands out in front of us. An impalpable mist creeps between the valleys, caresses the slopes and gently wraps them like a blanket, without hiding them from view. The panorama is magical, a fairytale enchantment. We overlook small villages perched around ancient castles, we admire hazelnut groves and cultivated fields, but above all we glide effortlessly over endless expanses of Nebbiolo vineyards. The Tanaro can be glimpsed in the distance, while rows of poplars flow beneath us. The profile of the Castle of Grinzane can be glimpsed in the mist, together with some modern wineries with unmistakable architecture. The winding roads meander through the hills, the houses appear minute, the cars that are starting to circulate look like small toys.
It's a bit like hanging from the sky, floating lightly in the air. It seems to lose material consistency to be gently rocked by impalpable breezes. What strikes me the most? The surreal and reassuring silence that envelops the flight. You perceive muffled noises that come from the ground, sounds that are never intrusive: the barking of dogs in the distance, the vigorous crow of the rooster, some engine roaring softly.
Where are we headed? It is the wind that decides: in a hot air balloon you know where you start, but not where you end up. It is down to the skill and experience of the pilot to calculate times and possible trajectories, based on the air currents. And spot open fields on which to glide, where it is possible to land the great balloon. Thus, while we seem to spin slowly, we lose altitude and regain contact with the world. Back on earth, but lighter and happier.