We are so excited to be in a hot air balloon!!
When I first received my itinerary from JayWay Travel for my trip through the Baltics I skimmed it quickly, city tour here, nice hotel there, cooking class here, bog walking tour there…. bog walking tour? What the heck is that I thought? I would soon learn on my trip and love it…. but as I kept going down the list the thing that got me the MOST excited out of everything on the list was taking a HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE!! I would be going hot air ballooning for the first time in Lithuania!
What is looks like hot air ballooning over Cappadocia – by Liz of YoungAdventuress.com
Previously I was meant to of gone on a hot air balloon safari in South Africa, but due to poor weather conditions that was canceled. Hot. Air. Balloon. Safari. I was soooo upset that that got cancelled. Hot air ballooning is something that has ALWAYS been at the top of my bucket list and seeing a zillion of my travel blogging friends doing it in places like Costa Brava and over Capadoccia in Turkey has left me yearning to finally do it. So I was BEYOND thrilled that I would get to do it for the first time in Lithuania.
I also learned that hot air ballooning in Lithuania is actually quite an affordable experience compared to doing it in other places around the world. In Capadoccia a flight might cost you €325 but in Lithuania on average it costs €90 – €100. That is an AMAZING deal.
Floating above the Trakai Castle Island in Lithuania
Our flight was with Orobalionai, an awesome hot air ballooning company in Lithuania that does flights over the Trakai Castle where we went and also over the city of Vilnius and a few other places. When we took off we luckily had another balloon going at the same time so we were able to take pretty pictures of another balloon flying next to us as well.
Chris and Craig help the crew blow up our hot air balloon
Watching the crew lay out the balloon and getting it blown up was really cool to watch. We soon learned however that our pilot did not speak much english, however he knew enough to tell us when to get in and when to get out and I think thats about all you really need to know in this instance. Honestly everything else can be figured out through hand gestures.
The night before our flight I didn’t sleep much as I was a bit anxious for some reason. Even though I have taken a million flights and a few helicopter rides in my life, for some reason I still had my apprehensions. However as soon as we took off that all went away. It was so calm and smooth, it was as if we were hardly moving. Aside from the off and on loud roar of the propane cylinders firing to keep us in the air and the beep of the altimeter it was a very peaceful experience. That was until I remembered that we still had to land the darn thing… however this also turned out to be quite smooth and easy.
The other balloon floats over Lithuania’s Lake Galvé
There were six of us plus our pilot in our balloon, squished in snuggly with just enough room. Our flight took off from a random field up-wind from the Trakai Castle Island located in the beautiful Trakai Historical National Park. It was early morning with a heavy fog just lifting which gave us some spectacularly epic scenes to capture and Lake Galvė was as still as could be. It was almost fairy tale like.
We also floated over vast forests and small neighbourhoods. Fact: dogs do not like hot air balloons, one even seemed to be chasing us through is yard as we soared above.
After about an hour or so of soaring and up and down over the clouds and fog our pilot began searching for a nice place to land. This is when I then realized that since hot air balloons can’t really steer in any particular direction and they just float along with the air streams that they also don’t always have a designated landing spot. Or at all. Ever. They just find a piece of land that looks clear, hope for the best and hope the land owners don’t mind.
Not a look of terror I swear, trying to grab an image of us scrambling in the hot air balloon basket after it tipped over on it’s side.
Aside from the horse that we seemed to spook pretty good the owners watched us then went back inside and didn’t seem to care that we were in their yard. We braced for the landing that turned out to be quite soft however we then had to wait for the rest of the crew to arrive and find us before we could get out. Without the balloon being properly deflated the weight of our bodies and the basket was what was keeping us on the ground. Eventually we were found and the balloon tipped the basket over in slow-mo with all of us still in it screaming and giggling as we scrambled out.
Charles from JayWay Travel gets his hair burnt in a post-hot air balloon flight tradition
Our hot air ballooning experience in Lithuania wasn’t over yet though. We were then told about a hot air ballooning tradition after ones first flight. Apparently over 200 years ago in France the first hot air balloon was successfully piloted and upon landing one of the men fell out and got dirt on his face and the other accidentally singed his hair on the ignition in the balloon and to celebrate their successful flight they toasted with champagne. Because of this there is a tradition that is almost like a knighting ceremony in a way. Each of us were asked to get down on one knee and the pilots then proceed to singe some of our hair, put some dirt on our faces and then pour champagne on our heads! This was definitely a new tradition for me.
The contents of a hot air balloon’s “black box”. Very important.
Other people that were with me who had hot air ballooned in other parts of the world had never experienced this before either so perhaps it was part of a Lithuanian tradition, who knows. However it was all in good fun and we all got to celebrate afterwards with a nice glass of champagne.
To learn more about my experience in the air and to see this baptism by earth, fire and champagne watch the video from my trip!
Now I can’t wait to do it again somewhere else in the world! Have you ever flown in a hot air balloon? Where did you do it?
I was hosted by JayWay Travel on my trip through the Baltics, however like always all opinions and views expressed are my own.
Megan EileenNovember 29, 2016 at 5:31 pm
Have you ballooned across other counties? Looks like an amazing trip! Would you recommend it?
NatsuchaAugust 28, 2016 at 3:50 pm
Oh my god!!!
For around 1 and a half month I spent in Lithuania, I just saw hot air balloon over Vilnius when it was my last day there. I really wanted to try once but I missed the chanced because I did not any information before I met your blog! Maybe I should go to Lithuania again.
CailinSeptember 8, 2016 at 10:04 pm
Yes! You must go back! I highly recommend! :)
Pabitra KumarNovember 26, 2015 at 5:16 pm
I just watched your Hot Air Ballooning video and this was so amazing. You captured so many beautiful moments.
Thanks for sharing your great travel experience with us.
Colleen LaninAugust 23, 2015 at 11:44 am
I have always wanted to go hot air ballooning & I want to ever so much more now because my book features an illustration of a family in a hot air balloon on its cover. Living Social is offering a good deal ($90 Pp) in my hometown of Phoenix. Maybe I should buy it for myself as an early birthday present?! Looking forward to following your adventures on your blog & in our Fitbit group!
anil_travellerAugust 7, 2015 at 7:02 am
Wow! the picture of the balloon over Lake Galvé and Cappadocia is just unreal!
6 Bloggers Discover the Baltics with JayWay TravelJuly 23, 2015 at 5:47 am
[…] Hot Air Ballooning For The First Time – Cailin, Travel Yourself Videographer Cailin shot a gorgeous video of the hot air balloon ride we took. We dare you to watch it and not want to go up in a balloon right away! […]
Cacinda MaloneyJuly 15, 2015 at 12:49 pm
I think it was a highlight of that trip! What an amazing experience! Thanks for the memories!
Carmen | Carmen's Luxury TravelJuly 13, 2015 at 8:37 pm
We were suppose to go on a hot air balloon over Napa Valley a few years ago and it was cancelled as well due to high winds. I was very happy that it was because I’m afraid of heights and wasn’t looking forward to it. It scenery is gorgeous about Lithuania. I’m glad you had a chance to go and it all worked out.
Stacey jean InionJuly 12, 2015 at 7:45 pm
When we lived in Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania, these things were always coming down in the farmland around us. We and the kids ran to see them land. So it must really be as random as it seemed!
Great over-the-edge shots. What striking Lithuanian scenery–and the castles! You have whetted our appetite further for eastern Europe. Beautiful and inspiring, thank you!
Jhon LingkonJuly 12, 2015 at 4:42 pm
This video, just awesome !!! a bunch of Ballons,, i am jealous of you
Sarah LynnJuly 12, 2015 at 12:51 pm
Love the candid shots! Lol.
Looks like you has an absolute blast!
Meg JerrardJuly 12, 2015 at 10:32 am
Congrats on your first flight!! Hot air ballooning is SO much fun – I’ve done it a few times, but Cappadocia is on the top of my bucket list. And just added Lithuania too! The views over Lake Galvé look stunning and OMG haha I actually laughed out loud – I can’t believe you just randomly landed in some strangers backyard!! Too cool!
Glad you had a fab first flight :)
CailinJuly 12, 2015 at 12:32 pm
Thanks! It was a lot of fun! Yeah I’ve heard of people landing on the back of trucks and stuff before but we were flying in the middle of nowhere so it wasn’t that easy for the chase car to follow us for that to happen, also the wind can be so unpredictable! lol
Jen SeligmannJuly 12, 2015 at 4:45 am
What a beautiful spot to go hot air ballooning. I have to admit that the idea of doing this completely freaks me out but as I do with everything that scares me, I will one day face it and try it out for myself. I love the uniqueness of your particular experience with the hair burning tradition at the end. You don’t see someone getting their hair burnt on purpose everyday now do you!
CailinJuly 12, 2015 at 12:33 pm
I was worried at first too but it was so much fun and so calm and serene almost aside from the roar of the flame! Nothing to be afraid of :)
JessicaJuly 12, 2015 at 3:01 am
WOW! Your video is amazing! Have never been in a hot air balloon before- it’s definitely on the bucket list!
CailinJuly 12, 2015 at 12:33 pm
Aww thats so nice of you to say! Thank you so much! :)
MiaJuly 11, 2015 at 9:11 pm
I would absolutely love to go on a hot air balloon ride but I don’t ever see that happening! I’m afraid of heights, even though I’m a flight attendant, and I can’t imagine looking over the edge without going into full on panic mode. If I ever get over this ridiculous fear, I’m going to do this at least once but you can be sure they’ll need more than one black box for that trip (one for me and one for everyone else)!
CailinJuly 12, 2015 at 12:34 pm
Thats crazy that you are afraid of flights and are a flight attendant! I guess when you are working you aren’t really looking out of the windows all day lol. I think you should give hot air ballooning a try at least once :)
TaylorDecember 29, 2016 at 4:17 pm
I’ve been flying balloons for 17 years and the fear of heights actually doesn’t bother you! Since you are moving with the basket and don’t have a fixed point to look at (like standing on the edge of a roof) it doesn’t bother you.
ClaudiaJuly 11, 2015 at 2:59 pm
It looks like a gorgeous experience. I would love to try it myself some day but I somehow feel like I would panic! Perhaps too many movies or cartoons in which people fall off them :)
CailinJuly 12, 2015 at 12:35 pm
I definitely don’t think that I have been watching the same movies or cartoons as you thankfully! lol You MUST try it sometime! :)
RaW | Ramble and WanderJuly 11, 2015 at 10:59 am
Ha! Your experience above reminds me of my first hot air balloon experience! My friend and I did it Luxor, Egypt with so much apprehension – I’m afraid of heights, and my friend’s claustrophobic – but we relented because the company has the reputation of having VIPs as their guests, incl. Tony Blair, former British PM. We thought, if it’s good enough for Tony, it’s good enough for us then! Haha! It was a fun ride and the pilot expertly landed the basket into the back of a truck with no problem at all, we were all very impressed! It was also relatively cheap, compared to other places you mentioned above. We paid USD100 per person for the ride although I understand there were other companies in Luxor that offer a cheaper ride.
CailinJuly 12, 2015 at 12:36 pm
Wow, did you get to go over the pyramids? that would be so cool! They definitely must be a good company to go with if celebrities ride with them, thats a safe bet to make! lol
Toni | 2 Aussie TravellersJuly 11, 2015 at 6:39 am
Definitely one of those activities that you want to pick the right location to do it and the scenery there is beautiful. I’d have to say the idea of drinking the champagne rather than pouring it on your head seems better though.
CailinJuly 12, 2015 at 12:36 pm
I agree, the location can really make the trip! Like I would never skydive just anywhere, if I ever do it, it has to be somewhere gorgeous like in Queenstown, NZ or somewhere :)
Heather WidmerJuly 11, 2015 at 4:56 am
Wow, what an incredible experience! I’ve never been on a hot air balloon ride and it’s always something I’ve wanted to do. Floating above the Trakai Castle looks like something out of a fairy tale. Celebrating with champagne is the perfect way to celebrate such a journey. Memories to last a lifetime, I think I may splurge at my next opportunity. I didn’t go on an air balloon ride while visiting Cappadocia and now I really regret it!
CailinJuly 12, 2015 at 12:38 pm
Oh man, I haven’t been to Cappadocia yet but when I finally get there hot air ballooning is the first thing that I will do! You have to go back now lol. It’s definitely worth the splurge to try hot air ballooning at least once in your life :)
Betsy Wuebker | PassingThruJuly 11, 2015 at 3:36 am
Oh, how fabulous! Your photo of the other balloon with the silvery clouds is just breathtaking! What a nice detail to toast with champagne. I love the idea of carrying a “black box” along!
CailinJuly 12, 2015 at 12:38 pm
Thank you so much! I wish I had had a longer lens with me, but it came out pretty great :) I also agree that that is one of the best kinds of “black boxes” to have lol
Hayley GriffithsJuly 10, 2015 at 11:16 pm
I have always wanted to go in a hot air balloon and watching your video has just given me mega jealousy!!
So weird that they singed your hair through! Definitely must be a Lithuanian thing! Looks like you had a fab time!
CailinJuly 12, 2015 at 12:39 pm
There is not time like the present! Go now! :)