Flying in a hot air balloon has been a dream of mine for a long time. It has been one of those dreams that are too scary to make them come true. Last year on my birthday I received a card with a hot air balloon on it – it was a gift card to ride high in the sky above my darling Helsinki. I was so happy and terrified at the same time. Last summer we were unlucky with the weathers, and every time we had reserved a flight it was canceled, but finally last Tuesday we were able to step into a hot air balloon and go up!
A warm and friendly couple – the owners of Raffica Oy Better Balloons, the oldest hot air balloon company in Finland – received us at the airport of Malmi and took our group of 5 to Lauttasaari for the take off. They were so calm that it made my anxiousness to go away. The company was founded in 1988 and they had done over 2 800 flights, which was relaxing information. We had to wait for the wind to calm down, and we finally got up in the sky a bit after 9 pm. It was a bit cloudy and sun was setting down, but still Helsinki looked so beautiful with all the 300 islands and colourful buildings. At the beginning (when my knees were still trembling) we were on the top of the city centre, so the pics are not closely as good as the views were. Little by little the peaceful pace made me relax completely and enjoy the ride in the height of 3 000 feet (900 meters). It was an experience that I will always remember, and landing in the middle of a muddy field in Sipoo and enjoying a glass of sparking in the yellow light of a streetlight made it just imperfectly perfect.