Today was simply amazing. I landed in Marrakech at 11:40 PM last night and went straight to my riad, and then to sleep, to make sure I was up by 4:30 AM to ride out to the location for my first ever hot air balloon ride. I’ve always wanted to ride one and I figured, what better time to check it off of my bucket list than in Morocco on my 26th birthday! This was a really cool start to my birthday, despite the lack of sleep, rough drive towards the mountains and cool morning air.
I had no idea what to wear because I wanted to look cute yet make sure I dressed appropriately for a cold morning and a potentially grungy hot air balloon basket. I landed on a Zara floral-print maxi dress and H&M flats which worked out great for the cool morning air and rocky terrain.
Ciel D’Afrique picked me up and we drove about 45 minutes out of the city to the launch spot and watched as two other balloons launched before us. Then, our pilot and his helpers prepared our balloon. The fire blazed over and over to produce gas that filled up the balloon and before our eyes, and in only a matter of minutes, a grand green and red balloon was plump and full. “Come help us!,” they called and we all had to jump into the basket quickly so that the balloon would not fly away without us lol.
The ride was superbly peaceful and quiet. It was like all of us did not want to speak too loudly to interrupt the serene sound of silence as sunrise broke through the sky and grey clouds turned into a blazing sun. I was nervous but excited and watched in awe as we glided over the mountains and landscape, 600 meters (approx. 2,000 feet) above the sky.
I met some really cool people and as it turns out, another rider was celebrating his birthday as well. Looks like we had the same idea :). After about a 45 minute flight, we descended and headed back to the campsite where we took part in a traditional berber breakfast: bread, Moroccan pancakes, olives and of course, fresh squeezed orange juice and mint tea. This was a birthday morning for the books!
Next, I am heading to Jardin Majorelle- a place I have dreamt of going to since I started planning this trip. Stay tuned!