One of the best things that Frank and I did while we were in Luxor was to go for a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Having arrived the night before on an evening flight from Cairo the aerial view was a fantastic first introduction to the area before we started exploring the sights.
We were picked up from our hotel a little after four am and shuttled to a dock on the Nile. On board we enjoyed tea while we were ferried to the West Bank.
After arriving on the West Bank we were driven to a large field where the hot air balloons were being inflated. It was a beautiful and fascinating process to watch.
Once our balloon was ready we climbed into the basket and got safety instructions from the balloon pilot. We did a little practice of how to crouch and hold the basket straps for the landing and then we were off. The lift off was so gentle that it was hard to even notice until we saw the ground receding away from us.
We started by floating over the ancient ruins on the West Bank. We had fabulous views of the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Hatshepsut and the Ramessuem.
We continued floating over the West Bank enjoying views of the fields and town.
One of the most fascinating things was to watch the farmers at work in their fields in the early morning before the day became too hot. While we were in Egypt it was sugar cane harvest season and we saw smoke plumes rising from fires in the fields below. To make harvesting easier the sugar cane fields are set on fire to burn off the leaves while leaving the stalks intact.
We continued floating along over the Nile to the East Bank. The sunrise was lovely and we had great views over the town as well as Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple.
After about an hour in the air it was time to land. When the pilot directed us we got into our crouched landing position. We lightly bounced off the ground once before finally coming to a stop in a field that had recently been harvested.
The last thing I would ever be accused of is being a morning person, but getting up before the crack of dawn was completely worth the experience of the balloon ride. It was my first time in a hot air balloon and I would love to do it again.