If you are taking Spanish Classes in Buenos Aires you should know that there are a lot of different options for things to do outside the city . Most of these activities are not too far from the city and are accessible by bus. Over this past weekend we took a hot air balloon ride in Luján. Luján is located 68 kilometers northwest from the city of Buenos Aires and is also home to a beautiful neo-gothic Basílica Nuestra Señora de Luján (www.basilicadelujan.org.ar) and the Zoológico de Luján (www.zoolujan.com), both of which I recommend visiting.
Our day of the hot balloon trip started off at 5 am in the morning at the 57 omnibus stop at Plaza Italia in Palermo. After an hour and a half of bus ride, we got off at the station at the Basilica and we were greeted by our tour guide and another couple. We were then driven to a large grassy airfield which felt like the middle of nowhere. Upon arriving the workers were in the process of attaching the balloon to a basket. The basket looked smaller than I expected and I thought to myself, “how in the world would we fit in there?” After the canvas of the balloon was attached it was filled with air from a fan and heat from a gas powered heating contraption, and it rose right up in front of us and took its shape.
Once ready the four of us along with the pilot squeezed into the basket. The pilot ignited the flame and we started to rise. By increasing or decreasing the air temperature in the balloon, we were able to gain or lose altitude respectively. I have to admit that I was a little scared at first as here we were the five of us crammed into a tiny basket full of two tanks of gas, an open flame, and at the mercy of the wind.
Then, we got the reward for getting up in the middle of the night to make this trip: the sun rose in the distance and illuminated the beautiful landscape beneath us. The wind picked up and we floated for about 30 minutes over a field of grazing horses and a lake. We then crossed a tree line separating the field and an open area of beautiful newly constructed town homes. We literally floated above one of the homes close enough you could probably jump onto the roof. The wind quickly changed so we were forced to cut our trip short. After folding up the balloon and loading the basket into the back of a truck we were driven back to our starting point and enjoyed a breakfast of coffee and sweet pastries.
The view from the hot air balloon ride was absolutely breathtaking. It is definitely a day-trip activity I recommend doing while you are staying in Buenos Aires. Be sure to book your trip in advance because the climate in Buenos Aires changes frequently and may require rescheduling. You can find more information at Flotar en Globo (www.flotarenglobo.com).