If I wanted to visit Germany to discover the Danube region and to experience a hot air balloon ride. I have been mentioning that for years. I want to see the world from a balloon. Somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten that I have fear of heights. Why do I keep on forgetting that?
Because I haven’t always had it. At all. I climbed into trees, walked along abysses, slipped off from water falls, always looked down, built cabins (and fell backwards on the ground from it) and even later in life I did the highest bungee jump in the world. I was a tomboy. Still I dare lots, but suddenly I have fear of heights. I do not dare to walk along a ridge anymore and get quivering knees when I’m on a high tower. I have no idea how this happened. Perhaps it was that bungee jump? The fact that I am older and wiser now? My mothers death? What I do know is that I wantto get rid of it. So I’ll keep doing these sort of things. So last month I stood on top of the second tallest tower in the world and ast year I got a balloon ride as a gift for my birthday. We we’re to busy, and now was my chance. Let’s go!
I already know that the Danube region is wonderful. A good friend of my father lives in Donaueschingen and I have spent many summers and winters in the mountains. The river rises in Donaueschingen to dive into the soil a few kilometres away. A little further on he dives back on and flows further to Ulm, Regensburg and Passau. We follow the Danube by bicycle, canoe and on foot and have a blast. The Danube flows through the incredibly beautiful Black f
Forest, the Swabian Alb, Upper Swabia, Donauried, Fränkische Alb and the Bavarian Forest, all extremely beautiful places. It’s raining and the question is whether the balloon trip continues or not. I stare at the blue water of the Blautopf source, bicycle along countless monasteries, drink beer, lots of them, float on the Danube in a canoe, dance at a festival in Regensburg and visit wine farms. It is amazing being here.
The rain has stopped. There is no way back. The balloon slowly fills up with air and my nerves make me jumping hysterically around this huge thing. I take a look at the basket. It’s just…a small wicker basket. Suddenly it goes fast and I have to jumo into the balloon while it was already half up in the air. I wonder what the hell I am doing and why I thought this was going to be fun and my head starts to fill up with little angels and devils. ‘The basket is so low, the fire is too hot, the bottom drops out, can that man actually handle this thing, I fall down, my hair smells burnt, we go too high” – fear kicks itself a way inside. The balloon rises on and out of fear I find myself sitting on the bottom of the basket so I can’t see how high we go. I feel so stupid but I can’t get my wobbly bones under control. We are rapidly rising up and the voices of my colleagues speak clear. ‘Wow, we go so high, this is scary, this is strange, it seems like a green screen, we’re going even higher, look at those small houses, ah, oh’. I stay right where I am and my arms and legs seem to be petrified.
After five minutes I find myself some courage to take a look over the edge. I’m scared. It is really high. It’s really a wicker basket. We wobble. A tear runs down my face, what makes me feel an idiot. Why am I crying? But feels like it’s not normal being in a wicker basket soaring above Germany? I take a deep breath. Look over the edge again. Getting up a little more, looking a little further. I stand up. I look around and try to let my fears fly away with the wind. It succeeds. Meanwhile, the balloonist places a wooden board on the edges of the wicker basket, he cut some cheese and sausages and shares plastic bottled beers. Okay, breathe in. It is dead silent. This is fun. I look over the edge again. The land gradually colors orange and the sun is slowly setting. This is actually pretty fun. The other balloon floats towards the sun and I can finally enjoy this moment. It is indeed beautiful to be here. I start talking again like nothing happened. ‘This is so special and surreal and insanely amazing and cheers and what a view and I see a deer and a church and such tasty cheese and oh, the clouds in the water and those trees are so small and okay, this is really beautiful’. HA. I did it. And would I do it again?