Farewell Ottawa

hot air balloon

For Christmas last year my amazing mom surprised us with a hot air balloon ride. We booked it for this past weekend thinking it would be a fantastic way to say goodbye to Ottawa before we leave. It was also a way for Mark and I to celebrate our 6 year anniversary (woah time flies!)

Take off was a bit hectic because the wind was up. There were guys on the ground running all over the place trying to time our lift off and make sure we could go up instead of side-to-side into trees and power lines. The wind finally paused just long enough and away we went. Higher and higher and higher. Once up in the air, inside the tiny basket of the hot air balloon, it was peaceful…and wicked!!!

We left from the campus of Carleton University and basically floated across the city West. We said bye to Carleton, to our apartment on Loretta Ave, Mark’s old place on Fisher, Hintonburg, Bushtukah, Algonquin, the Ottawa River and so many other places filled with memories of our time in Ottawa.

One thing I probably haven’t mentioned is that I’m afraid of heights. It didn’t really bother me, however, unless I looked directly down and started envisioning the bottom of the basket falling out from under us. I looked to the horizon and held on to the handles in the basket for dear life, just in case. Mark was loving every second of it. Even the pilot commented on Mark’s enormous grin he was wearing the entire time.

After an hour or so in the air we landed in a new development construction site in Kanata. It was a site Mark actually visits for work every week. It was pretty neat coming down for landing because we were just grazing over the tops of houses. We could see people out on the streets enjoying the evening and having BBQs in their backyards. They were all waving and shouting ‘hello’ at us. The neighbourhood dogs and cats were going nuts because they don’t like the high-frequency sound waves the propane tanks emit. Cars started following us to try and witness the landing. There must have been 20 or so cars all watching us land amongst the heaps of rubble, culverts and port-a-potties of the construction site.

It was a smooth landing. At the end we had a champagne toast. Somehow it came up that Mark and I were ‘homeless’ because we’d be traveling the world soon. The response from the other passengers was overwhelming. They had so many great questions and suggestions for our trip. It really helped get us excited and helped us realize that people outside our immediate circle of friends and family might actually be interested in what we have to say and where we go. Future book deal? Haha, we’ll see.

We’ve posted some photos of our balloon ride on the photos page.

Thanks for all the hot air Ottawa. Er, I mean thanks so much for the hot air balloon ride mom and dad. We’ll miss you Ottawa.

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