You hear them first. We had just gone outside when I heard the familiar dragons roar of the hot flame and looked around to locate it. Dogs barked in the neighbourhood, disturbed by the strange thing in the sky.
Ever since we came to live in The Netherlands I have associated hot air balloons with summer evenings. In previous lifetimes we lived in coastal areas of the English speaking islands and I don't think I ever saw a hot air balloon. But here on continental Europe, safely in from the coastline, hot air balloons appear on summer evenings when the wind goes almost still and it's light till late.