Sunday, July 30, 2017

Ballooning in Metz

Less than I week after returning from Poland, Gemma and I once again packed our bags this time heading towards Metz: near the French/German border. Why? We were going to the Mondial Air Balloons: the biggest ballooning festival in Europe!
With this traffic we'll nevner make it in time.
With flights every morning and evening every day of the event my calendar is absolutely crammed with flights, or at least there would have been lots of flights if the weather had have been a tinsy bit better (unfortunately poor weather and holidays seems to go hand in hand in Europe).
 Baiky's first flight!
We flew on the first morning, but alas, Steve, our pilot, was not confident in the weather conditions to go up again whilst Gemma and I were there. Personally I think he was just embarrased about the, ah, shall we say 'bumpy', landing on our first flight. That said, it is much easier to pack up a balloon if it is already prone on account of its landing.
We're here, just drinking beer (without a fear).
Probably a good decision after hearing about the balloon that 'gift-wrapped' a tree on the second day. Weather can be fickle, and even the clear looking skies on the photo above were considered insalubrous for flying.
Baiky managed to score two flights! Seriosuly, though, miniture balloons were hanging in trees in villages for miles around.
However, while we were defeated by strong winds, rain, and poor wind direction ballooning is about more then just flying (especially because it is well-documented I am not overly comfortable in the air.). It is also about drinking, eating, culture, and eating culture.
Balloons preparing for flight.
During our days not flying we visited Metz with its huge cathedral, an excellent art gallery (I did not attend visit), and free wifi well suited to watching round 17 of the AFL (only I participated in this particular activity). 
Minions are bloody everywhere.
Outside of Metz we visited a US WWII cemetery, enjoyed a free sound light show (more commonly known as thunder and lightning), and we also ate bread and cheese; lots and lots of bread and cheese. 
Our ballooning team for the first weekend. 1 flight, 5 blocks of milka, 6 cases of beer, 20 baguettes, and a (laughing) cow's worth of cheese.
I am of the understanding that the world record for the most balloons taking off at the same time was broken with nearly 450 taking off. This, quite clearly, happened after Gemma and I had returned home.
 Gemma got artsy, capturing balloons in glasses.
This was my first international ballooning festival, and to be honest, despite the lack of flying, I throroughly enjoyed it. The tent leaked a bit, but it was mostly on Gemma, and we did not fly much, but flying scares me, so overall I am earnestly anticipating the next one. Who else is up for Warsteiner 2018?

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