Some people enjoy a massage to relax and unwind; some people meditate to clear and refocus the mind. I read my book on a daily basis to clear my head at the end of the day. Admittedly it’s never more than three pages before my Kindle is tumbling towards my forehead (come on, I’m not the only one!) but I would never have thought that going on a hot air balloon ride would have been such a relaxing experience.
I remember feeling strangely calm about the whole thing. I watched the crews prepare the balloons in a field in the middle of Essex and waited patiently to be called over to the basket. I saw the other hot air balloons taking off around me, just wishing it was my turn.
Before I knew it we’d landed about 11 miles away in the middle of a ploughed field and we were all folding up the balloon to load it back into the trailer. While I was slightly sad that it was all over, I was also feeling incredibly relaxed. Apart from the noise of the burner being fired every now and then to keep us floating on, the air was filled with silence. It was an incredibly serene experience and something I had not expected at all.
Fast forward a number of years and I’m filing up the hill onto Ashton Court estate, getting my heals clipped with buggies and my eyes speared with umbrellas.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the International Balloon Fiesta. Did I expect a full fairground? No. Did I expect lots of food and drink stalls like the ones you see at festivals? Not in that quantity. Did I expect to see more balloon-related activities? Yes.
This post was first published on Bristol #PROSPECTUS, a project that has now ended.