We finally managed a ballooning holiday. With 2 small children overseas holidays are something of a distant memory, but with some on-hand babysitting we have managed to bring our pride and joy G-PMSL to Italy for her first winter ballooning meet. With only 1000 miles to travel each way we left UK with a team of 4 drivers, a Defender full of cushions and a snackbox crammed with treats. We planned an overnight stop in France to give our legs, backs and bums a rest from the refined comfort of a Defender 110 but with still a 10 hr drive the other side we left before breakfast in the dark.
For anyone who has not driven to Italy before, it is a really, really long way. Especially when you’re towing at 50 mph with the vehicle stereo locked and the access code in the office back in blightey! Eventually we crossed the French/Italian boarder and climbed the mountains to pass through the tunnels. On exiting the tunnels we ploughed through snow. The first snow we’d seen since winter 2011. What a treat, a delight; a slow way to get where you’re going :-/ Nonetheless we made it to our destination a mere 2 days after departure.
The evening catering was spectacular, enjoyed last in 2008 when Russell and I were here together before. Italians sure know how to eat. And eat in style they do.
The weather in the morning wasn’t suitable for flying so after a leisurely start we got ourselves together for the afternoon. WOW! What a great day. The next 3 slots were fab too with over 20 balloons flying we were guaranteed to get some great photos. The weather was stunning, the flying a joy and we all managed to get 2 flights each over the 2 days. Of course with any sort of winter break we were tempted to stay longer and longer but the inevitable was upon us. The return journey. Suprisingly the 1000 miles back were faster, more comfortable and unsuprisingly more familiar.