In the second weekend of August every year, the largest balloon festival in Europe is held in Bristol, south west UK. This year it will be held on this coming weekend on the 9th to 12th. If you’re near Bristol, or have a free weekend in UK, this is a great dayout or even a great weekend to spend in Bristol. The event is free (yes!!!!) and you can find more information here on the official website. In fact, previously I have written about what a great place Bristol is, you can check out my previous post on that.
Althought I live nearby Bristol, I’ve never been to the balloon festival until a few years ago when I finally got my act together. I wish I’d done it sooner. Driving there was much better than expected. Although there was a lot of traffic, the whole parking logistic went really smooth and I didn’t have to queue that long to park. The walk from the car park to the main venue was about 5 or 10 minutes from memory, which wasn’t bad given the scale of the festival. As I got into the venue, I could see a lot of food stalls and fair ground games, this truely was a great family dayout event. The busiest part was this particular area which was packed with people, this is the launch field where all the balloons ascend.
我家鄉在布里斯托城附近，但前幾年才第一次去熱氣球展。 當天非常熱鬧，但很幸運不用等太久已可以進場。 場內中心點是這個起飛區，周圍都是人山人海。 我走到最前面觀看工作人員預備熱氣球的程序。
I managed to squeeze up to the front to watch the people drive in to set up their hot air balloons. I’m not sure how the evening ascend programme works, whether everyone is given an ascend slot in advance so they can arrive on time. Or whether there’s like a hot air traffic control team who directs who and when one can ascend whenever they’re ready. Anyway, everyone was so busy here doing their own stuff, and not getting in each others’ way. I thought its amazing how such a massive balloon in the air starts off as a small pile of fabric which can be fitted in the back of the car.
Before the evening ascend, there was an air acrobat display show. If I remember correctly these planes were used in the world war, but I forgot which one and what the planes they are…
熱氣球起飛之前有一個空中飛行表演。 飛機是大戰時用的，但我忘記那一次大戰和什麼型號。 總之就是看到大家目定口呆。 而最令人嘆為觀止就是每一架飛機頂部站了一個人， 是一個真人噢！
What I do remember they announcing was that with this particular team, the most remarkable part was that there is actually a person, yes a real human being, standing on the top of the plane as they are performing in mid air!!! If you zoom in you can see them, and I’m not kidding, that is not a dummy!
Back to the balloons. It was ascend time and all the balloons were ready. Suddenly the launch field became very busy. There were balloons everywhere, different colours, different shapes.
Everyone was very exicited, waiting eagerly. Gradually, one by one the balloons took off and the sky above us was immediately filled with lots of colourful dots floating away.
I took so many photos of the balloons that day, these are just a selection of my favorite, and I have so many more on my PC. But don’t worry, I’m not going to spam you with a daily photo of balloons for the next few months. I have a lot of other great travel posts around the world that I want to share with you, so please stay tuned!