Chance of Balloons.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is arguably Bristol's biggest event of the year and Europe's biggest balloon event. Four days of colourful balloons gracing the skyline morning and evening, what's not to like? Bristolian souvenirs are always decked out with hot air balloons and artists and photographers can't help but capture the magic of the weekend.

Friday evening, I trotted over to Brandon Hill and found a grassy spot along with a number of spectators, picnics and all!

There was a bit of a delay, assuming some sort of wind caution, so I sat there for quite a while people dog watching before the first balloon peeked out from the trees covering the Clifton side of the landscape. A few more followed and before we knew it, over 100 balloons were making their way across the sky! All colours and even shapes, it was a spectacular thing to see.

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you - that is in fact...a minion balloon.

On Saturday, I planned to meet up with some friends after work out at Ashton Court, where all the balloons take off from and where the famous night glow takes place. The festival site includes food and live music, making it a really fun event for the city and visitors. However, I was not the only one with this idea. Ashton Court is about a 45 minute walk from central Bristol on a good day with no detours - but the sheer number of people visiting the festival was overwhelming and for the first time in its 37 years, people were being turned away from entering the site. They closed the car park and suspended the bus services from the centre, asking people traveling on-foot to turn around and head back home. My friends had left a little earlier in the day and said it took them over three hours to get there. Yikes! Getting off work a little later than usual may have saved me a long walk to the site just to be rejected. Since this is the first time it's ever happened, I'm sure something will be changed next year in order to prevent something like this happening again - it's hard to blame the organisers, the chaos was so unexpected.

If you find yourself in Bristol in early August, consider yourself lucky! The weekend was such a treat.

Have you ever ridden in a hot-air balloon? I never have but now I kind of want to!

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