Up until this past weekend I am not sure I had ever seen a hot air balloon before. It’s one of those things I just randomly don’t remember having come across in real life. But I have certainly made up for that now.
On Saturday I attended the annual Tiverton Balloon Festival. Living in Exeter I thought getting to this event would be no problem, but having to travel by public transport made this not quite the case. As I discovered it required a train journey, a bus, a taxi, and a big long walk too. Annoying. And the 30°C heat didn’t exactly make that a more pleasant experience.
It did turn out to be worth it though.
We arrived a couple of hours before the scheduled mass ascent of all of the balloons and so wandered to the beer tent, browsed the craft stalls, saw a falconry display, grabbed a bite to eat, and went for a ride in the bucket of a digger. Yes, that’s right.
We went up there. It was great.
The mass ascent was about an hour late in starting but once it did it was a spectacular sight. The balloons would lift off right in front of us and the crowd would give a big cheer as they passed directly above our heads. Once all of the balloons had passed over us it was wonderful to turn around and see them all together in the sky at once. And the perfectly clear blue made it all the more incredible.
There was even one guy who didn’t have a basket with his balloon, just a chair! Scary.
A few hours later, once the sun had gone down it was time for the Fire and Light show. Unfortunately for us, we could only stay for the first few minutes due to that annoying fact of having to travel home by public transport. But what we did see was balloons lighting up to the theme from Star Wars. Awesome.