Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2018

Warning – if you have a phobia of balloons then this post is not for you. It contains a  lot of them!

I have a “bucket list” of places I wish to visit and experiences that I would like to, well, experience. This includes the big ticket items, such as visiting Machu Picchu, to the likes of the more mundane, for example, going to the Chelsea Flower Show. Today we got to tick another one off the list when we visited the Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2018. 

This is basically a mass balloon rise taking place twice a day over a four day period (weather permitting). They have been doing this for 40 years and each year it seems to gain in popularity. A few years ago so many people turned up that they had to shut the site.

There was little chance of that today as we were aiming for the less popular 6am rise. Unfortunately this meant us having to rise at 03:40 in order to get there in time! And we nearly didn’t get there at all as the centre of Bristol seems to be being dug up and the signage was a bit dodgy (or our following of it was) and we ended up getting lost not once but three times.

So far at this year’s Fiesta there had been no take offs due to poor weather but this morning was simply beautiful. Still and sunny. Perfect conditions for both a mass balloon rise and for sitting and watching them.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure quite what to expect but the thing that surprised me the most was just how many balloons they managed to squeeze into such a small arena. As each balloon took off another one came along to replace it in what seemed to be a never-ending line-up. In the end we saw about 100 balloons go up over an hour and a half.

Alone with the “traditional” teardrop shaped balloons there were a number of novelty shapes including a rather impressive motorbike. However, it quickly became clear that none of the novelty shapes could make it far once airborne, just clearing the trees of the arena and then dropping down the other side out of sight. The rest though went on into the distance for miles.

It was an excellent display and Helen greeted each lift-off like an excitable three year old pumped full of squash! I’m glad that we did it as it was a really pleasant start to the day and we were back in Reading by 9:30!

So that’s a ✓ against the Bristol Balloon Fiesta in the old bucket list!