Bristol Balloon Fiesta – A Photographers View

Bristol Balloon Fiesta – A Photographers View

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

 

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, attracting over 130 Hot Air Balloons from across the globe. It is held on the second weekend in August for 4 days and is the highlight of every Bristolians calender. This was my first year attending as press and I was bursting with excitement to attend my first 6 am ascent. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas this year and the scheduled morning ascent on Friday 9th was not going ahead and was rescheduled for Thursday morning.

I set my alarm for 3 am and left the house at 3.45am for the drive to Bristol Ashton Court to collect my press pass. I was not going to miss what was likely to be the only assent for the whole weekend. When I eventually arrived on site ( the one-way system is a nightmare and I missed my turning soo many times!!) the atmosphere was electric. The excitement on the balloon field was so infectious and I felt like a kid on Christmas morning!

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

The field looks very unimpressive when I first arrived, a field of deflated balloons and land rovers everywhere. Whispers are heard double guessing if the balloons will be given the all-clear to fly. The announcer comes over the speakers to let us know a decision has been made. Coloured smoke will fill the air with the board’s decision. Red is a no go, Amber for tethering only and Green for an assent. Silence hangs over the field waiting for the smoke. Its a green and we have lift off! The noise of the burners and air inflating the balloons has to be the most thrilling noise you will hear at a balloon fiesta. The smell of the burners, watching the deflated balloons come to life is magical.

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

 

The first balloon to take off was the Thatchers Cider hot air balloon. All around me balloons start to fill the air. The shaped balloons are the highlight of the weekend and this year a go fund me page was set up to bring Darth Vader back to Bristol, and he came! I had so much fun and was so thrilled to see my first ascent. Hopefully next year I will have the opportunity to take a flight at the 2020 Bristol Balloon fiesta. There is so much more to see at the fiesta than the hot air balloons. Unfortunately, at the time I was there the funfair was not open so I have no images, and to be honest I was so excited to see the balloons I forget to see what else was happening! There are food stalls, clothing stalls, lots of activities for the kids, a big wheel, craft tent, BBC Bristol and so much more.

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

I highly recommend visiting the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. It is a feast for the eyes, lots to do for all ages. Next year’s event takes place on August 6th-9th, 2020. Pop it in your calendar, you will not be disappointed.

NB: Please note all photos and words are my own, I was not paid to attend this event, I received a press pass on behalf of Bristol Bloggers

 

 

 

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72 Hours in Prague

72 Hours in Prague

 

Be still my beating heart, Prague you have stolen my heart… From streets that make me feel like I am part of a Hans Christian fairytale, to sipping on cocktails in a Art Nouveau American bar, I am coming back .

This March, my husband and I had a short break in Prague meeting with friends we hadn’t seen in a while. Prague was not on my destination list, I hadn’t heard anything about Prague so was intrigued to get googling.

Well I was not to be disappointed , it was a photographers dream.  I started to put together my list of places to visit , eat and drink, and lucky for you it is all here in this post for your next visit to Prague.

We flew with Easy Jet from Bristol airport and stayed at the Hotel Basada Prague.

Day one

Unfortunately it was rather grey and wet when we arrived, but that did not stop of us buying an umbrella and heading onto the streets of Prague. First stop was Mysak.

Opened in 1911 and redesigned in 2017 Mysak has been a staple for decades  , even under Communism, with a focus on speciality coffees and drop dead gorgeous pastries. I had a cronut type of pastry which was delicious!

We then headed onto the Leica gallery where Marek Musil “Burning Man” exhibition was on. Do check Leica Gallery web page for their current exhibitions. They also have a coffee shop.

Next stop was Wenceslas Square in New Town where many demonstrations, celebrations and public gatherings occur. The main star attraction for me was this Art Nouveau Hotel that reminded me of Wes Anderson. The Grand Hotel Europa is currently boarded up and has been sold to J W Marriott and is scheduled to open in 2020. Will be interesting to see how they renovate this beautiful piece of architecture.

It was my husbands birthday that week so I booked us a table at Hergetova Cihelna ,  a lively and stylish restaurant on the bank of Prague`s Vltava river with a spectacular view of the Charles Bridge.

We sipped pink champagne , dined on sumptuous food and enjoyed breath taking views of the Charles Bridge.

I highly recommend either of the restaurants by the Kampa Group for a special occasion. Stunning views, mouth watering food and attentive service.

Day Two

Up early for breakfast and we caught the tram no 22 to Prague Castle. The no 22 is the most scenic tram route so well worth jumping on for a view of Prague.

Prague Castle dates back to 870 and boasts several different architectural styles including Gothic and Romanesque. The cathedral is stunning and well worth the queues.

Beware it is a steep walk up to the castle but well worth it for the breath taking views of the city.

Within the walls of the castle is Golden Lane and is included in the price of your ticket. A row of brightly coloured houses that were once residential cottages. Now it houses gift shops, and a armour museum.

We then headed into Mala Strana, also know as Lesser Town for a bite to eat. This was by far one of my favourite areas of Prague, beautiful cobbled streets and stunning buildings with handprinted Murals decorating the walls. Charles Bridge connects Lesser Town and Old Town by foot.

We had an amazing Czech lunch at Magistra Kelly, traditional Czech food and good beer and wine for less than £20 for two (starter, main course and alcohol). Not the easiest place to find and quite a walk, but so worth it!

I had Knedlíky or dumplings,  the Czech side dish made from potato flour and boiled in water as a roll and then sliced and served hot. Peter and our friends had Guláš (pronounced as “goulash“) Goulash (guláš in Czech) .

Prague is not very vegetarian friendly and I did struggle a little when looking for traditional fayre.

Ended our day walking across Charles Bridge and grabbing those all important photos!

The evening we went to The American Bar for cocktails which is located in  the Municipal House a stunning Art Nouveau decor with leather seating and a cosy atmosphere, followed by seeing  The Four Seasons by Vivaldi in the concert room. A snip at about £30 each for a box!

Day Three

Back to Old Town for a traditional Trdelník to be eaten. I opted for mine without the cream and just plain, dusted with cinnamon sugar! When in Prague….

Old Town as you can imagine is full of tourist shops but walk around some of the quieter alleys and you will find a few gems. This absinthe shop did not go unnoticed by my husband !

A must visit and not widely mentioned to see is the Prague Library .

The Klementinum library, a beautiful example of Baroque architecture, was first opened in 1722 and is the most beautiful library I have set my eyes on!

As well as the library you can visit the astronomical tower for outstanding views of Prague, not for those who are scared of heights mind. Steep spiral iron staircase takes you to the top of the tower. The high shutters are opened one by one to reveal the most breath taking views!

Do visit the website for stunning imagery and more info.

Peter and I then visited the Gallery of Art , an exhibition showcasing Dali, Mucha and Warhol. I have seen the Warhol exhibition in Hong Kong, there were many personal artefacts here that I had not seen before. And finally we made a quick visit to the John Lennon Wall !

We had the most amazing time, I highly recommend Prague as a destination to visit, preferably weekdays to avoid the stag do’s as beer is cheaper than soft drinks.

Unfortunately the Astronomical Clock was under repair when we visited Prague, hence no photos to show or mention.

Never enough time to try out all the places I wanted to visit so a few mentions below that have come highly recommended from other websites :

Cafe Savoy/Jewish Quarter/Lokal/Sisters Coffee Shop

Recommended Websites :

Gallery of Art Prague 

Taste of Prague 

NB : Please note all photos and words are my own

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