What a lovely morning. For the first time during LMAB15 I actually had the time to just walk around on the runway, taking pictures from the ground. I spotted an odd registration number, starting with LY, meaning the balloon is registered in Lithuania. Nice! Having lived there for 1,5 years, I still cherish warm feelings for this beautiful Baltic country. I had a look if I could spot some of my Lithuanian balloon friends, but no, they didn’t look like Lithuanians at all. Nevertheless, just a moment later I heard “Nienke, want to join?” from that very basket, in Dutch. There were two Dutchman on board, and pilot Arjan Schuurmans offered me a flight with a smile. Off we went. The wind was so steerable, so our track on the map contained an almost perfectly round circle. We had lots of fun and flew for almost two hours. Interesting though how dialects can differ, even in such a tiny country like the Netherlands. I’m from the peaceful and not too crowded Northern part of the country myself, while this balloon team is based in the South, not too far away from Belgium. I considered them to speak funny, but they thought the same of me.
This afternoon Sarah, my father and I joined Daniel, our friend from Sweden. It was a delight to drive in his basically brand new electric Volvo, from which we could enjoy the French landscape at its second best (as it still can’t beat the view from the balloon). We came across Swedish pilot Pelle Lesser, his wife Ulla and their kind crew members as well, and ended up at a stained glass window atelier. Interesting to see how for example the typical art nouveau windows in Nancy are made, and which kind of coloring techniques exist within this artisanal world. We were very hungry and the artist was so kind to call some restaurants in the area of Toul in order to ask if they were still serving food. A lot of places close after 14.00 during the weekend. One little restaurant stayed open a little longer especially for us, and wow, the food we were served looked and tasted delicious. I enjoyed a big plate of paella and my dessert was apricot tiramisu. As Sarah would say: I was a happy bunny; you could stick a fork in me.
This evening it was rather windy. Peter decided not to take off, and that seemed like a wise decision. It was too much of a hassle for most of the teams to get their balloons up calmly. My dad joined Per in the special shape glove and their landing was proclaimed to be ‘spicy’. Per: “Is my foot on your leg Bennie?”. Bennie: “Yes, and your ass is in my face!”. While all that happened far away from the launch field, Sarah and I kept on watching the departing balloons. It’s always fun to have Sarah around. I just love her sense of humor. Luckily we could postpone the whole saying goodbye thing a bit by tailgating at the parking lot. Peter’s French crew Benoit and his wife Caroline brought some heavenly cloud/cheese cake, enjoyed by all. It was after 23.00 once we were finally back at the hotel; now time to say goodbye to my dear tea-loving friend. Luckily Sarah will be in Albuquerque again in two months, and so do I.