Mallorca Hosts European Hot Air Balloon Championship

Balloons over rural Mallorca

It’s been a while since I posted on this blog. We had a full-on – and fun – September, with family and friends who stayed with us at the finca; there were also other friends, staying elsewhere in Mallorca, with whom we met up to eat out. It was a thoroughly enjoyable month of good food, wine, company, and fun.

Back to work, I thought, as October began. Then wham! I went down with a heavy cold; barely recovered from feeling wretched, I launched into a project which took me out and about to interview and write about a few traditional artisans in Mallorca.


With that project now finished, it’s time to crack on with my novel and catch up with posting here and on my Eat, Drink, Sleep, Mallorca blog – both of which have been rather neglected with everything else going on.

Until just over a week ago, we were enjoying an unusually warm and pleasant October, with only the occasional ‘off’ day. Then somebody flicked the ‘winter on’ switch and it was a hasty trip to buy logs for the Jotul stove.

A Glorious Autumn Saturday in Mallorca

Before we resorted to winter-weight curtains and socks, there was a wonderful autumn Saturday (October 26th). We got up early to go and watch hot air balloons. We do see the occasional distant hot air balloon from our home, because nearby Manacor is home to a company called Mallorca Balloons, run by Ricardo Aracil – but that day we were in for something special.

Ricardo was responsible for bringing the European Hot Air Balloon Championship 2019 to Mallorca – for the first time since the competition was launched in Skövde (Sweden) in 1976. The event is organized by the International Aeronautical Federation (based in Switzerland) and takes place every two years; 100 hot air balloons from 23 countries came to Mallorca to compete this year.

The European Hot Air Balloon Championship was as popular with spectators as it was with competitors and we were in a long line of cars driving towards the cloud of balloons rising over the countryside near Petra.

I find myself getting quite emotional when I see hot air balloons. It’s something to do with the tranquillity they exude: the slowness and peace (punctuated by the occasional burst of flame) as they travel. One day I shall try a hot air balloon flight – but I think I’ll wait for the warmer weather to return first.

Going to see the hot air balloons in flight was just the start of a memorable October Saturday. Later that morning we went to have a Terragust experience – which you can read about here.

We’re now in ‘winter’ mode here in rural Mallorca, but can look back at these two events and be grateful for a very pleasant autumn 2019.

Jan Edwards ©2019

2 thoughts on “Mallorca Hosts European Hot Air Balloon Championship

  1. Hi Jan,
    Yes the Balloons were a spectacle not to be missed. I went along to the airfield at El Cruce on Friday afternoon and walked around hoping to spot a British team. As luck would have it the first I came across, there were only four brits out of 86 teams, was Dom Bareford. Having noticed how small and rather grubby was the Union Jack on the side of his basket I arrived the next morning at the take-off point north of Petra at a ridiculous 6am and presented him with a large bright Union Flag. This he flew from the side of his balloon for the rest of the competition.
    He was a young and very modest chap, it was only afterwards when I googled him that I discovered he was not only British Champion but World Champion in 2018. Hi sister Stephanie was also there as one of the other british teams.
    On your blog page the first photo – balloons over rural Mallorca. The two yellow balloons with blue stripes are Dom and his sister.
    I have always been a flying nut, having been rejected by the RAF shortsighted left eye.
    I used to fly a microlight from El Cruce and went ballooning with Ricardo the first year he started, must be 10 or 15 years ago.
    Best wishes John
    PS To be fair Dom explained the reason his flag on the basket was grubby was if you land fast and tip over then whatever is on the side is dragged along the ground.

    • Wow, John, what a great story. Thanks for sharing it here on my blog. What a coincidence that I managed to photograph the two balloons piloted by the Brits you met.

      I’ve never been in a hot air balloon – The Boss is not keen on heights – but I flew everyday in a helicopter (not as the pilot!) for four years doing traffic reports on radio, so I do love that sensation of being up there and seeing everything from a bird’s eye perspective.

      We sometimes see microlights flying over the finca and often wave if we’re in the garden – just in case they can see us!

      Best wishes, Jan

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