Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The 34th Annual Chateau-d'Oex International Hot Air Balloon Festival

The next series of pictures were taking on our trip to Chateau-d'Oex (pronounced day), on January 28th, to attend the Festival.  Chateau-d'Oex is a charming little village in the Swiss Alps.  It is located about a 1 hour train ride northeast of Vevey.  The dates for the Festival were January 21st through January 29th.

The Festival is truly International.  Although most of the 40 plus balloons and crews were from Northern European countries, there were balloons and crews from Japan, Russia, Canada and the US. 

When we arrived, the weather was such that it was "iffy" if any of the balloons would launch.  When we went to lunch the weather was clearing to the point we thought they might be able to launch the balloons.  However, after lunch it started to snow more heavily and the visibility was very limited.  We went back to the launch site and there were about a half a dozen balloons being inflated, even though the crews knew that they would not be able to launch. 

One of the sponsoring companies of the festival was Nespresso-thanks to all you Nespresso devotees. 

Last, a little history trivia.  Chateau-d'Oex was the place were Bertrand Piccard, from Switzerland and Brian Jones, from Britain, launched their hot air balloon, named Breitling Orbiter 3, to begin the first ever non-stop flight around the world.  They launched on March 1, 1999 and landed in Egypt on March 21, 1999.  The balloon when fully inflated was about 188 feet tall.  Attached to the balloon was an enclosed capsule, which contained Piccard and Jones.  The capsule was about 17 feet long and 9 feet high.  One can only image what it was like for the 2 men to be in the capsule for 20 days.  The capsule was on display at the Festival, unfortunately we did not get any capsule pictures.

2 tickets to Chateau- d'Oex s'il vous plait
The pastries at the train station are so flaky and delicious the crumbs explode when you take a bite...
...leaving a meal for the birds. 
Vevey train station 

The picture is for Logan and Jack...the best part of the trip-the train. 

Around Chateau d'Oex

the bakery celebrates the balloon festival with tiny cakes replicating the town and the balloons

At last the few balloons still able to inflate for display in the poor weather

Uh Ooooooh

The marching band, uniformed and ready to celebrate the triumphant balloons
The Scottish entry after a rough night. The largest balloon in the festival.

The sponsoring company's balloon. 

Au Revoir Chateau d'Oex


  1. Wonderful--loved the balloons! Village looks so charming. Can't wait for the next blog/experience...I'll be checking and then, in a sense, traveling with you! xop

  2. It's so much fun following you around Switzerland. You both look wonderful. The pictures, especially the ones with you two in them are fun. Looking forward to the next message. Love to you both. Mom

  3. Jack loved these pictures! Especially the trains - we used a couple of them on his school project. Love you guys! Renee