ARCTIC BALLOONING 2023
Our second big adventure of 2023 led us to Lapland! Together with my good friend Tommie from Friesland, I was lucky enough to join Edcar’s team from Hot-R Ballonvaarten for a fantastic journey across the Arctic Circle. Meeting near Hamburg, we took the ferry from Kiel to Gothenburg and crossed all Sweden by car.
The Arctic Ballooning event is organised by an able team around French balloonist Jean Becker, with great help of several sponsors and local companies. In 2023, seven balloon teams took part, four from France, one from Spain, one from Belgium and our mixed team from the Netherlands and Germany. Within one week, we managed four flights above the amazing Finnish landscape around Äkäslompolo. As the frozen lake of the town is the only big landable area in the vicinity, every flight is a fly-in. Take-off spots are carefully chosen according to the wind direction. For us, this worked out perfectly well every time =)
Retrieve from the lake works via skidoo, which is also a lot of fun. Thank you Sylvain & Laurent for your help!
The non-flyable days, we spent with skiing at the local Ylläs resort, a husky tour, a skidoo tour to Snow Village with its ice hotel, strolls around the snowy countryside, a visit to a reindeer farm, chilling around the fireplace in our cozy chalet, a delicious cheese fondue (boiling on a balloon burner of course) and funny nights at the local karaoke pub. Good times :o)
One night, we even managed to put up our balloon, Edcar’s orange ‘Jeppa Bear’, in front of the polar lights – they were not as strong as we had hoped they would be, but the pictures made it to newspapers local and abroad nevertheless and made worth the efforts unpacking and packing the balloon in minus 27 degrees.
Our thanks go out to Jean and his whole team of supporters and sponsors for this awesome adventure! Again, we met friends old and new, explored yet another country by balloon and made memories that will surely stay with us forever. What a life of ballooning! =)