One of the most attractive outdoor events โ€“ Croatia Hot Air Balloon Rally. 15 top hot air balloon teams from all over the world (even USA) for 4 days had the opportunity to show their ballooning skills flying over the hills of Hrvatsko Zagorje while the visitors enjoyed the massive take-offs, unusual balloon races and night illuminations.

Everyday there were balloon races. First of all, there is few types of races. There is one where every team finds a perfect place for itself. You could take off from any place you want but the point is the same for everyone. The one who throws a little sandbag the closest to the point (the land is marked with big X and you should throw it to the middle), wins. The second one is where all teams take off from the same place. In races on Croatia Hot Air Balloon Rally, you didn’t throw sandbags, you throw cucumbers and gin tonics. It was more fun that way. ๐Ÿ˜€

Now, here is the funny thing. On first day we were promised to take a flight with Slovenian team. Everyone took their balloons, got in cars and went. We just followed the last ones. At one point, we realized there should be much more cars in front of us, not just three. When we stopped at perfect place for them we found out that this is race type A (explained above). And of course, Slovenian team wasn’t here. Who knows where they went, there is no chance to find them now. That meant โ€“ no flying for us today. We learned about types of races the hard way. Well, at least we caught great clips for our video. ๐Ÿ˜€

The biggest attraction of the whole event was Geoff Lescott from United Kingdom. He is better know as the man flying the balloon without the basket. ๐Ÿ˜€ It was pretty incredible watching him take off to the air without any instruments. It takes much experience to do what he does.. He even won first place! J He gently came down one meter from the point and throw cucumber. You wouldn’t be able to do that with a basket. ๐Ÿ˜€

The last day we got place for one person to try and fly with balloon. I (Arijana) got that honor because that has been my wish since I was a child. And finally, I had the opportunity to try it. I was flying in Cedevita racer with one of the best pilots in Croatia, Igor Miklouลกiฤ‡. We won that race. ๐Ÿ˜€ Flying was so amazing. Everything was so peaceful up there. And incredibly quiet. The only thing you heard was birds singing and burner on the balloon. Take off and landing were a little bit scary but I would definitely go again! At the end, there was a secret ceremony for everyone who flight for the first time. But it’s a secret ceremony so I can’t really tell you anything about it. You’ll just have to try it for yourself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Those four days we were so exhausted. Every day we were waking up at 4:30 am and coming home late at night. But despite that, it was so fun. We enjoyed every second of it. Hope we’ll be there next year too. ๐Ÿ˜€ Big thanks to Ballon club Zagreb for everything.