2nd Generation Balloonists Meeting at Kajov / CZ

In early June 2010, we followed the invitation of Tomas Hora to a very special balloon meeting: The "Second Generation Balloonists Meeting" at Kajov near Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. Only condition to take part was that the pilot had to have parents who already shared a love of ballooning themselves - and as this applies to Matthias as well as to Basti, both of them took a balloon to Southern Bohemia. Matthias rented his training balloon, Basti took a balloon of the Balloon Club of Landshut.

For crewing we took young balloonists from Stuttgart, Buch am Erlbach and Tacherting with us - and of course Maria, who braved the challenge of chasing Matthias and the OPEL balloon through the difficult contryside. The surroundings of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Cesky Krumlov are only sparsely populated, so, there are not really many roads. The Vltava river, the Lipno Lake and an old military training site form additional obstacles, what makes ballooning a true adventure there altogether.

Weather just improved in time to allow an extraordinary event to take off. Tomas had organised tours through the medieval Cesky Krumlov and its magnificent castle, a visit to the Lipno power plant, a rafting tour on the Vltava river and of course thrilling balloon flights.

Four flights were possible altogether (to be honest - we couldn't have taken any more), which led us to different directions - one time into total wilderness (including a challenging nightly retrieve), one time over the outrims of the Lipno Lake, and two times over the beautiful town of Cesky Krumlov. Petra from the Balloon Club of Stuttgart supported our retrieve team for two flights, allowing Maria to enjoy the beautiful landscape from up above as well - thanks for that Petra! :-)

Ten balloon teams from the Czech Republic, England and Germany had come the event, and the town of Kajov gave us any support they could. The mayor of Kajov was very enthusiastic about ballooning, and so, on Saturday, a big festival had been organised on the local sports field, which ended with a wonderful night glow and fireworks.

We wish to thank Tomas and the town of Kajov for this fantastic experience, the organisation and hospitality. Special thanks go to Petra, Tim and Annika for crewing and to Pavla, Petra, David and the photographers of Kajov for all the wonderful pictures... and of couse we hope that this was not the last meeting of this kind! ;-)

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