LMAB 31 July – morning

Such a pity, the morning flight was cancelled once again… At least some tasty croissants cheered up the exhausted faces 🙂 !

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LMAB 30 July – evening

This afternoon started off with a nice trip to Nancy together with Peter, Isaac, Dave, Kathy, Sarah and my dad. We had such a good time strolling around, taking fun pictures. We enjoyed a delicious Italian meal which I concluded with some pistachio ice cream. The temperature is rising again in comparison with the previous two days. On our way back we were called about an interview request for tomorrow, so let’s see in which magazine my dad and I will end up!

This evening the flight was cancelled, unfortunately. It was too windy. Nevertheless, a lot of people kept on hanging around near the briefing hangar which in the end made it to a fun evening anyways. I met so many people again I hadn’t seen for ages and I laughed my ass of with my friends Djorry and Isaac. It was a while ago I laughed so loud that the tears were rolling over my cheeks. Now my little stomach is filled with two cheeseburgers again it’s time for a nap. Let’s see if the weather will be ok in a couple of hours…

LMAB 29 July – evening

When we arrived at the launch field we saw many kites up in the air. Never a good sign. There was still hope, so after the briefing we all waited for the wind to calm down. I was offered a place in the Robbie Williams balloon, an airbrushed 77 depicting an album cover. The pilot of this balloon is the very sympathetic Christian Muth. He is German but lives in Austria where he has his own balloon business. It’s always a pleasure to get to know new teams and that definitely also counted for this evening when I talked through the waiting time with Christian and his crew members. Unfortunately the wind didn’t drop down so all teams headed towards their cozy tents, caravans and hotel rooms again. Thus, a relatively long sleep it will be for now! The alarm clock will ruin my dreams again at 04.30. 

They have a cool army retrieve car!

LMAB 29 July – morning

For the first time during the desired morning flight sessions it was needed to wear a jacket. Finally, after yesterdays rain showers it cooled off a bit. Together with my dad I joined the ‘Appel and Pear’ balloon guys once again. Apparently they weren’t fed up of us yet! We drove to the complete end of the launch field where we slowly but steady saw all other balloons taking off in front of us. We joined the gang and with low speed explored the launch base and the many sun flower fields. Of course all overruled by a massive amount of early woken up pilots and their crewmembers in their colorful, small balloons. A little happy German guy named Luca joined us during our flight under the command of Basten Heeg. He spoke perfect English, even though he could just watch over the sides of the basket. Because of our muddy experience previous night we decided to land near a little grass field so we could pack the balloon without too many brownish traces. Again, a successful flight! It makes these early wake ups so much more easy. 
Back to the field my dad and I joined the British and American folks we absolutely like to hang out with. A picnic table covered with a balloony cloth was stuffed with tasty cheese, sausages and alcoholic beverages. What a breakfast! The owner of Head Balloons, Tarp Head, made his traditional ‘together with Nienke photo’ which he’d post to a friend in America who’d apparently wanted to take me home in a sweet little box when we met a few years ago. Together with my British friend Sarah I caught up about some more woman-like stuff ;). We only reached our hotel around 12.00, the perfect time for a well needed nap. 

LMAB 28 July – evening

This evening was an unexpected gift. We only decided to drive to the field quite late and even seriously considered not going because of the bad looking weather forecast. Interestingly, after an entire day of rain the sun started to shine and the wind became only less. I didn’t feel one single rain drop. What a nice surprise!
When I walked towards the launch field I firstly met Francois Schaut. What a pleasure to meet him. “Hello… you must be… Ineke?”. Almost. Nienke. Sweet that he knew me and that I was given the compliments from his daughter about the typical Bos ballooning pictures. Secondly I met the Dutch ‘Appel en Peer’ (Apple and Pear) team, four happy guys. Even though I had never seen them before the conversation started off with “Hi, do you want to fly with us tonight?”. Of course! Eventually my dad was also assigned a place in the basket. So, there we went, up in the air with a well organized and friendly Dutch balloon team, hardly suffering from any wind. This was such a flight about which pictures say so much more than words. It reminded us all a bit on the legendary Saturday morning in 2011.
Together with a bunch of other balloons we landed in a clay-like field in Chambley, next to a beautiful field filled with sunflowers. We all managed to collect a few centimeters of clay under our shoes, so during our way back to the launch field we were all half wrapped in garbage bags in order to keep the car clean. Last but not least, a big thanks for my dad for cleaning my boots and a concluding picture of the sunset of today.

LMAB 28 July – morning

Well, what to say about this morning? I slept very well and in comparison to the typical Chambley-action-days, very long. We decided not to go to the launch field because of the rainshowers. The flight was cancelled. What I forgot to mention yesterday is that the great line up, the world record attempt, didn’t take place yet. It was rescheduled once again for this evening, July 28, however, the rain radar still shows way too many red thunder spots above the Lorraine area. The weather for the upcoming week looks better though.
Then the brainstorm session started about what to do on a rainy Sunday, when shops are closed and when it’s not too smart to hike around in thunderstorm sensitive areas. Centre Pompidou Metz became the answer! Together with my dad I visited this futuristic museum located right next to Metz’s central train station. The entre fee is 12 euro’s but it’s free for people under the age of 26. Every once in a while the expositions change. We started off with ‘views from above’ about, surprise, pictures taken from aeroplanes, zeppelins and gasballoons. That’s a nice theme for this time of the year, having so extremely many international ballooning freaks around. It was great to see some footage from around 1900, taken out of a balloon. Furthermore there were air pictures once used for military purposes as well as sketches and paintings inspired through landscape lines as seen from above.
One of the other main exhibitions was dedicated to the American born artist Sol LeWitt and his artist colleagues. I read somewhere that his collection now displayed at Centre Pompidou is the biggest one ever in Europe. One of the floors was filled with massive walls and black/white/grey abstract but often symetric art works. Nice place to play around with your camera and shoot a mix of interesting patterns. The other floor dedicated to his work consisted of a variety of paintings, fabric motives and picture series. 
We left the ground floor to be visted last. There were some screens depicting interviews, drawings and tv fragments partly about and collected by Allen Ginsberg. A bit dreamy, but inspiring. Nevertheless, since the other two exhibitions kind of soaked up my energy already I couldn’t completely push myself anymore to fully concentrate on all screens displayed. 
We enjoyed a stroll through silent Metz in search for some food. Streets were discovered we had never seen before so later on this week when it won’t be raining that much we’ll definetely go back for some nice building spotting.