Destination: Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland
It was an evening of one of these very exhausting days. Not any particular reason; every parent knows that sometimes days in a family with little ones can be exhausting. Anyway, I was sitting on the couch, surfing the internet, absolutely nothing going through my brain. Empty headed, aimless, just surfing. And then suddenly, something caught my attention and managed to pull me back to reality. Lots and lots of hot air balloons on my iPad screen. A what? A Hot Air balloon festival? Going on right as we speak? I must admit I had never heard about such a thing before. So I checked the webpage, just to find out that everything was written in French and the English translation was rather poor. I cannot read French, but was able to figure out the important details just by counting one and one together…
Right then, my husband came down the stairs after winning the every-night-battle about going to bed with the little ones. Darling, I said, I found something interesting. You do have a day off from work tomorrow? Then I showed him the webpage saying: I want to go there. Tomorrow? He said, looking a bit puzzled… You do know it is a bit far away, don’t you? Two hours in a car is nothing, I thought. I wanted to see the balloons. Luckily my dear husband is more or less spontaneous and always ready for some mindless adventures. After some reading through the webpage, he was ready to go for it.
In the morning, we pulled two reluctant kids out of their warm and cozy beds, packed our car, and off we went. We drove to Chateau d’Oex, the beautiful little French-speaking village in the Swiss Alps. And oh boy, it was worth it. All these colorful hot air balloons magically floating in the air in the most beautiful winter wonderland! It was probably one of the most absurd things my very Finnish eyes had ever seen. I could have just spent hours watching all this, but naturally, that won’t do with the kids.
So we did what people do at festivals. We wandered around to see what was there, ate some hotdogs, and tried out some of the available adventures. There was this hot air balloon called ”captive”, meaning that the thing was tied on the ground with a rope, but you could travel up (and down) with it. Of course, our princess (who loves flying with all the possible devices) wanted to try it out, and so they did with my husband. Meanwhile, I went to check the helicopters with the little guy, since those were more of interest to him. At the very end of the day, we found a little hill where kids were sliding down with their bobsleds, right around the sign that said: no sledding! We didn’t realize to bring anything suitable with us, but luckily we found a plastic bag from our rucksack, and so the little princess was happily sliding down the snowy hill with this piece of plastic.
On the way back home, we stopped at grandma’s for an evening meal, and it was a perfect ending for the great day. With thankful hearts and too much Tiramisu in our bellies, we drove back home and slept a long good night sleep…
This odd little festival made it to my do-it-every-year-list. Big thanks for the tip goes to https://martanmatkassa.blogspot.com/
Location: Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland
With a car: Navigate to the centre of Chateau d’Oex. As it is a small village, you will see the signposts to the festival area as soon as you arrive. There are some chargeable parking spaces around the festival area.
Public Transportation: Chateau d’Oex is the place you want to land.
Go to Railway Timetables
Cost: Entering the festival area is free. Different available attractions such as flying with an hot air balloon or helicopter, have different price tags on them.
Open: next time 23. – 31. January 2022.
Services: restaurant, wc. All the services in the village centre nearby are also available.
More Information available at their website
Bookaholic’s related reading tip:
Five Weeks in a Balloon by Jules Verne
Traveler’s daily verse: