Mondovi, Italy. 20th June 2007

I pottered on after leaving my waterfall. About noon it started to rain. I had reached Barcelonnette and it continued to rain. And rain.

Now once I flew over the Alps, by balloon, from Gstaad in Switzerland, to near Turin, in Italy. It was drizzling with rain when we took off, we went into cloud at 7,000 ft. At 14,000 we came into clear air. From time to time we could see Mont Blanc, or the Matterhorn. Now that was interesting. Down below, hidden in the clouds, were mountains. There was no way to know, if we went down, whether we would hit a mountain, or descend into a valley. Of course before we left we knew that the north Italian plains were clear of cloud and the total flight distance was only about 140 km, easily attainable with our fuel and the forecast wind speed.

I was flying second balloon. Hans who I wrote about in my first report, was flying first balloon. It was so nice in Italy that after we arrived we stayed a couple of days before squashing everything into my small VW van for the return. Two complete 105 balloons, with 8 tanks each, and all the extra junk you need for a flight such as this, powerful radios, extra clothes, rescue kit, and so on. The baskets we hung on the back, one inside the other, Russian Doll style. We had chosen baskets especially so we could pack them this way.

I digress. In Barcelonnette it was raining. Now there is just no reason to drive over the Alps in pouring rain when you can't see anything. So I just waited. And waited. For different reasons I went 3 times to the Tourist Office, once it was because I left my umbrella there. Duh! Internet was available on the town square so I fiddled with that for a while. There's not a lot to do in Barcelonnette on a Monday, it's closing day, everything is shut. Eventually I drove past the local computer shop, MGC Informatique, so that I would be able to find it without difficulty when it was open Tuesday morning.

But it was open now! Unfortunately they didn't have a lead suitable for my camera. The young man there (nowadays most everyone is young to me) searched everywhere. Finally he located one, as the connection cable for a USB hub. 16 Euros later I was the new owner of a camera cable plus a pretty well useless, to me, 4 way USB hub.

So now you are going to get pictures again. I'll start with a photo from the Massif Central in France where I have, cunningly, managed to get the foreground tree in focus whilst the subject is blurred.

Now the focus is better.

I told you about the pompiers (firemen) running a free car wash.

These are poppies.

And this is a narrow street.

Here is the lake Serre-Poncon.

This is my gorgeous waterfall.

The canyon, with most of the water flow, continues round the corner, left of the waterfall. Unfortunately you can't get the waterfall on one photo, there are trees in the way, and it's all spread out. This is more of the same waterfall.

Here I am now in Italy. I asked a passing local, in my non existent Italian, where could I buy bread? Park your car he signed, and come with me. Hey aren't people usually nice, wherever you are?

OK that's enough for the moment. It's 2 am, my computer is running out of battery, and I have to be up at 6 am to lend a hand with tomorrow's flying - I'm parked on the launch site - so more later...........

Best regards

David Barker

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