Monday, 12 August 2013

Day Trip -Bristol Balloon Festival- 10/8/13

We booked a day trip to Bristol Balloon Festival with Wicksons whom a company which supply a coach with a driver to drive to the destination. The Bristol Balloon Festival is held at Ashton Court annually and this year is the 35th year of Europe's largest annual hot air balloon event with a mass of hot air balloons, arena and air display. There were lot of trade stands and caterers with a variety of Entertainment from the Radio Heart Station.

The trip to Bristol is £18.00 per person. Our pick up point was at the pub next to Chase Terrace Technology School. It the driver, Roger about one hour to pick up the day trippers from different up points.  We reached the Cotswold Garden Center for one hour to stretch the legs and using the toilets facilities or having a cup of tea at the teashop.  The garden center had lot of landscape designs display outside the store where we can stroll around and there is the tearoom with a lake behind it and  beautiful gardens but we didn't have time to browse or see all of it.

We were been told by Roger that it will take us about one and half hour to reached Ashton Manor and he was looking at the map for which exits as there were several exit for cars and coaches.  The road work on the M-motorway and the crowds at the events caused the traffic jam and it took us three and half hours then expected.  We reached there around 3.30 p.m. and we were to be back at the coach by 7.30 p.m.

We followed the crowds walk down hill and it took us about 25 minutes walk to the Ashton Manor and walked  to the fair where there is lot of entertainments with fast speeds rides, games and foods stands. The foods and drinks were expensive. The crowd at the park bought their chairs and blankets to sit on the grasses and also having picnic and bbq at the ground.

It was another half an hour walk to the arena where the air displays was on all day. We had see the  stunning war planes  with aerobatics on top of the plane and wings doing their amazing performance for the audiences. The hot air balloons started to roll in around 6.00 p.m. and all the cars and trucks pulling into the arena to set up the hot air balloons. There is two shows on one is 6.00 a.m another is 6.00 p.m. and another mass lit up at 9.30 p.m.

It took about half an hours to set up and about 6.30 p.m. so of the hot air balloons start to for a mass accent. There will be 109 hot air balloon going on till the night lit  at 9.30 p.m. The crowds love were calm by hundred of balloons floating in the air. The atmosphere were swell with spirits of happiness, bond of same love and achievements.

By 6.45 p.m. we only able to see about 20 to 30 hot balloons floating in the air and we had to walk back to gate 9 where the coach was parked. Unfortunately, there is road blocked and we had been walking round and round the arena with wrong directions been pointed by the locals.. It took us about one and half hour to find our way to the coach. We had to walk fast like a crazy women and the big crowds around stop our every move.

We were late by 40 minutes and the other trippers and driver weren't so happy about it.  The journey back was delay by traffic jammed due to some of lot of the cars were going out and in and also the M-motorway was closed and the driver had to go by longer way. About 2 hours later, our drive need to change another one driver due to there is law for a driver to drive for a max of how many hours on the rad. It us another four hours for dropping the trippers on different drop off points. I had reached my drop off point at 12.30 a.m. and lucky my husband reached home from work and can't find me at home. So he drove to the drop off point to look for me. At last, a happy ending for a happy day.

This is a good value for the day trip but if you want to see the mass accent and night lit up then it is best to go with your car and camping at there where you can enjoy  the whole day and night. It is a most beautiful sights which I had ever seen and will go again the next day as it is too amazing experience to miss.

Place: Bristol Balloon Festival - Ashton Manor - 8th to 11th August
Scored: 9 stars
Tour  Group : Wicksons
Photos: By Catherine Suen
Date: 10th August 2013

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Visit to Geneva - Day 4 on 27/2/2013

Today, we woke up at 7.00 a.m., the surroundings  which can view from the balcony was amazing and the temperature was minus 9 degrees. We can see  the mountains peaks surrounding with fog and the surroundings were very misty. I went out to take some photos around the hotel as my husband was tired due to he can't sleep during the night.

After taking some photos of the surroundings and when the mountains peaks  were totally covered by a blanket of white clouds, I went to the nearby houses to take the photos of the birds.  Around 5.00 a.m to 6.00 a.m. we can hear the birds singing and  today I had caught another 2 different species of the birds.

To take nature photos, now I  can understand the patience of the photographers to sit or stand still for hours just waiting to spot the rare species. I have learned to be patience and had been  frozen in the cold for 3 hours just able to photos of  3 different type of birdies.

Around 9.30 a.m., my husband found me standing still at the nearby houses gardens taking photos. We went to the Passy Plateau to take photo of the misty surrounding the mountains Alps . After 2 hours later we drove to Chamonix to go to our next destination.

We decided to turn back and go to the hotel in Geneva, instead to Lansanne which take  about 2 hours to drive. On our way to Geneva, we bypass Passy. "Wow!!! the scenic views were amazing beautiful. The first night when we drove to the hotel was in the night  so we missed most of this beautiful views. We stop for a few minutes at Passy to take some photos.

Reached the hotel around 2.00 p.m. and checked in and left our suitcases at the room  to visit the town centre of Geneva.  We drove pass some of the beautiful historic town centre, parked our car and went for a walk  at the market place. We bought some sweets and grilled chicken for our dinner and spent 30 Swiss Fran. Learned our lesson at the Geneva Airport that they don't use Euro but Swiss Fran and managed to get a money changer in the town Centre. Enjoy the few hours strolling around the town centre, and beware of the market stalls sellers. As we were conned by them by paying more for the sweet than you can get them from the shop.

Our dinner tonight was the grilled chicken and frozen cooked prawns where I had bought at Chamonix. Early night  and to catch  the flight back home the next day. My only regret was that I have only 1 short day in Geneva where there were lot of branded posh shops here and didn't have the times to visit and it is worth to come back again as this is a beautiful city.

Place: Passy Plateau and Geneva
Scored: 5 stars 
Date: 27/2/2013
Photos by: Catherine Suen and Robert Suen