Monday, January 26, 2009

Another journey by train

Sunday morning found us up, if not at 'em, bright and early. We were heading to Chateau D'Oex (pronounced roughly 'SHA-toe Dey'... of course...grumble grumble French grumble) for the International Festival of Balloons. Our trip began with a crowded bus ride from Fribourg to Bulle. From Bulle, we caught our first train of the day to Montbovon and from there we squeezed onto train #2 to Chateau D'Oex. When I say squeezed, I mean it - Mr K, myself, and another friend were all shoved in a doorway, holding on and praying the door of this considerably-older-model train wouldn't pop open from the combined pressure of three Americans.

Just under two hours after leaving Fribourg, we arrived at our destination. The sky was perfectly clear and the air cold, but not bitterly so. We were comfortably bundled up in our snow clothing though I would soon come to regret forgetting my sunglasses. The crowd was spread out over a snowy hillside with a perfect view of the balloon ground. We arrived in time for the "special shapes" category of balloons, which included three different chickens, a guy with a kilt, a turtle, some tiny remote-controlled balloons and a few other entries. Superchicken, pictured at the top of this entry, was my favorite even though he got stuck in the trees halfway up the mountain and spent the rest of the day glowering over someone's chalet.

After a couple hours of craning our necks and squinting at the glare off the snow, we went in search of the Swiss version of Fair Food - a hot dog crammed in a baguette and some salty salty frites. We wandered back to our spot on the hill, where I spilled ketchup and mustard all down my swanky wool scarf. The program promised displays of paragliding, parachuting and wingsuits after the "special shapes" balloons. I should add that the mention of "wingsuits" was the sole factor that got us up and out of bed that morning.

And so we waited, me fidgeting with my scarf as the faint scent of mustard floated on the air around me. Two in the afternoon came and went. Then it was three. No wingsuits. No wingsuits. We waited a few more minutes as balloons for passenger rides were inflated before we decided wingsuits were just not going to happen. I toyed briefly with the idea of taking a balloon ride myself - until I saw that it would be around $750 for Mr K and I both to go for a couple hours. I was feeling cheap an Mr K isn't so fond of heights anyway, so instead we headed back to the train station to make our three part trip home.

As a final note, you have to check out Mr K's amazing shot of a very photogenic family watching the balloons. Just look at that! The kids, the coordinating snow gear, the coordinating DOG. Amazing.


Anonymous said...

Did you say..."Superchicken"?

When you're threatened by a stranger
When you think that you're in danger
When it looks like you will take a lickin'
(bock bock bock bock)
There is one thing you should learn
When there is no one else to turn
to caaaaallll for super chicken
(bock bock bock bock)
Then if you're afraid
you'll have to overlook it
Besides you knew the job was dangerous
when you took it
*bock bock bock bock
He will drink his super sauce
and throw the bad guys for a loss
and he will bring 'em in
alive and kickin'
(bock bock bock bock)
There is one thing you should learn
when there is no one else to turn
to caaaalll for super chicken
(bock bock bock bock)
Caaaaalllll for Super CHICKEN

Now that was a great cartoon...what was the name of the lion who was his sidekick?

Anonymous said...

That weather is what's referred to in pilot-speak as "severe clear" or CAVU (clear and visibility unlimited).

Hey when are you going to blog about "Swiss orderliness as evidenced by produce"? Curious minds want to know!

Kasia said...

I love the pics! Can't believe that there's so much snow in Switzerland. Those pics and your story made me think how much I miss Fribourg, Switzerland and you guys!