Over the Alps by balloon…

Today, our last day in Italy, we explored the northern bank of the floodplain at the mouth of the Adda river, agricultural land that also serves as a nature reserve. Shortly after we had set off we spotted an oval shape high in the sky over the northern Alps. Having the binoculars with us for the birds, we checked the shape out and realised that it was a hot air balloon. Back home, I did some research on the internet and found that there are several companies offering such trips. Now that must be an extraordinary experience! The websites make it seem a banal affair but the internet also tells me that the very first hot air balloon flight over the Alps occurred as recently as 21 August 1972, piloted by Donald A. Cameron. (You can read his account of the adventure here). The balloon that flew over us was far too high to photograph so I am posting a picture of me looking suitably pensive instead.


  1. Per Sommerschield

    There are magnificent views of the Pian di Spagna from the windows of my brother’s old house, above Dascio. This is old Spanish Lombardy – even the local supermarket’s called “Fuentes”.

  2. Martin

    That’s right, Per! You can still visit the ruins of the old Spanish fort and this time we came across a smaller Spanish fort on the flood plain that is still in excellent condition. To take another example I happen to know, in Bolognese dialect there are still traces of the city’s time as capital of the cisalpine republic. Lire, for example, were referred to as ‘franci francese’!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2023 Martin Westlake

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑