Luft Lust? Or Just A Lot Of Hot Air?

Have you noticed that there seems to be a lot of hot air balloons floating around lately? (Very poor pun, sorry.) Hot air balloons have always been a particular favourite of Jules Verne-style travellers, old-fashioned romantics and modern designers with a penchant for the steamy, heated and hair-raising. But now they're fast becoming a hot new trend. (Oh, another bad pun there!)

I thought I'd post some of the high-flying flamboyance I've seen rising up from the cultural landscape lately.

{Beautiful image above by Studio Flower Power, available to buy on on Etsy}

Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner rode a balloon to the edge of space on Sunday, saluted and stepped off.

The former soldier hurtled through the sky at more than 830 mph, breaking the sound barrier in his four-minute free fall before popping his parachute above the New Mexico desert.

Then he fell to his knees. Understandable, really. Felix, we salute you back. {Via Sky}

Parisian department store Le Bon Marche's 160-year anniversary is currently being celebrated with a spectacular display of gorgeously graphic luft machines, which perfectly suit the store's famously graphic ceiling. These lovely images are via Vicki Archer and the always-insightful French Essence blog.

A fantastic 3D 'balloon book by artist Lizzie Buckmaster Dove.

A lovely old vintage balloon print, from the Old Maps and Prints store on Etsy.

One of the most beautiful new hotels in Paris, the Versailles-sized St James. The hotel is situated on the site of the first ever hot-air balloon airfield, and because of this the hotel features the balloon as its brand. Whimsical, but strangely uplifting. (Will stop with the puns now.) Bookings through Mr and Mrs Smith or the hotel itself. {Images via Mr and Mrs Smith and St James}

Book illustration on the history of balloons, from 1890.

An astonishing image by photographer Scott Williams that captures the magnificent festival known as the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, held in New Mexico each year. Doesn't this make you want to go and hitch a ride on a balloon? {Via Wiki and Scott Williams}

John Derian's beautifully simplistic interpretation of a hot air balloon for his 'Paris hot air balloon' plate, available as part of his collection. {Via John Derian}

Jules Verne's most famous character, Phileas Fogg of London, and his newly employed French valet Passepartout, set out to circumnavigate the world in 80 days in 1872, in order to win a £20,000 wager (equal to £1,324,289 today) set by his friends at the Reform Club. The novel of their adventures, Around The World In 80 Days, has since become a literary classic. But Jules Verne wrote another balloon adventure before this one, called Five Weeks in a Balloon, or Journeys and Discoveries in Africa by Three Englishmen (Not quite sure of the title but in French it's Cinq semaines en ballon). He used this earlier novel to perfect the style that would elevate his later work to bestseller level, skillfully mixing a plot full of adventure and twists with passages of technical, geographic, and historic description. Oh – and lots of hot air balloon flights!

The pinboard above my desk. The tiny hot air balloon gift card is from John Derian's enchanting store in New York. It was all I could afford in that store!

And one more from the fabulously glam St James Hotel in Paris...

And while we're on the subject of travel, I'm not going off in a hot air balloon with a French valet for company (sadly), but I am off for a few days to do some research and finish a photo shoot. I had emailed a photographer I know to do the job for me, but she hasn't replied, which means she must be terribly busy – as I suspected she would be. Consequently, I need to do the shoot myself. So I'm taking my aging, complaining, works-when-it-wants-to camera and going off to finish the job so we can stay on deadline. However, I will be seeing some beautiful places on the way, so I promise to post lots of lovely pics. (If you can forgive the blurry photos.)

On a little aside, those of you awaiting news of the Garden Tours for 2013 will be pleased to hear that details of the itinerary and costs will be posted next Friday (26th), as I am currently tracking down the cheapest deals and awaiting quotes. I sincerely apologise for not having details sooner. It has been rather complicated owing to the fact that people are flying into London from all over the world and so many replied! But I can also tell you that there will be some horticultural treats in store! And for those of you who are Planners Well Before Time (like my Virgo partner), you can feel reassured. All the 2013 Early Bird Special air fares are only just going on sale now. (Chelsea tickets aren't even on sale yet!) Au revoir for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment