LESLIE MCBRIDE WILE
Frosted meadows and a blank, overcast sky today–the actual first day of 2015, with Italy finally back to school and work after January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany. This late return to the daily grind may be welcome if you are a student or a working stiff, but if you are a couple waiting anxiously for a new roof over your old house the custom is less pleasing. Still, when in Mondovi` it’s best to try as much as possible to emulate the Monregalese, and so I’ve spent the last few days among crowds of delighted spectators at the 27th annual raduno di mongolfiere, our local hot-air balloon festival.
I found my favorite team of balloonists (Team Kingspan, from England) and followed their progress over three brilliant sunny days, from launches in Parco Europa to flights across Belvedere and the surrounding hills, and even tracked them to a landing in a (mercifully cow-pat free) field outside of town. As always, the bright, soaring mongolfiere are such a marvellous sight, lighter than air and sailing on a breeze, that worries about roof beams and construction schedules lighten up and drift away.
Pictures by Leslie McBride Wile