Stockholm A-Z: Balloons


You might not know this but I am an aristocrat. Yes, it’s true, I am titled. I am a Count. My official title is Balloon Count of Barkaby. I was given this title in a champagne ceremony a few years ago.

The title of Count or Countess is something that everybody is given after they carry out a journey in a hot air balloon over Stockholm. Where you land dictates where you become a Count or Countess of. I landed on a not-so-glamorous air strip in Barkaby, a not-so-attractive suburb outside the city.

Hot air ballooning is synonymous with the summer skyline of Stockholm. Every evening, weather permitting, the sky fills with a mass of brightly coloured balloons with baskets of gleeful passengers hanging beneath them. The growl of the flame can be heard on street level as the balloons sail gently across the evening sky.

From up there, you get a fantastic view of the city. You see clearly how Stockholm is built on islands and how bridges form a network of communication. You see the houses shining in shades of ochra, amber and gold. You see people busy in parks, on the water and in the squares.

In these days where the sky is filled with ash clouds and planes can’t take us where we want to be, perhaps it will become the era of the hot air balloon.

I wonder how long it’d take to get to England?

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