Sagrantino Cup, Italy

No Metz this year, so what about Sagrantino? A long way to drive with a trailer, but morning only flights, no camping and the promise of plenty of free wine tempted us to give this one a try….

With a two day trip via France and Switzerland, including a few extra hours spent on Dover port-side due to French security delays, we arrived at Sagratino, and joined another 50 or so balloons for a great week of flying, socialising, eating and drinking – the wine was free, beer had to be paid for!

There were three of us, with a 140, and no-one to retrieve, but this was not going to stop us from flying! We walked back to our launch site the first morning (stopping off on the way of course for ice cream and beer), and then from then on, we managed to hitch lifts, offer flights in return for crew as we’d got plenty of spare space in the 140 – we also rented Dave out a couple of times (he said it was for instructor flights!) so he’s get a lift back for our car – who needs a retrieve ?!

Starting each morning with coffee and cornetti (Italian for croissants, not an ice cream as we first thought!) we flew in different places and in various directions over Italian countryside green rolling hills covered with olive trees and vineyards, as well as a flight over Todi, a hilltop medieval town. We made the most of the Italian hospitality and generally enjoying the Italian relaxed (very) way of life that often started with beer at 9.30am…. We also found time for tourist activities, fitting in Rome and Pisa – that tower really does lean!

Over all too soon, we reluctantly had to head home, finding time to stop off in Mondovi, say hello Giovani and have our very last Italian flight – our tenth. All going to plan until the Mont Blanc Tunnel Police who’d spotted our trailer gas stickers, and after an hour or so of waiting around, they eventually decided we could not go through the tunnel after all due to increased terrorist security, but helpfully instead gave us directions instead for us to take the route over the Alps, a real white knuckle trip and a detour of around 6 hours, but fantastic scenery and the best pizza ever in a ski chalet just 4km from the Italian border! Our detour unfortunately meant that we missed out on our planned night in Champagne in a Chateau, but we made our ferry without and further delays, and eventually back home after a great two weeks.