My first mini-break holiday with Carlos was planned and hotel booked before I went away for my summer holiday so we had something to look forward to when I returned. I have wanted to visit Ferrara for a while and Carlos mentioned that he had been before to the hot air balloon festival there which happened to be in September. So on Saturday 10th September we went on the train; not too far really and in the heat of midday upon arrival, we walked to our hotel and waited until the room was ready before heading out again to find somewhere to have lunch.
We were surprised not to see any balloons already and that mystery continued for a while!! We took a walk into the centre and walked around the outside of Castello Estense di Ferrara which looks very grand and there was also a row of market stalls we decided to return to later.
We walked over to the area where the balloon festival was taking place; still not able to see any balloons, but paid out entry fee and quickly found food; just in time too as they were closing up! After lunch we walked towards the ring where the balloons should have been taking off but found out it was too hot to launch them! To add to the hilarity of the situation, we also saw a Winter Wonderland archway sign and reindeer displayed either side!! It was baking hot and September so definitely not Winter!!
We watched a kite flying session in the ring and one hot air balloon was being inflated for show I believe snd then found some shade and decided what to do. As there wasn’t anything really happening for a few hours, we decided to go and look around the centre and return when the balloons would be out.
As we arrived back in the centre, we had another walk around the castle and then down Piazza Trento-Trieste and saw the outside of Cattedrale di Ferrara which was also having work done on the outside so had scaffolding and covers up which was a shame.
My favourite part of the centre however, was the spectacle along Via Giuseppe Mazzini where hung above the street was a flying river of coloured umbrellas! Every step along the street felt quite magical, looking up at the sun shining through the colours of the umbrellas. I couldn’t get enough of it and many, many pictures were taken!
We then headed back to the festival and watched the balloons being inflated and launched while the crowds gathered. There was also an air display of paramotors which had large fans to power them and they also let out streamers and coloured smoke too. It was impressive and I would like to have a try one day but the fans were really loud from where we were on the ground!
There were quite a number of child friendly novelty balloons to keep the kids interested including a Noah’s Ark which I particularly liked too! After they all inflated and took off, we amused ourselves in the Winter Wonderland area (still can’t believe the joke of it!), by having a go at the shooting and between us after a few ’rounds’, we scored enough to win a good prize and I chose a clown fish toy. It reminded us both of Nemo and having watched Finding Dory together, it seemed appropriate.
The evening performance was the reason we decided to stay the night as a collection of the balloons lit up with their flames in time to music which did look quite magical. I especially enjoyed sharing the moment with Carlos…awww!
The following day we explored more of the town and did some souvenir shopping too. We bought some gifts for friends and Carlos bought me some Ferrara playing cards which had photos of different sites and attractions in Ferrara. We had lunch outside at Pizzeria Ristorante Woodpecker and I had Cappellacci di Zucce with is a speciality in the region and had it with Ragù which was tasty. After lunch we head back home; a short trip but enjoyable first holiday as a couple! I’ll jusst leave you with a night view of the umbrellas! Aren’t they magical?!