Is this for real?
Absolutely. We go every year, and this year it looks like there will be an open spot.
Are you all crazy?
Probably. It might help if you are, too.
Who is eligible?
Well, the original idea was to find someone we could pass off as Denise, so trying to find her twin was the goal. An identical match isn't very likely, however, so eligibility requirements have been relaxed somewhat.
Who else will be on this trip?
There will be twelve of us. The full roster isn't completely set at this point, but it looks like the following people will be among your traveling companions:
- Alf: of course!
- Paul: the corkscrew-balloon web site designer, from western Washington
- Annie: Alf's daughter, from Seattle
- Susan: from Florida
- Christen: CB3 model who now lives in New Jersey
- Hermann: from Germany
- Robin: from Florida
Some of these people have already been to the Chateau d'Oex festival before, but there will also be some "first-timers." Robin has been on other ballooning trips, but not this one. (His wife Stephani was with us in 1997, and she wrote the journal for that trip.) This will be Christen's first time ballooning. There might be one or two other first-timers traveling with us by the time the final cast is in place.
What will I have to do on this trip?
You need to get out of bed by 11:30 or so each day and stumble across the street to the balloon launching site. That's about it. If this sounds like too much work, you can take a day or two off if you'd like.
How will we spend our days?
The first planned activity each day is generally the balloon flight shortly before noon (weather permitting). Aside from that, we'll spend a lot of time over lunch and dinner, plus there will be some sightseeing. There's plenty of free time, too, for exploring Chateau d'Oex and doing whatever else you might want to do.
Who flies and maintains the balloons?
All of the balloon aspects are handled by the Bombard Society. The pilots are extremely experienced and capable, and the ground crew is composed of an amazing group of dashing and personable British lads.
How will I obtain my airplane tickets?
Cindy of Regent Travel will take care of all the details and mail them to you a few weeks before your departure date.
How much money should I bring?
You really don't need to bring any at all, unless you want to do some shopping for souvenirs or whatever. All of your expenses for food, lodging, ballooning and other activities will be taken care of for you. You might want to bring along a credit card or bank cash card, just in case you find some nifty boots or something.
Where can I find out more about what this trip will be like?
Check the prior years' journals! Thorough details of what we did are available, day by day, for each of the past three years. Stephani reported on 1997's trip, Paul kept the journal in 1998, and Alf recorded the most recent outing.
What is the deadline for submitting my application?
October 31, 1999. If you haven't already applied, it's too late.
When will you be selecting the lucky winner?
We will announce the winner on November 21, 1999. This should be far enough in advance that you'll have time to arrange your schedule to have the necessary dates clear. There should also be enough time for you to apply for a passport if you don't have a current one. Good luck, applicants!