During the week of 17th – 23rd September Tashi made her first visit to Switzerland.
With the support of our friends at the Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association (GSTF) and the Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Lichtenstein (TGSL) and many individual helpers Tashi embarked on a tour of different towns throughout Switzerland.
The first day saw us arrive in Basel and despite the poor weather conditions we were able to inflate Tashi for a short time in front of the large crowd that had assembled.
Our next stop was in Berne and again the weather did its best to disrupt our plans but after a long wait and a lot of perseverance and momos, we were able to inflate Tashi in front of the crowd that had gathered.
Sadly our planned visit to Solothurn was washed out by the torrential rain so after a days rest we moved on to Aarau. The weather conditions were much better in Aarau allowing us to tether Tashi and to take visitors and guests in to the air. We were also joined by a snow lion!
In the late afternoon we were able to fly Tashi for the first time in Switzerland. Tashi took to the sky in the sunshine, flying over Aarau and the beautiful surrounding countryside. We would like to send a special thank you to the balloonists that supported us and took these wonderful pictures of Tashi in flight.
The next day of our tour saw us in Zurich in the morning where the sun shone and we were greeted by a big crowd of supporters, many of whom enjoyed a short “flight” in Tashi.
During the afternoon we visited Rikon, a short distance from the Tibetan Monastery, and we were very happy to be joined by some of the monks who came to see Tashi.
Our penultimate day in Switzerland saw us spend the morning in Winterthur where we were joined by the monks from the Tibet Institue in Rikon who carried out a blessing.
The final afternoon of the tour we visited Will S-G where the weather was once again perfect and we were joined by a large crowd of Tibetans and supporters. We met a wonderful 85 year old Tibetan gentleman who had fought on horseback against the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the 1950s and showed us the scars where he was shot through the arm. He saw a picture of Tashi in the newspaper and insisted that his daughter cancel everything she was doing today to bring him all the way from Zurich to Wil. He was determined to fly and it was an absolute privilege and a pleasure for us to make his dream come true.
Our final stop was in Ebnat-Kappel on a beautiful autumn morning where we were again joined by a great crowd of Tibetans, supporters, friends and even a Yak!
It’s rare that we talk about the team behind the Tibet hot air balloon but it would be impossible for us to visit Switzerland without the support and commitment of others. We were first contacted by Thomas Buchli, President of the Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association, in January 2017 who wanted to know whether we would be willing to bring Tashi to Switzerland. Over the next nine months Thomas and his wife Yangchen worked tirelessly to sort out the logistics for our Swiss tour and with the Tibetan Community in Switzerland to ensure that as many people were able to see us fly the flag as possible. Two very special people to whom we are eternally grateful. Thank you Thomas and Yangchen for all your hard work!