Good Riddance, 2020 – and Happy 2021!

What shall we say about this bizarre, long, awful year? And it started so well …

Girls dance at the opening ceremony of 31st IKF Gujarat 2020; Saputara, Gujarat, India. Photo Ragvanj Nikuni

We had such a fantastic time flying kites in Gujarat, India … we met old friends and made new ones, and the while trip was completely unforgettable … we were flying giant kites and were stars of Indian TV (though the real stars of kite flying are these girls and guys (article in Slovene)), and had speeches at the opening ceremony and prime minister Modi tweeted a photo of our kite and we took kite aerial photos of the biggest statue in the world and we fought with other kiters over the roofs of Ahmedabad Old town on the Uttarayan!

Slovenian flag at the opening ceremony – our giant wiener dog kite – festival fun (photo Ragvanj Nikuni)

getting interviewed by Indian TV – making friends – speaking at the opening ceremony

Kite aerial photo of the Statue of Unity, the tallest monument in the world (182 m), depicting the great Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Millions of kites in the air above Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Then we came home, made a couple of new kites and did some serious kite aerial archaeology, and we flew over the nuclear reactor (and because of that had a run-in with Slovenian civil aviation authority that was resolved completely in our favor!), when the pandemic struck …

NDVI image of an ancient Roman road on Ljubljana Marshes – river Ižica and the area of prehistoric Pile-dwellings, a UNESCO World Heritage site – a pile-dwelling and ancient riverbeds in different wavelengths

Flying during the first lockdown was kinda depressing; flying alone, the photos showing empty parks and playgrounds. People were getting sick and out of work and dying and losing their loved ones …

An empty playground in Tivoli park, Ljubljana

It seemed there is no hope, so we started a worldwide kite project called Strings of Hope.

Stings of Hope are basically messages of hope from people all over the world who send those messages to kiters all over the world who then lift the messages into the sky on a kite line. Those messages fly high and touch the sky and hope reaches everyone on our beautiful blue planet. And we got so many messages – from Slovenia, India, Netherlands, USA, Brazil, Spain, New Zealand, Italy, UK ….

Message of Hope from Mila, Slovenia, flown into the sky by Peter and Cisca, Netherlands

Then the lockdown was lifted and we were in the air again. in June we did a kite workshop and were filming a video for an international kids choir

Our kites fly in this video!

… and in July we organized the 4th International Kite Festival Slovenia – Vrhnika 2020 with our Croatian friends and Viktor and Maša, flying for 2 days and having great fun.

Kites up! at the 4th IKF Slovenia – Vrhnika 2020

The summer was as any other, plenty of heat and with very little wind. Then the autumn came and wind picked up and we had a couple of great KAP and kite flying sessions – like this one on the high plateau of Bloke in the golden autumn sun, this church of St. Lawrence on a hill on Ljubljana Marshes, and then we went to Castle Kalc again and we lost our dear Sławek …

Bloke in the autumn sun – church of St.Lawrence – medieval barrows and ridge and furrow field management near Castle Kalc. NDVI image taken with a lot of help from Maša.

Fly high, Sławek!

Then the pandemic struck again and we were in another lockdown … flying solo, fighting a way too strong wind, and sneaking out to the fortified church in Hrastovlje (and to a castle and another little church)

A bale of hay as an ad-hoc anchor for the crazy Rokkaku in 40+ km/h wind over Kozler’s forest; and the fortified church of Holy Trinity, Hrastovlje

In late October our kites starred in a commercial for a world-renowned brand (that we can’t yet tell you anything about).

The star: Great White Delta with golden tail flies over the wind turbine near Senožeče

We had one flight in November, two in December – catching the surprisingly blue river Ižica and a great KAP and kite flying session on the Independence day

Blue river Ižica and a kite aerial view across Ljubljana Marshes landscape part towards Ljubljana

– and here we are. 2020 has at last come to an end (no more earthquakes and other shenanigans please!), and 2021 will hopefully and surely be better (but let’s not be too harsh on 2020; year 1010 was much much worse!). It looks the old Hungarian saying – “Sure, this year was worse than the previous, but better than the coming one!” – will miss the point this time.

So we wish you all plenty of happiness, health, love, and prosperity. The thinnest string holds all our dreams up high,

Unending, aetheral, unbreakable;

A tether that secures us all together:

A string of hope.

Good winds to you all!

Leave a comment