I recently was able to travel to Albuquerque for a conference. I knew that the balloon fiesta was also at this time so I talked my husband into tagging along.
While I conferenced for two days he explored - places like the museum of nuclear science - thatI really had no interest in. Each day we met for lunch - trying out small local cafes with really good authentic NM food.
On Saturday we were up bright and early to drive to the balloon fiesta - arriving at 4:30 am! It was cold and we had not packed enough warm clothes. But once the balloons started firing up we were so enchanted by the sights that we forgot our toes were numb. I had never been to a balloon fest before so didn't know what to expect. I think this one is different because they let you out on the field amongst the balloons - you could literally touch them as they inflated and stand right under them as they went up. It was amazing! They started firing up while still dark and because of the flames they lit up against the dark sky - it was beautiful!
Soon they all started lifting up - about 700 in all. It took several hours - row after row lifting up, filling the bright blue skies with color.
My favorite picture of the day was taken from directly under a balloon.
After they were all up we left and headed to Santa Fe for the day. Visited several historical sights and browsed the shops.
The rest of the weekend included hiking, visiting more historical sites, a winery - with really good reds, eating some great local foods. One place we went to was to the top of the Sandia Crest - nearly 11,000 feet above sea level. the sights were fabulous. We walked the trail along the top for a bit - but the posted rattlesnake sightings made me nervous.
We ended the trip with a lovely dinner in a very beautiful, romantic setting - including spanish guitar music.
The trip was wonderful - except for the flight delays. we traveled through Chicago - booking flights long before the fire there that affected the air traffic control area. The night before we left we received a text saying our flight from Chicago to Albuquerque was cancelled. We scrambled to rebook - now with 2 layovers and a much earlier flight start. We were up at 3 am only to find our original flight was back on. We rescheduled again - luckily because one of the other flights ended up being 4 hours late - meaning we would have missed a connecting light in Dallas. On the way home - delayed flights again - despite being 2 weeks out from the fire issues. Everything was backed up. And while we waited for our flight from Chicago to home we saw tons of emergency vehicles. Found out the next day it was from arresting a young man from the area headed off to join ISIS. Between that and the ebola news traveling made me a bit nervous.
All in all it was a lovely place to visit - landscapes so very different from PA. I would highly recommend the balloon fiesta.