Our week in Albuquerque was well-spent! Initially we thought it would be a little low rent and we wouldn’t like it, but we liked it better than Santa Fe on quite a few levels – namely it’s a city with a little grit and not solely a tourist destination. The highlight of the stay was the International Air Balloon Fiesta which was a safari of the senses! I would love to go back, rent an RV, and stay on the grounds so you can experience it all from your back yard (and not have to battle traffic.)
If you are time constrained, go straight to the Fairytale Phase and the Panoramic for some of the most vibrant colorful awe-inspiring pics – but they are all cool and tell the story of our Air Balloon Fiesta experience. I have to say it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done on vacation – so special, highly recommend! It will make you feel like a kid! Viva La Fiesta! Enjoy!
Sat, Oct 3
International Air Balloon Fiesta – Dawn Patrol
I admit I tricked Dave into getting up an hour earlier than we discussed, but it was the best idea of the week as it took about an hour and a half to drive 10 miles and park. It was brutal but well worth it. We arrived to the park before sunrise to enjoy the ‘Morning Patrol’, when they fire up and launch about 10 balloons in the dark. It’s pretty magical to stand right next to the balloons when they start igniting, and then it’s up up and away!
Mass Ascension Part 1 — Post Dawn Patrol: This is the beginning of a multi-hour processional of ~500 balloons being launched, some one at a time, others in groups. It was pretty magical to see balloons everywhere you turned! Keep in mind this space is massive – I think it’s about the size of 20 football fields so you have a lot of territory to cover too!
Mass Ascension Part 2 — A bit more light as the sun is rising (but not yet up over the mountains) and the Rainbow Ryders take some lucky customers for a ride of a lifetime! Dave and I will have to do it next time!
Up close and personal to a launch!! Feel the heat!
Mass Ascension Part 3 – The Fairytale Phase #1 – now the sun is up, the sky is blue, and the hot air balloons are popping against the blue and the fluffy clouds. The sensory safari continues – I felt like a kid in a fairytale book (especially given the number of unique cartoon-like balloons being launched) – very surreal!
Mass Ascension Part 3 – The Fairytale Phase #2 – the incredible journey continues, the crowds increase as we make our way towards the entrance and the final morning launches!
Mass Ascension Part 4 – Panoramic View! We walked up the hill on the east side of the fields for an incredible panoramic view of the action!
Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum – A few years ago Missy Anderson (of the Anderson Abruzzo museum) worked for me in my previous role in Consulting learning at Deloitte. Her dad Kris and granddad Maxie were pioneers in the field – achieving the first successful transcontinental air balloon flight!