Everyone loves hot air balloons. As a crass generalization, I’d say it’s pretty good considering the smiles that pop up when people see them. I mean, who doesn’t love hearing the roar of the burners, seeing the sky filled with every color imaginable, and who doesn’t tremble in fear when a cathedral swoops down on you like a bird of prey or the Dark Lord of the Sith is breathing heavily through his mouth?
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is probably the most photographed event in the world, and with over 600 balloons launching, who’s going to argue. This event is also, perhaps, the only event that gets cancelled or postponed on a regular basis. I was able to attend for three days and two of the six events were cancelled or postponed due to weather. It’s frustrating considering my schedule, but not unexpected. I’ve attended the Balloon Fiesta every year until probably my freshman year in college. It’s one of those things that you see so many times, it kind of loses the magic. Except, for the balloon fiesta, it sort of doesn’t. You didn’t have to attend the actual field events to enjoy it. All you had to do was look out of your window and there they were. The frustrating part is when you realize you’re stuck inside while it’s going on.
While in town, I also had the opportunity to check out the Sandia Peak Tramway, the world’s longest aerial tramway. I’d never gotten around to it while I lived in Albuquerque. It’s just one of those things. In the winter, it’s great because it provides direct access to the ski slope, and the rest of the year, it’ opens up the mountain to hikers and mountain bikers. Unfortunately, no balloons were up by the time I started ascending, which again was expected as I was heading up early afternoon.
Old town Albuquerque is always a blast to visit. Being the nerd that I am, this is where I hung out growing up. Besides being the old historic city plaza, this is where the art, history, natural history, and museums are located and the zoo is not far off. The rain made for some interesting challenges, but the ristras (made with actual chili you pozers!) always cheers you up.