Saturday, October 28, 2017 / Albuquerque, NM, USA

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Let me start this by saying, if you've never been to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, or any Hot Air Balloon event, you must do so.. NOW! 

For Connors birthday a few weekends ago we took a road trip to New Mexico, specifically to see the Hot Air Balloons. Lubbock is about 5 hours from Albuquerque so we left early on Friday morning and stayed in Santa Fe, NM Friday night.
When we arrived around 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon and after driving for the past five hours the "hanger" was real. So our first mission was to find something to eat. We were already in the Plaza District of Santa Fe, so finding something was incredibly easy. We went to a well reviewed restaurant called The Shed and do to popularity there was an hour wait, but that didn't stop us from putting our name on the list and walking around downtown as the time passed. There was a ton of culture on this on the town "square" and a group of New Mexicans, singing old new Mexican songs. I have no idea what they were saying.. but it sounded cool. 

After getting our bellies full of enchiladas and green & red chiles (aka christmas) we went on a little hike.
Well at least I thought we were going to go on a LITTLE hike, Connor obviously had something a little different in mind. Four miles later we were at the very top of a mountain, on a rock that Connor led us through barbed wire, cactus, rocks and fallen limbs to get to. A pain, but rewarding.
We stayed in Santa Fe Friday night to save a little bit, well over $100. So the next morning both of our alarms went off at 3:45am (brutal awakening) and then we were on our way to Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta!

Tip #1- If you stay in Albuquerque or anywhere for that matter, allow at least an extra 30 minutes to an hour to get to the actual balloon festival site. It took us right at 35 minutes to travel 3 miles because of the enormous amount of people trying to get to the same place we were.
We also saved a few minutes by going down a blocked off road and may or may not have risked getting a ticket from the six cops sitting at the end of that closed off road.. But that's a story for another time. 

Tip #2- Go ahead and buy general admission tickets to the Balloon Fiesta to save the hassle at 5am. 

As we walked up it was still dark, the air was chill, and in the distance we could see 10+ of the very first balloons lighting their flames. 
In 3... 2... 1... The first set of balloons took off, and then the next 10, and the next. It was absolutely beautiful.

We ate lunch at Sandiago's Grill and planned on taking a tram ride to the top of Sandia Peak but the wait was extremely long so we didn't get to do that, this time.
 To finish the day we let Billy Currington serenade us at the concert at the balloon fiesta and then got in the car and back to Lubbock we went. We had the absolute best weekend and are already planning to go next year, you should too!

Ps- I pieced together a small travel video from this weekend at the bottom of the post, scroll down to watch it!

See you next year Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta,

xx, braylea 

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