Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Day 1: Our destination includes one of the most photographed annual events in the United States. The startling colors of the balloons silhouetted against the blue desert sky are a treat to the eye. Today we travel through Oklahoma to arrive in Amarillo in the panhandle of Texas. Night in Amarillo.
2: This morning we continue west to Albuquerque. A local guide meets us in Old Town, the original center of the city which was founded in the early part of the 18th century. Following a walking tour we enjoy an included lunch. Next we visit the Pueblo Cultural Center which is dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of the Pueblo Indian culture. In the late afternoon we arrive at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Grounds for the evening’s Special Shapes Rodeo. Next two nights in Albuquerque.
3: An early morning start gets us to the Sandia Aerial Tram, one of the world’s longest free-span cable tramways. The 2.7 mile ride brings us to an elevation of 10,378 feet above sea level. Here we marvel at the thousands of square miles of breathtaking scenery and panoramic views in all directions. Next we drive north to Santa Fe. On arrival we take a walking tour of historic Santa Fe visiting such points as the historic Plaza, St. Francis Cathedral, the Loretto Chapel with its “miraculous” stairway, and the San Miguel Mission. Santa Fe is the heart and soul of the Southwest and is synonymous with all the best the region has to offer. Lunch is included and there is time to explore the shops and galleries around the Plaza. Later we travel back to Albuquerque for the night.
4: We rise early this morning to head to the Balloon Fiesta grounds for the mass ascension. Balloons are everywhere today as hundreds of balloons rise in the early morning from Fiesta Park. The multi-colored globes and unusual shapes are truly spectacular. This morning after the balloons have disappeared we head east to our last night in Shamrock, TX.
5: Today we remember the sights and flavors of the southwest as we return home.