Albuquerque, New Mexico is the top spot for hot-air ballooning.
We spent an afternoon at the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, studying their long history of flight which predates airplanes by more than 100 years. The first passengers were a rooster, a duck and a lamb – since no one was sure if breathing would be possible while ballooning!
As so often happens, we made friends in a cafe. Fast friendships often happen through common interests, and this time it was flying. One of our new friends and Deena are both pilots. They then hooked us up with a local celebrity pilot and very experienced balloon team. Even though it was a little windy, we had a chance to soar. We loved both the flying and chasing on the ground.
Ballooning is an indescribable experience. It reminded us of scuba diving because of the floating weightlessness and quietude.
Especially fun is the first flight initiation! We enjoyed the official champagne toast, although we think having us make angels in the dust while drinking our champagne without the use of our hands was not standard practice! Then they read the Balloonists’ Prayer:
May the winds welcome you with softness.
May the sun bless you with its warm hands.
May you fly so high and so well that God
joins you in laughter and sets you gently
back into the loving arms of Mother Earth.