Travel – The 2014 International Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jackalope Mercado in Santa Fe and Annapurna Cafe

Have you ever been so close to a hot air balloon that you could feel the heat of the flame? I was able to be that close last weekend at the 2014 Albuquerque International Balloon Festival. This eight day event included hundreds of hot air balloons, a music festival, an art and craft fair, and fun exhibits about the history of ballooning.

While I enjoyed the two days I was there, unfortunately those times the balloons were not able to take to the skies. We did see many balloons inflate, as well as a partial balloon glow which was a nice concession. My video recorder had some technical issues, but I was able to take photos to share.

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Labeled the “Land of Enchantment” there is so much to do and see in New Mexico. Full of culture, art, history, and recreation, I highly recommend visiting the northern part of the state. Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and Dixon are my favorite towns. Sandia peak is my favorite place to hike and the Rio Grande is a beautiful walk.

My sister and I took the new Rail Runner train from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. It’s a beautiful hour long ride with the mountains to the east and green lush trees everywhere. Part of the train route goes through reservations that don’t allow photography, but I was able to get a shot of the magnificent Sandia mountain range on our return trip. While in Santa Fe we stopped at the Jacakalope Mercado, one of my favorite tourist “traps” full of beautiful art, handicrafts, and gifts. After lunch, and a scenic walk with a good friend, we had a wonderful visit.

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A hidden gem in Albuquerque is a Annapurna World Vegetarian Cafe, featuring Ayurvedic Cuisine & Chai. Made from scratch, not a sweet syrup or powder they have some of the best chai I’ve tasted yet. I also ate a delicious slice of sweet potato pie. The cafe had a cozy feel with beautiful decorations and lovely hanging plants. On the side of the building was a giant mural of Ganesh The location I went to was on the corner of Silver Ave. and Yale, not far from the University of New Mexico.

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