Fall Road Trip Day 4 Albuquerque

Sunday, November 10   Day 4       Albuquerque

The day begins at 5:20 AM in the hotel lobby catching our transportation to the hot air balloon ride! I am so excited, as this is my first hot air balloon ride. And a little apprehensive too since I am not all that fond of heights.

 Rainbow Ryders 

We travel to the headquarters of Rainbow Ryders. Besides our group, there are lots of other sleepy people who are ascending to the skies today. It’s pretty chilly out and I am glad I have brought layers of clothes and my gloves and hoodie. 

After signing our waivers, we are divided into groups to go with our pilot out to the launching area. Twelve of us are going with Troy. Brenna says he is the best and she hasn’t steered us wrong yet. 

Group in The Balloon Basket
Our Group in The Balloon Basket

It takes about half an hour for the trailer to be unloaded and the fans turned on to blow up the balloon, but finally, it is upright and we can climb in. We are closely packed in with six of us on each side of the basket. Troy gives us some instructions and information on how it all works-the balloon can be maneuvered up and down with blasts from the gas, but it is at the mercy of the winds to go in other directions.

We gently lift off. About 6 other balloons are taking off from this launching area as well. Troy explains we will see other balloons at all altitudes and even if they look quite low, it is intentional. As we get higher, we can see the Rio Grande River and houses and fields stretch out below us.

View from the hot air balloon

For an hour, we go this way and that. Troy said we don’t feel the wind because we are traveling with it. It’s peaceful and quiet except for the bursts when the gas is turned on. Constant communication with the ground yields information about wind direction and speed.

We land on a golf course, all leaning to one side so the basket stays upright and doesn’t tip over.

As the chase crew take over and deflate the balloon. We have the celebratory champagne. 

Celebratory Champagne
Celebratory Champagne

Brunch at CAMPO

Fortified with Champagne, we head to brunch at CAMPO at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm. Yes, I know I told you about this restaurant in Day 2. How lucky I was to get to eat here twice! 

Campo Restaurant at Los Poblanos, Albuquerque, NM

I was unaware of the smaller dining room off to the side of the kitchen. Our large group had a table down the length of the room and enjoyed delicious hot chocolate and coffee and pastries.

CAMPO Small Dining Room
CAMPO Small Dining Room

I began to get smart about how much I could eat and opted for a half serving Eggs Benedict.

CAMPO Eggs Benedict
CAMPO Eggs Benedict

The hearty herb crusted potatoes were seasoned with a blend from the farm shop. I bought some of this last summer and love using it. It even has lavender in it!

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and Pueblo Harvest

Having survived the morning and eaten well, it’s time to go get some culture! Yesterday, we passed by the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on our city tour and today we get to visit. There are 19 Indian Pueblos in New Mexico. The Center showcases the history, culture, and art with a permanent collection housing thousands of rare artifacts and works of art. Exhibits of historic and contemporary Pueblo pottery, as well as baskets, weaving, painting, murals, jewelry, and photographs, are on display. 

My favorite performance was the Zuni Olla Maidens who balance large ceramic bowls while dancing. This tradition has long been part of the Zuni culture. 

Zuni Olla Maidens

The sun has warmed the day. As we arrive, in the courtyard there is a Cachini Dance Group featuring Zuni Indians at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Music and singing accompany the dancers. 

Zuni Dancer

After the performances, we spent time in the exhibits. Touching stories of Indian women and the challenges and the contributions they’ve made were chronicled with pictures. 

Then we sampled Pre-Contact menu items from Pueblo Harvest. This is a full-service restaurant, open all day with Native foods from times of pre-European-contact through contemporary favorites. Most ingredients are sourced from the Pueblos of New Mexico. Most of us were still full from brunch, but we sampled the Blue Corn Onion Rings

Blue Corn Onion Rings
Blue Corn Onion Rings

And the Golden Fried Amaranth and Corn Fritters. 

Golden Fried Amaranth and Corn Fritters
Golden Fried Amaranth and Corn Fritters

Back to the hotel for a short break from activities. I used this opportunity to take a nice dip in the Chaco spa outside by the pool. The hot bubbly water was just perfect. I think my muscles were a little sore from yesterday’s bike ride. Ahhhhh……

Hotel Chaco’s Craf+ed Tasting  Room

Late afternoon, we visited to the brand-new Craf+ed tasting room within Hotel Chaco.  Open every afternoon for wine tastings, it is a great way to sample the wines and spirits being made in New Mexico.

Our bartender served a nice flight white and red New Mexico wines, giving us more appreciation for the varieties grown here. 

Gruet Sauvage Hotel Chaco’s Craf+ed Tasting Room
Gruet Sauvage at Hotel Chaco’s Craf+ed Tasting Room

The sun was getting ready to set, so we made our way up to the 5th floor, where the wrap-around roof-top patio that offered stunning views of the city and the Sandia Mountains. The Spanish word for watermelon, Sandia, describes the bright pink that the mountains turn at sunset. The full moon was rising over the mountains as the sunset, making for a glorious backdrop to enjoy our happy hour!

Sandia Mountains pink sunset
Sandia Mountains pink sunset

We went back downstairs to finish our tasting. After the wines, we were poured a spirit—Wheelers Gin—to finish with. The gin is infused with juniper and sage. It was quite tasty

Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque

Did you know that Albuquerque is the Flamenco capital of the US?  We walked next door to Hotel Albuquerque, directly west of Hotel Chaco. Here, the Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque  performances are held on weekends.  Traditional Spanish tapas and more fine wine were passed around. The lights went out and the stage lit up with the beauty and excitement of the music, songs and Flamenco dancing.

Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque
Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque

MÁS Tapas y Vino

 Now it was time for dinner!

We were hosted at MÁS Tapas y Vino within Hotel Andaluz.

I was a party-pooper and just could not eat or drink anymore, so I offered my apologies but went back to my comfy room. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *