Five great reasons to travel to New Mexico

In 2015, Troy Bradley flew across the Pacific with a colleague in a hot air balloon, from Japan to Mexico.

Five great reasons to travel to New Mexico

In 2015, Troy Bradley flew across the Pacific with a colleague in a hot air balloon, from Japan to Mexico. He broke a record from 1971 and secured an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.

Even today, Bradley, who works as a flying tourist guide, still likes to talk about this adventurous trip when he takes paying guests into the basket. And that's not a few in New Mexico, because the Land of Enchantment is a house number among balloonists.

The world's largest balloon festival takes place there every October and this year for the 50th time. At first there were only 13, but now 650 professional pilots compete against each other at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The sky is then littered with colorful dots. This balloon backdrop is one of the most photographed motifs in New Mexico.

The festival lasts nine days, and every morning the big “Mass Ascension” can be admired, the balloons taking off. You can just go to the field and talk to teams and pilots. Bradley, who works for Rainbow Ryders, the largest and oldest agency offering balloon rides, allows up to 12 people in the basket.

Admittedly, you have to be free of fear of heights for such a trip. But the views over the city of Albuquerque and surrounding areas are spectacular. If you book a balloon ride, you have to get up early and expect that it won't work out: if the wind is too strong, a ride will sometimes be cancelled.

Info: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: balloonfiesta.com; A ride with Rainbow Ryders costs the equivalent of 187 euros: rainbowryders.com

The desert sand sweeps across the small square of San Ildefonso, the village church built of brown-red clay stands on the remains of an old mission church. That alone tells a lot about the history of the place, about half an hour's drive north of Santa Fe. If you want to hear them, visit the small village museum. It displays local art and black pottery that helped the pueblo weather the economic downturn of the 1920s.

Pueblo means village in Spanish, but Pueblos are also the names of the settlements of the Pueblo culture, which includes the tribes and communities of the Acoma, Taos, Tesuque, Zia and Tewa, who live in San Ildefonso.

San Ildefonso, where the Native Americans settled as early as the 14th century, is one of the few pueblos that are already open to tourism again. Many other of the settlements, including the well-known Taos Pueblo, which is even considered the oldest continuously inhabited place in the USA, are still closed due to the pandemic.

While visitors can interact directly with the artists in San Ildefonso, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque offers those interested a comprehensive overview of Pueblo culture. Visitors delve deeply into Native American culture through artifacts, clothing displays, information about eating habits and music.

The adobe construction method is architecturally interesting: the buildings were constructed using only water, clay and sand – in New Mexico, but also in Arizona and Mexico, where Pueblo peoples settled. There used to be around 90 villages, today around 30 are still inhabited.

The turbulent times began in the 16th century, when the Spaniards and later the British settlers came, took land by force, robbed mineral resources and evangelised. In New Mexico, many Native Americans did not make a peace treaty with the Spanish until the 18th century.

Even today, many natives of New Mexico speak Spanish and have surnames such as Martínez and García. Linguists are still puzzled by the fact that the tribes all speak different languages ​​and can hardly communicate with each other.

Information: San Ildefonso Pueblo: sanipueblo.org; Taos Pueblo: taospueblo.com; Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque: www.indianpueblo.org

Frank Sandoval sits at the wheel of a mobile home in proper style, and then the guide sets off for three hours into the world of one of the most popular television series of all. The fact that the tour of Albuquerque takes place in a recreational vehicle is part of the concept. Because Walter White, the main character of the series "Breaking Bad", which was on everyone's lips ten years ago, spent a lot of tragic time in an old RV.

The series tells the story of chemistry teacher Walter White, who is suffering from cancer, and his student Jesse Pinkman, who get caught up in a maelstrom of drugs and violence. Sandoval drives his guests to well-known film locations: they pass Walter White's house, which was fenced off because of the many visitors.

Then the house of Jesse Pinkman is controlled. The passengers also get to see the place of money laundering, a car wash, as well as the fast food restaurant "Los Pollos Hermanos", which is actually called "Twisters".

Fueled primarily by Breaking Bad, Albuquerque has developed into a movie location. "A lot of action and science fiction films have been made here," says Sandoval. "Berquewood" is already being called New Mexico's largest city with almost a million people. This is also reflected in film tourism, because other tours are offered, such as a "ghost tour" to the locations of horror and mystery films.

Info: "Breaking Bad" tours with Frank Sandoval cost just under 20 euros per person. You can also see locations from the follow-up series "Better Call Saul": breakingbadrvtours.com

There are dunes and deserts in many places in the world, but many will not have seen a landscape like this: White Sands National Park, a three-hour drive south of Albuquerque, welcomes visitors as if they were on another planet.

Endless sand runs through the area on an area twice the size of Munich. And if you keep in mind that the dunes once formed the seabed millions of years ago, the amazement doesn't exactly diminish.

We wouldn't be in the USA if you couldn't experience this bizarre landscape with a motorized vehicle. A twelve kilometer long Dunes Drive leads right into the middle. Plastic boards, with which you can whiz down the dunes, promise more physical contact. You can buy them in the tourist shop at the entrance.

Possibly even more interesting: discover the bizarre world of sand on marked paths. Every evening in summer, when the temperature is more pleasant and the photo light is great, there is a guided tour at 6:30 p.m. Rangers explain the origin story as well as flora and fauna, which include yuccas, miracle flowers or coyotes, earless lizards and rattlesnakes.

Info: With a few exceptions, White Sands National Park is open daily from 7 a.m. and closes between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. depending on the season. The entrance fee per car is just under 25 euros, regardless of the number of people: nps.gov/whsa/index.htm

The trip to Abiquiú in northern New Mexico is worthwhile just for the view over the plain. You can see far across the country and it could almost be the work of Georgia O'Keeffe herself, residing in the living room with the spectacular view.

Located in Abiquiú, a one-hour drive from Santa Fe, is the home and workhouse of the well-known US painter, who died in New Mexico in 1986. It was built in a minimalist adobe style and is open to tourists today. A guided tour through her house in 90 minutes provides insights into private spheres. Because here, as well as on a farm called "Ghost Ranch" 20 kilometers further north, she lived largely secluded.

The artist, also known as the “Mother of American Modernism” in the USA, was born in Wisconsin. She came to the southern United States in 1948 after the death of her longtime partner, the photographer and patron Alfred Stieglitz. In the land of delight she painted her landscapes, including large-format floral motifs.

The largest private collection of her works is housed in the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Another building will soon be opened.

Info: Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe: okeeffemuseum.org. There you can also book the Abiquiú Home for 55 euros per person

Arrival: For example with KLM/Air France via Amsterdam or Paris; with Lufthansa via Houston to Albuquerque. The best time to travel is in spring and autumn. It can get as hot as 40 degrees in Albuquerque in the summer.

Accommodation: In Albuquerque in the “Hotel Andaluz” (hilton.com/en/locations/usa/new-mexico/) or in the “Hotel Parq Central” (hotelparqcentral.com), double rooms from around 160 euros each. Ten minutes outside of Santa Fe is the beautiful but expensive five-star Bishop's Lodge (aubergeresorts.com/bishopslodge/), double rooms from 900 euros.

For those interested in art: In the summer (August 17) in Santa Fe, the capital, the big "Indian Market" will take place again, an art fair that extends over the entire city. The "Canyon Road" with over 100 galleries is also worthwhile in Santa Fe.

Information: newmexico.org

Participation in the trip was supported by New Mexico Tourism. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at axelspringer.com/de/Werte/downloads.

After the ground staff strike, Lufthansa is back to normal operations. But the next strike is already looming, this time by the pilots' union. What to do if the flight is cancelled? "If no replacement flight is provided, you can remedy the situation yourself," says Kay Rodegra, a lawyer specializing in travel law.

Source: WORLD

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