Balloons fill the sky at the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. (Courtesy of Anne Barber)

Our readers share tales of their rambles around the world.

Who: Anne Barber (author of this account) and Pattie and Argyle Lewis, all of Alexandria; Mary Jo and Dick Reding of Oakdale, Minn.

Where, when, why: We went to Albuquerque to visit our friends Terra and Jeff Everett, who moved there from Northern Virginia three years ago. We chose Oct. 9-15 as the dates for our visit to overlap with the International Balloon Fiesta.

Highlights and high points: The Enchanted Sunrise was an appropriate name for a festival that featured the mass ascensions of several hundred balloons. The day we went, we had balloons flying over our heads for two hours. One landed near us, and Dick and Terra volunteered to help put the balloon back into its bag. At the count of three, all the ladies sat down on the bag to flatten it — so much fun. In the evening, the “balloon glow” had the balloons tethered to the ground so that we could view them close up and talk to the crews. A fireworks display ended a glorious evening.

Cultural connection or disconnect: The federal government shutdown canceled our visit to the Petroglyph National Monument. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that Boca Negra Canyon, which the city administers, also has petroglyphs that we could have seen. But all was not lost, as we went to the Albuquerque Museum, in front of which stands a large sculpture of settlers and conquistadors who came to the area in 1598. Mary Jo, an avid genealogist, read the plaques and found the name Lujan. This was Terra Lujan Everett’s ancestor, who came to America from the Canary Islands. Beats my ancestor, who arrived in 1632!

Biggest laugh or cry: Getting to the field where the balloons were tethered was a challenge because of the hundreds of other automobiles. We tried to ease into a turning lane, but two men weren’t giving us space. One yelled out, “Where are you from?” I replied “Tennessee,” my home state. He asked whether the University of Tennessee is in the SEC. I said yes, but the team has lost most of its games. The men laughed and let us get in front of them. Go, Vols!

How unexpected: Our host, Jeff, who works at the Sandia National Laboratories, offered to take us to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. After we watched a 45-minute film on the history of the atom bomb, Jeff guided us through the museum, enhancing all the information with his expert knowledge. This is why you need to take advantage of your local host.

Fondest memento or memory: We would all agree that our greatest memory is getting all of us together after a three-year separation. We’re planning our next trip together, only three hours from Northern Virginia. We realized how great it is to have companions who enjoy being together with no disagreements and so much fun.

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