The Tramway in Albuquerque, New Mexico
The Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival
Sightseeing, Arts and Culture in Albuquerque
We all know, that holidays and vacations are the best, when they are spent with your family and friends. Albuquerque, New Mexico can provide you with an excellent getaway to make your family vacation memorable. It is a great place for an adventurous and luxurious vacation, where you can experience the richness and diversity of the local culture, and keep yourself busy with a variety of indoor and outdoor activities.
This place is loaded with events throughout the whole year, which include theater performances, art exhibits, cultural festivals, craft fairs, sporting events and a whole lot more. If you came to have your vacation in the month of October, the yearly Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a must see. Just sit back and enjoy the awesome display of hundreds of hot air balloons covering the sky. The festival has been around for 41 years and counting, and it has made Albuquerque known as the world’s ballooning capital. Hot air ballooning is not limited to the days of the Balloon Fiesta though. You can sign up for air-balloon year round and take trips to various scenic sites, such as the valley of Rio Grande.
Enjoy the scenic sites of the town, while taking serene walks by the Bosque Trail, Albuquerque’s Historic Old Town and make sure to make a stop at the famous Petroglyph National Museum. Albuquerque serves as home to 17 museums, and visiting them can be a great educational indoor activity, both your family and your friends can enjoy. Your vacation in Albuquerque is not complete without visiting it’s renowned Rattlesnake Museum, with the world’s known largest live collection of rattlesnake species, ranging from the miniscule to the gigantic ones. Albuquerque’s science center, the Explora, is where you and your kids can play with toys and learn how things work through interactive exhibits.
If you feel more adventurous during your vacation, you may also consider a hiking trip on the breathtaking geological formations, surrounding the city. It could give you the opportunity to discover ancient ruins, petrified woods and even some Native-American petroglyphs. The hot spots for hiking are the Manzano Mountains, El Malpias, La Luz trail and Albuquerque’s Santa Fe National Forest, whereas the Sandia Mountain Trails are the best spots for biking.
You might even come across Albuquerque’s wildlife, which include deer, hawks, roadrunners as well as other animals. Biking is also a sought after activity in Albuquerque.
One of the famous spots for biking is the Sandia Mountain foothill. Other outdoor activities offered in and around the town include geocaching, jeep tour, rock climbing and bird watching, skiing, snowboarding and even fishing. Tingley Beach in Albuquerque provides one of the greatest saltwater fishing getaways on your vacation. There are a lot of other great sites for fishing in Albuquerque, as well, which include the Shady Lakes and Chama Rivers and other reservoirs like Pecos and Jemez.
If you feel like taking a travel vacation in cold winter months, you would surely enjoy Sandia Peak Ski Area, right at the back slopes of the Sandia Mountain, famous for it’s snowboarding and skiing trails. You can travel to the park, using the Sandia Peak Tram and enjoy the views below you. There’s a plethora of cafés and rental shops, catering to the visitors’ needs in Albuquerque’s Sandia Peak Ski Area.
Travelers and visitors also come to Albuquerque for its unique and sumptuous dishes which reflect its Native American roots and heritage. Their dishes display some popular Native American ingredients, such as squash and blue corn, mixed with classic Mexican and European flavors, featuring wheat flour, chili peppers or pork. Heavenly dishes, such as stacked enchiladas with roasted green chilies, the popular breakfast burrito or stuffed sopaipillas are a definitely a
You cannot travel to Albuquerque without sampling its delicious wine, which is said to be essential in having a healthy diet. The Valley of Rio Grande is known to be one of the oldest wine-regions in the United States. Local beers and wines are available in most of the city’s bars and restaurants.
Alaska by Train - Spencer Glacier
Alaska by Train
Having grown sick of the road trip mentality, or travelling by air constantly, we decided it was time to take the largest state in the USA by a much more charming way of travel – by train.
Having discovered that railways play a significant part in the history of Alaska, it felt only right to see the state via train.
One of the things we were so desperate to see was the Railbelt, which is a huge line of cities, villages and towns all located along the way through one, huge railway track. Although once the hub of travel and transport, the use of highways has slowly seen the railway become less popular in Alaska, but it still offers one of the most breathtaking views you are likely to come across.
One of the most magical things about this place is despite the world falling into a skyscraper-style future, where everybody wears a suit and talks on mobile phones, it still holds that old school humanity about it. Wildlife and woods still far outrank the people of Alaska, and it really is like the 20th century was just a passing of time, not the modernization of man here in Alaska.
Along one of the rails on the Railway Belt, we came across a huge lake and were informed that back in the day, this was the place where up to thirty thousand gold diggers were here, trying to hit the jackpot. 30,000 people, in tents, in the arctic conditions of Alaska just shows what life was like for generations not as lucky as us.
It gives you a great sense of not only appreciation for your own life, but if you can just imagine for a second all the tents and diggers, it creates the starkest of images in your head, and really helps to complete the view of this particular lake.
Another great sight that, on a clear day, will blow you away is Denali Park. You can see it as you travel along the railway lines, and it is the largest peak in the whole of North America. It really has to be seen to believed – it is one of the most outstanding sights in the whole of America.
Should you be looking for places to stop off at, or a starting point for your rail journey, then we recommend starting at Anchorage. It offers you a starting point to visit Fairbanks, Denali, Seward and many other cities and towns all by rail.
Of course, driving is an option, but you miss the opportunity to take in all of the scenery and just the outstanding way that life unfolds around you as you travel through the glaciers.
Taking a public railway option always allows you to hear the tales and stories directly from the narrators on-board, who know so much about the wildlife they can answer all of your questions and genuinely love talking about Alaska.
There are two main roads within the Alaskan train line, and that is the Alaska Railroad, and the White Pass & Yukon Route. The White Pass & Yukon Route takes you from Skagway, all the way to Fraser. Now a scenic route, a century ago it was the hub of the gold trade transportation.
Now, it takes you along all of the most impressive scenery it has to show, as well as allowing you to really appreciate how hard the gold rush was on those who were involved, as you drive by delicate terrain and ferocious beasts.
The Alaska Railroad takes you through pretty much the whole state, and gives you a very unique travelling situation with its famous dome-roofed trains. As the rest of the USA, or Canada, is accessible via the rail in Alaska, you don't need to worry about taking yourself out of the state by going on the wrong train. Everywhere leads to somewhere in Alaska.
Both these rail routes, however, take you places you cannot get to on road. They make frequent stops for you to go in and see the local towns, do a spot of fishing or hiking, as well as access to the national park of Alaska, with the train in Denali taking you right there to visit one of the most iconic parts of this state.
Although the trains can become a little expensive as you take more of them, railways offer you the chance to see parts of Alaska that others never have, and is certainly worth the little extra.
Alaska is a country where, the more you put in to your journey, the more you will get out of it. If you just stay in the one town and don't look to expand and see he entire state, then you will not enjoy it as much.
The best part about it is that you do not even have to bring food! Virtually all the drains come with buffets where you can fuel yourselves before more travel and sight-seeing, making the journey much easier to cope with as you get access to some great treats.
Well on it's way to becoming the ideal location for railway lovers, due to the length, cost and variety of destinations, Alaska offers much more than ice fishing or looking at hills. There is some very unique scenery which is impossible not to be astounded by, even those of us who proclaim to not care about scenery will find themselves in awe. The sheer depth of the mountains, with the white snow and outstanding skies completing the view, makes for a once in a lifetime viewing. Overall, the train journeys of Alaska make up a huge part of the journey – but we guarantee you will not be bored along the way.
What is Home Swap?
Does it sound strange to you that people regularly swap homes? A modern fad you say? Well, what if we told you that home swapping began as far as 1950. Back then, it was used as a powerful way for others to meet each other and as a means of social interaction. Advertised privately through little booklets back then, now you can do the entire process through a host of online websites.
Companies who specialize in home exchange have started to appear in the last ten to fifteen years. These companies give you the chance to home swap, as well as travel and see a completely new area of the world. The main idea is to give you a new zest for life – to see things from a whole new perspective, as well as to meet new people and just to see a whole new part of the world, in general.
Pretty much, you simply swap homes with somebody – you move into their house, they move into yours. Obviously, you need to swap with someone who can meet your needs – facilities, bedrooms, working conditions etc – but this is a great way to save money on vacation. You do not need to pay for accommodation, which can regularly be one of the most expensive parts of a holiday. Basically you both get a great vacation out of it, while saving money, and seeing a whole new culture and meeting new people and being able to see life from a completely different point of view.
The concept of the entire process has been made famous by building trust. The idea of leaving your home in the hands of a complete stranger is obviously daunting – what if important things go missing or they cause a riot and bring trouble to your house? However, it’s a great way to learn to trust strangers and also to prove that you are trustworthy yourself. Generally, the exchange happens on the same day, but sometimes in a slightly alternate route, is that these people will put you up for two weeks, and then you do the same.
Not only do you have to learn to live with a complete stranger, but you have to learn how to tolerate somebody you barely know and the habits they have. In a home swap, you have to make everything as clear as possible regarding culture differences, help about the house, what is cool and what is not on. It’s all very exciting, meeting new people and learning how they live life and also learning the hardships and bonuses of a completely different family’s life.
Believing that when you are on vacation, taking care of their home, that they are going to take care of your home too is vital. You will not enjoy the experience if you are full of paranoia, hoping that they are not damaging the property or taking liberties with your neighbors.
Another form of home exchange is hospitality. This means that you visit a country you have always wanted to travel to and visit, and live in an unknown city. This means you need to learn fast about the cultural differences, and how to live life in that country. It can be an extremely hard thing to do, but it is a great way to learn how life has progressed for you. This means you get to meet the people they socialize with and love, meaning you can create whole new social circles for yourself, seeing how other groups of friends enjoy each other’s company.
This obviously takes out the fear of a stranger making a mess of your home, allowing you enjoy your new culture while paying your way. It’s an extremely exciting way to travel and go on vacation, and give you a completely new outlook on life.
Home exchange is something which can give you a new lease of life. Bored in work? Bored in the same old house? Can’t afford a holiday? This gives you an escape from the usual connotations of money and hardship. It allows you to break free and enjoy the company of potential new best friends, as well as taking in something you usually would not be able to afford – an entire new way of life.
Home swap in the United States has gained huge momentum since the turn of the century, because more Americans have to travel regularly across the state for work, and start to accrue huge hotel bills. Also with the inflation rates causing the house market to become increasingly difficult to get involved in, it gives young Americans a chance to see the entire country, live an exciting life and meet new people.
Work around the area you live in, doing tasks and helping around, pa your way and see local landmarks and just enjoy the fact that you are currently not tied down by the 9-5 of work life.
There are a number of websites out there which offer home swap services all across the United States. This makes it easy to get in touch with a like-minded individual and agree to swap homes. It gives you a break from the same old story, but vigilance is still required with home swapping.
Before you dive straight in with one of these companies – do your research. Check out the background, the reviews online, and even try and get a meeting with the owner of the company to get some final details. Although home exchange is great, there are unscrupulous individuals who use home exchange for fraudulent purposes.
You should never exchange money or details until you have received all the necessary proof you require to know that the situation is going to work out fine. However, don’t let this put you off – there are far more adventurous, reputable companies and people out there who are looking to home swap than sinister individuals looking to rip you off.
Give it a try – we guarantee that you will thoroughly enjoy the experience!