Up, Up and Away!

Up, up and away! I went to the Albuquerque, New Mexico balloon festival and to ride in a balloon! Not the kind you buy at the store, but a giant kind that can hold 4-6 people in the basket. The balloon part is called an envelope, and the basket beneath it is called a gondola. Hot air fills the envelope, and before long we were drifting through the quiet air, looking at the people and scenery below. Most balloons launch in the early morning, when there is little wind so landing is not as bumpy. A chase crew follows the balloon and picks up the people and equipment when the balloon lands. After my ride, there was a balloon fiesta where 600 balloons went sailing through the air at the same time, creating a rainbow of colors in the blue sky. Purrs, Gulliver

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Cappadocia, Turkey

I am at a balloon festival in Turkey! Not all of Turkey looks like this landscape; I thought for a while that this must be what the moon looks like up close! The stone is from very old volcano ash and is called tuff, which is soft and easily carved.  What is really interesting is that there are whole cities underneath the ground that people built 2,400 years ago to escape wars and raids from outsiders.  Tunnels linked the cities just like a road would above ground, and there could be as many as eight stories of rooms going down into the earth. Now, some of those places are museums, some have been turned into hotels and some are still home to local people!  Above ground, the wind and water have carved the tuff into magical shapes like cones, needles and bowls.  We had fun imagining a fantasy world populated by aliens living among the rocks.  What would they look like, what would they wear, and how would they communicate with each other – talking, reading minds, hand gestures?  I hope they would be friendly to cats!  Purrs, Gulliver

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Purrs, GulliverPurrs

Up, Up and Away!

Up, up and away! I went to the Albuquerque, New Mexico balloon festival and to ride in a balloon! Not the kind you buy at the store, but a giant kind that can hold 4-6 people in the basket. The balloon part is called an envelope, and the basket beneath it is called a gondola. Hot air fills the envelope, and before long we were drifting through the quiet air, looking at the people and scenery below. Most balloons launch in the early morning, when there is little wind so landing is not as bumpy. A chase crew follows the balloon and picks up the people and equipment when the balloon lands. After my ride, there was a balloon fiesta where 600 balloons went sailing through the air at the same time, creating a rainbow of colors in the blue sky.    Purrs, Gulliver

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