Here in my corner of the globe, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is in full swing. It started Saturday the 4th and runs through October 12th, so if you hop on a plane now, you can still make it in time for a mass ascension, when all of the balloons go up in waves. The Fiesta began in 1972 with 13 balloons in a mall parking lot and has since grown to be the biggest and oldest gathering of hot-air balloons in the world. This year, there are over 600 balloonists participating, and they come from all over the world.
I braved the crowds on Saturday and went with my husband and three children. We walked on the grassy fields and heard the roar of propane burners as we watched balloons inflate all around us. We were close enough to touch the balloons (and my kids did!), and a couple of times we had to move quickly before a rapidly expanding balloon closed in on top of us. I’m a proud New Mexican and have seen many Balloon Fiestas, but still it always seems unreal when the gondola finally lifts off the ground and the pilots wave as they ascend rapidly into the bright-blue sky.
Tourist destinations = a need for language
When you think of popular tourist destinations, Albuquerque, New Mexico, probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. But while we were gawking at the balloons, I heard people speaking Portuguese, Italian, Korean, and of course Spanish, which is widely spoken here. (I probably could’ve found more languages if I hadn’t been so busy making sure I didn’t lose my children in the throng of people!) It amazed me that these travelers came such a long way and surely had to use their English to navigate the whole crazy experience. It occurred to me that if I traveled across the world to see an event like, say, the Jazzfest in Berlin on October 30th, I’d have to learn quite a few useful phrases in German in order to even function and find my way around the festival.
For someone like me who has zero background in German, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I could buy a phrasebook, but how would I know how to pronounce the words on the page? With smartphones and tablets now so readily available, you can find an app for almost everything. You can use apps to track your grocery purchases, manage your to-do list, and even shame you into going to the gym. It seems obvious, then, that you could also use an app to learn a language.
Enter Rosetta Stone’s free Travel Apps
I have no immediate plans to travel to Europe, but because I’m a dreamer, I downloaded the free Rosetta Stone Travel German app. It took a couple of minutes, and immediately I heard someone speaking German. And (gasp!) I was supposed to repeat the word back. It’s a pretty cool way to learn some German without wasting any time. If German’s not your style, the free app is also available for Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, and in a special Brazilian Portuguese, a special Futebol Edition just for soccer fans! Now if only I could find the money for that plane ticket . . .
What’s a popular event in your city or country that attracts tourists? What’s an event you’d like to attend and speak the local language?
Language learning on the go with Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone Travel apps are an excellent companion to help you navigate your way through your next vacation. Even better, you can now take your lessons with you! With Rosetta Stone® Online Subscription & App you can take your lessons on the go wherever, and whenever you are. Download your next language today!