Multimillionaire Malcolm S. Forbes kicked off an eight-day balloon trip across Spain this week, saying he was celebrating the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the New World three years early.

Accompanied by son Robert, the Forbes magazine publisher was flying in a balloon shaped like the Santa Maria used by Christopher Columbus' expedition to the New World in 1492 on behalf of the Spanish crown.Forbes, 69, told reporters in Seville that his Spain trip "is an original and fun way to contribute to the commemoration of the discovery of the New World" and "foster friendship between the Spanish and American people."