Say it out loud…
Yup. I totally went to Albuquerque last weekend. (My friend Simona taught me that trick!)
#3 – Travel places I’ve never been
Back in January, when I think we all had the inkling that this winter might be a doozy, I started hatching a plan to head somewhere warmer for my birthday weekend in March. Last year I took a much loved trip to Louisville. This year I hit up my always-up-for-a-trip friend Beth and we decided to head to New Mexico. We stayed for 4 nights total: 1 in ABQ and 3 in Santa Fe. I have been through both of these places on a road trip and even stayed overnight, but have never really *seen* either.
I flew into town first. Picked up the car and headed into ABQ to find somewhere to eat lunch and waste a bit of time before I could check into our hotel and then pick Beth up at the airport. Being the anxious traveller that I am (and the fact that I was now 5000 feet higher in altitude) I was pretty sure that I couldn’t get a deep breath so it took me a beat or two to relax, but I got there. And the spot I picked for lunch helped: The Grove Café. Their philosophy is to provide high quality local and organic foods with a kind of neighborhoody vibe. My kind of place and they nail it. My first impression of ABQ was a good one. Hipsters, families, young, old – it seemed like a good crowd. I ordered a tuna salad sandwich and a lemonade and found a spot to sit and people watch.
After lunch I took a drive up and down Route 66 to get my bearings. I knew we were going to be here for such a short visit and I didn’t want to waste time trying to find stuff to do once Beth got here. So this part of ABQ is curious. It reminded me a lot of Reno, NV. It seems a little down-and-out, but with little peeks of culture and history tucked in. There were a lot of empty store fronts along this road and tons of motels (Route 66 and all). If I go back I need to see more sides of the ABQ.
Our hotel was super nice inside: Hotel Parq Central and, as we were going to come to find out was true about everybody in New Mexico, the staff was incredibly nice. The hotel is a converted hospital and with a contemporary/luxe vibe now. (Thank bejesus, we didn’t find out it had been a hospital until the morning we checked out – I would have been convinced there were wandering sick from the beyond who were responsible for the bathroom shade I kept breaking).
After picking Beth up we dropped off her things in the hotel and too a drive down to Albuquerque’s Old Town to walk around and find some dinner. Old town is a bunch shops/restaurants/businesses housed in old adobe buildings all encompassing a historic church and plaza.
After a confusing attempt to follow the moving blue ball on our “smart” phone apps and getting turned around more than once – we found our dinner spot. It kind of sucked so I’m not going to even name it here. But I will say, thank you world for the creation of the sopapilla.
After a drink on the roof of our hotel (there was a bar there, claro) we called it a night.
Part 2 – the Turquoise trail and Santa Fe….later skaters.