An uneventful and dreadfully boring road trip(there is only so much desert one can handle in a day along the I-10) brought us to the city limits in seven hours. We jumped into tourist mode to jam in as much sightseeing as we could in two days. Since our daughter was in charge of finding restaurants, she insisted that we eat "local" and franchises were not allowed. This entailed some exploration of downtown ABQ which proved entertaining. The eateries had excellent fare and one even had the distinction of a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives visit. My favorite was the Slate Street Cafe which was tucked away on a side street. Check out my Trip Advisor review here. In fact, you can check out all my reviews on Trip Advisor.
Even though we've lived in the Southwest for over a decade, ABQ has a different flavor than Arizona. There is a strong Pueblo Indian influence that dominates rather than the Mexican culture in AZ. We decided to take the trip up the side of Sandia Peak to enjoy the tram ride and the views at the top. It was a perfect day, but lots of people were smushed into the tram with us. One gets to know the other tourists up close and personal when it's crowded. However, the views were fabulous, but the disappointment was that the Forest Service had closed the hiking trails. Not enough rain had fallen yet. We were relegated to an extensive boardwalk around the tram area. The ticket price was a little high without the trails to explore, but it was a good time for conversation and soaking up the high altitude views above Albuquerque.
Since it was the 4th of July weekend, we took the bus to Balloon Fiesta Park to join thousands in celebrating our country's independence. The city does an excellent job of transporting people on buses to alleviate some of the traffic. At a $1 for a round trip, it couldn't be beat. Once we arrived in Fiesta Park, lo and behold, our favorite food vendor from the Prescott Highland Games was there serving up Messy Nessies and shepherd's pie. We ate Scottish, and sat on the grass to view a stunning fireworks display. We even saw the Rio Ranchos fireworks from afar which set the stage.
The pièce de résistance of the trip was the train ride to Santa Fe. The Railrunner was a cheap and comfortable alternative to driving. I haven't been on a train in many years, and this was relaxing and fun. We rode the rails for about a 90 minute trip to Santa Fe, alternately napping, talking, and watching the beautiful countryside go by. Then it was a short walk to Old Town which is filled with galleries, restaurants, and all sorts of shops. We ate in the park, purchasing our lunch from a street vendor who made killer carnitas. David had carne and I went with pollo. There's nothing like homemade tortillas. Apache and Anasazi vendors spread their jewelry on blankets, all beautifully handcrafted and at a fraction of the price in the stores. The last visit of the day was to the Basilica Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi. However, a wedding was in progress and we were unable to slip inside for a peek. We did see the happy bride and groom emerge from the front doors.
A quick trip, but full of good family times and a bit of an adventure rolled into one. A serendipitous blessing mid-year.
The blessing of the L makes rich,
and he adds no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22