Saturday, October 4, 2008

New Mexico

I should tell you about my New Mexico trip before it's too late. We started in Albuquerque, visiting DH's old haunts. We stayed one night at the Montery Non-smokers Motel, to get into the Route-66-driving-tourist kind of mood. The best part was the neon sign, which is retro-cool.

Well that, and the fact that things did not stink like cigarette smoke! (Ask me another day about the time I mistakenly stayed about Congress Airport Inn in St Louis, quite possibly the Most Disgusting Place On Earth. By "congress," they are not referring to the branch of government.) There was also a cute lil daschound named Gustav, who was too squirmy for me to get a picture.

The shopping in Albuquerque was rather dull--if you can believe it, lots of turquoise--except for this fake sheep/goat/churro lineup. Very expensive and strange.

The highlight of the driving portion of the vacatino was the Turquoise Trail, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The sky is ten times bigger out there!

We made our way to Santa Fe, where we stayed at the best B&B ever, the Madeleine Inn.

The food (afteroon wine hour and breakfast) is marvellous, the rooms are gorgeous, the location is fantastic (walkable to everything), and the service is impeccable. The innkeeper giving us the tour apologized when he had to excuse himself to take freshly-baked cookies out of the oven! Seriously, some people... The gardens are absolutely amazing, especially considering that this is the desert.

They are also very eco-friendly, with their custom-made toiletries in dispensers (rather than little plastic bottles), recycling bins (seriously, how hard is it for other hotels/B&B's to do this?), gray-water-fed gardens, and so on. Unfortunately we didn't have the time to take advantage of their world-renowned spa (Absolute Nirvana Spa).

The BEST part of Santa Fe was the Nicholas Potter Bookseller, which is one of the best bookshops EVER (and believe me, I've looked.)

Such bliss! I did look for some knitterly books to show off here, and while there were many books on weaving, only one was really about yarn/knitting.

Since I don't spin or dye yarn--not because I don't want to, but because I'd have to give up my doctorly day job--I didn't get it, but I did get a whole lot of books. Suffice it to say that we bought enough books that 1) they had to be shipped, and 2) the proprietor volunteered to ship them for free!

We also went to The Needle's Eye yarn store in Santa Fe. Then we made our way to Taos. On the way, we passed Camel Rock. Then a few minutes later, a very camel-rock-like cloud appeared. Cool, eh?

Taos was stunning. We stayed at the Old Taos Guesthouse, which is a lovely B&B on a large property. There are happy chickens who produce the eggs for breakfast,

and spectacular sunsets.

It is a little bit out of town, very quiet, and exactly what I needed.

After the most peaceful sleep I'd had in years, and then a lovely visit to The Yarn Shop, we made our way south again. The drive to Los Alamos

was a lot more fun than the actual town. Granted, we didn't actually go to the National Laboratories (which would have been overwhelmingly fun for our dorky sciency hearts), but the rest of the town was so disturbingly bland, like it could be in Vermont, Indiana, California, or a movie set for for the movie Boring Town. I was pleased to find that the shop for the Bradbury museum had a surprisingly large knitting book selection.

During the drive, I had lost my cable needle while knitting/driving-from-the-passenger-seat more than once, so I bought a magnetic rock, onto which I could stick my cable needle. Of course, I foolishly didn't realize that my aluminum cable needle is not ferromagnetic. Ha!

We passed this fantastic sign painted on the side of a building on the way back:
Obamanos!! No matter your political inclination, you've got to admit that sign is awesome!

Back in Albuquerque, we stayed at the Hotel Blue, which is this super-adorable-chic art deco hotel! They have cookies and free wi-fi too!

We rushed back for the first presidential debate, hoping there would be a TV in the room. So we were very excited to find two! I guess they are in the middle of switching regular TVs for flat-screens.

During this entire trip, we had been trying all sorts of restaurants, trying to find some good New Mexican food. We went to the 1) local-recommended, 2) too-expensive, 3) best rank on tripadvisor, ) best on urbanspon, 5) hole in the wall which surely has good burritos (not), 6) one with the long line, and so on and on and on. All very disappointing. Granted, my love of spicy food is a bit extreme, but my opinion is that if you're going to hang bunches of chiles for decoration, you'd better make sure the food has some mofo flavor! Finally, the night before we left, we hit the jackpot (at my in-laws' suggestion). Cervantes, in Albuquerque, has the BEST food. It was heavenly.

This is my already-half-eaten burrito. I apologize for the terrible picture, but believe me, it is worth the strip-search at the airport, airsickness, white-knuckled driving, gas $, surviving-other eateries'-shite-food, etc, just to eat here!

It's amazing what a few days away will do for one's psyche. I feel like a new woman!


tina said...

I loved the all too brief travelog! I've never been to New Mexico although it is on my list. Your photos were spectacular, I enjoyed every bit!

thanks! (And by the way, you do look pretty relaxed---- now hang on to it!)

emicat said...

Great photos! That's one area I really have been wanting to visit and your photos just make me want go to there RIGHT NOW!

I love that you guys go on trips and have to have boxes of books shipped back home.. when you get back, you still have something to look forward to! I might have to borrow that idea :)