By the time we dragged ourselves away from Santa Fe and hit the road for Albuquerque, it was late afternoon. But who cares what time it is when you're having fun? And we all had a good time in Santa Fe.
The sky over New Mexico is a scenic attraction in itself. Partly, it's because there aren't many towns -- you've just got miles and miles of flatlands and mesas and mountains, untouched by human hands. The sky is a great big playground for the clouds and wind and some of the cloud formations are truly spectacular. New Mexico isn't a wealthy state, but it is a magnificently beautiful state.
Our motel in Albuquerque was at the edge of Old Town. We settled into our rooms, enjoyed the company of our trusty traveling companion Johnny Walker, gave Xingxing his dinner and then set out to see what we could of Old Town before it go too dark.
There was a mariachi band playing in the square, and we sat on a bench and enjoyed the music and the general ambience as the sun set. There were still a few shops open, and Christopher has never met a shop he didn't like. The infinite variety of merchandise in New Mexico is amazing, and so are the usually quite modest prices.
We had dinner at a Mexican cantina, and walked back to our motel beneath a star-studded sky, Xingxing slumbering contentedly in his stroller.
The next day was Thursday, and we had to be back in Scottsdale by midday Friday. And there was still Acoma to come. We took advantage of our Best Western Motel's generous, free hot breakfast (so we wouldn't have to waste tine eating lunch) and pondered our next move. The shops in Old Town wouldn't be open until 10 am. So what else was there to do in Albuquerque, this early in the morning?
was so impressed by the outside of the building that he wanted to see what it looked like inside, so he went up to the front door to peek in and guess what? They were open! Turns out, they open at 9 AM --an hour earlier than most museums.
We browsed the art and ended up in the Museum Shop -- well, where else? It is an exceptionally tempting Museum Shop. In recent years, Museum Shops have become a shopping genre of their own, many of the larger ones transmogrifying into sprawling upmarket boutiques. Every now and then, you find a Museum Shop in a smaller place that is nonetheless amazing. This was one of them. If you're ever in Albuquerque -- even if you're not big on museums -- don't miss this museum shop. (By the way and as long as we're on the subject, another really good museum shop is the one at the Tucson Museum of Art)
The plan was to proceed to Acoma -- where we would do a guided tour -- and then push on as far as we felt like going, perhaps all the way to Flagstaff.