Where The Western Things Are: New Mexico30 October 2013
So after driving all day through Utah we stopped in Nowhereville, New Mexico and slept in the car for the night. Surprisingly, it wasn't so bad. The hard part was waking up at 5 am to continue driving. It was worth it though because we arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico just in time for sunrise over the International Balloon Fiesta.
When we were first coming down the highway it was still dark so when we looked out over the empty field we were confused by the bursts of bright lights. Then we realized, those bursts of fire were the balloons being inflated! It was quite beautiful to see.
The signs on the road said we still had one more exit until we reached the parking for the fiesta but we noticed that there was gas station at the exit coming up so we ditched the traffic and got off right there. It worked out perfectly for us. Not only did we avoid traffic and get an awesome view, we also dodged a $10 parking fee for using the official balloon fiesta lot!
I was surprised at how long we spent there. Several hours, in fact! Just watching and enjoying the beauty. I think we picked a particularly good day to visit as that Friday was the 'wacky shapes' day which means instead of just typical, round hot air balloons there were lots of other shapes as well. It was fun to watch them inflate and see who could guess what it was first.
After a bit of viewing, we went into the Old Town and enjoyed the charming city. It was still super early in the morning so nothing was open but it was a nice stroll none the less. I'd really love to come back to Albuquerque someday and do a proper tour of the city.
Next up was a quick drive to Santa Fe for lunch. We stopped in at Maria's (because if you're in New Mexico, you have to eat Mexican food!) for what was described as the best margarita in the city. I also had a bowl of posole, or pork and hominy soup. Verdict? The food was delicious but I wasn't insanely in love with the margarita. Maybe there was too much build up? Either way, definitely get the sopapillas- you will not be disappointed!
After lunch we did a little tour around the city before hitting the road again. I wish we had had more time here. The town was absolutely adorable and exactly what you picture for an old western town. I loved the adobe houses with turquoise-trimmed windows and the narrow, shopped-lined streets selling Native American pottery and jewelry. Must come back some day!
What's your favorite place out West?