Our friends moved to New Mexico a few years ago and have really embraced the lifestyle and the area, so we had some very good tour guides to show us this city.
The state of New Mexico has about two million residents; about one million live in Albuquerque. Despite the numbers, it has the feel of a mid-sized city instead of a metropolitan area.
|Fat Man and Little Boy|
The gift shop has a large selection of things you might expect: T-shirts, books, and other such items. But I had to bring home a truly unusual find: a lemon-yellow 1960s-era Geiger counter. While the needle moves, I don't know if it still actually works but, for $29, it's quite the conversation piece.
Albuquerque boasts a stretch of Historic Route 66. East of downtown, it's an area of cheap and abandoned hotels, empty lots, tattoo & piercing parlors, tire-and-wheel shops. Entering the Nob Hill area, however, the route regains something akin to its former glory: nice restaurants, trendy shops, places that look quite inviting indeed. As we drove through this area, I recalled Charles Kuralt's quote, "Thanks to the Interstate highway system, it's possible to drive from coast to coast without seeing anything," and thought fondly of how car travel must have been in the heyday of Route 66.
Like many southwest cities, Albuquerque has a historic Old Town. While it has its share of trendy stores, souvenir shops, restaurants and bars, there's a lot to be learned about the city by ducking into the local church or stopping to read a historic marker or two.
The city makes great use of public art, from silhouettes and signs on the lampposts downtown to colorful tile along what would otherwise be bland highway interchanges. It's quite impressive, and seems to keep grafitti to a minimum.
|Homage to a|
There are many more contemporary sights to see as well, including the Bobby Unser Museum. All in all, we found Albuquerque, New Mexico surprisingly fascinating!
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Photos by Carl Dombek
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