My mom had airline tickets to Albuquerque and I had travel points so we set off after Christmas for a few days. Matt and I had been to New Mexico for the first time on our road trip last October, travelling through Taos Pueblo, Farmington and Chaco Cultural Centre to see the ancient pueblos. We were mesmerized by the landscape and the history so I was excited to see what Albuquerque and Santa Fe were like.
The immediate answer is that it is cold. Much colder than we expected. We looked out the window and saw the sunny courtyard so walked out in sweaters…then promptly headed back to the hotel for jackets, toques and gloves. The sunshine was nice but at -4 degrees it was significantly warmer in Seattle! Historic Albuquerque is beautiful and was still all decked out for Christmas with wreaths and ribbons and a creche at the church. The red chiles hanging everywhere are surely not seasonal but if you want a mix of red and green on your enchiladas you ask for “Christmas”.
We took the train to Santa Fe and that was a beautiful ride through the state and up to 7,000 feet elevation. Needless to say, it did not get any warmer and the plaza in the Old Town district was still covered in snow – gorgeous against the sandstone pueblo architecture. We walked everywhere, ducking into art galleries and boutiques, finding little cafes to warm up in and eventually sitting down to a beautiful lunch at the historic La Fonda hotel. We saw the Georgia O’Keeffe gallery but there’s not much there; we were more impressed with the light and the landscape, the architecture and the Puebloan craft markets. It’s easy to see why so many artists have found themselves here, and how so many beautiful things have come out of this area.