November 10, 2012
Last night we arrived in Albuquerque very late after flying from Vancouver via Dallas, and we’re staying at the Best Western hotel right by the airport. We slept in until 8:30 am and then went down for breakfast. The breakfast area was very crowded, so we joined another couple at their table. They were from Winnipeg and were now on their way home.
After packing up we checked out and got the hotel shuttle bus to take us over to the car rental mall at the airport. We did all the paperwork and then picked up our car, a grey Ford Focus. Off we went up I-25 to Santa Fe.
The weather was overcast with the odd sprinkling of rain. The scenery was nothing spectacular until we got closer to Santa Fe. The elevation here was about 7300 feet and we went by some nice red rock formations. We wondered what was up with all the blue New Mexico licence plates, and eventually we figured out that they weren’t blue, they were turquoise for the official state gemstone, and they were commemorating the state’s centenary.
In the outskirts of Santa Fe we stopped at Albertson’s and bought some fruit and other lunch stuff. A few minutes later we saw they had Trader Joe’s here, so we filed that information away for future reference. Finding our hotel, the Inn on the Paseo, was very straightforward as it was located on the ring road around Santa Fe called the Paseo de Peralta. It was only about 11:30 am when we pulled up there, but we were figuring to just leave the car in their lot and go exploring. But luckily for us our room was ready, so we unloaded our bags and checked in.
The hotel was on a hillside just outside central Santa Fe, and it was an old building with a collection of rooms which had been renovated into a hotel. Our room was downstairs, with a back door leading out into the parking lot and a window looking out to a wall about one foot away. (We were told that the window couldn’t be changed because of heritage rules.)
We had some lunch and then headed the few short blocks into Old Town Santa Fe. The streets were packed with restaurants, art galleries, and museums. Since it’s the state capital there were also a few government buildings, but they were mostly on the other side of the waterless Santa Fe River. The temperature had dropped and the wind was blustery, so we were glad to see that the Museum of Fine Arts was free today. We spent quite a lot of time in the museum because they had a special program which was mostly for kids but also suitable for adults. We had to find certain artworks and answer questions about them. It was fun and really made you think about paintings, frames, and art in general.
After we finished we went looking at the numerous shops and local Indian art. Santa Fe doesn’t have tacky T-shirt shops, these were serious shops, and so they were mostly out of our price range. However this still took up the rest of the afternoon.
Back at the hotel we mentioned to our host Jesse that we’d seen a restaurant, Il Piatto, which we thought we’d go to for dinner. He said “Do you have a reservation? You’re going to need one there.” When we said no, he whipped out his phone and called them. “Eight o’clock okay?” Not really, we said, so he called another place which had room for us at 6:15 pm. It was called Andiamo and was a bit farther to walk, over in the old railroad district about 15 or 20 minutes away, so we headed off. It was also very busy, but we were served quickly. The food was really tasty and plentiful for not too high a price.
November 11: Santa Fe