Old Town and Museum of Art and History

Trip Start May 01, 2013
Trip End May 01, 2014

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Day 321 - We left Phoenix and drove part way to Albuquerque passing through Winslow, Arizona (Journey Song mentions Winslow) and continued on to Hendrick. Along the route you pass over a mountain pass and reach upwards of 6000 feet.  The nice part of this stretch of road was that we were in the pine forest!  I never thought I would be so happy to see "real" trees!  We haven't been among nice trees since we left Oregon back in October.   On the road we started out wind free and then it started blowing and they were calling for high winds in the area.  I don't know what I had expected this area to be, but I definitely didn't think we were going to be in a valley/high desert. I actually got to see the "tumbling tumbleweed". This is Navajo land and it definitely reflects it.  Lots of signboards advertising jewelry, rugs, rocks, etc. The dust was kicking up like crazy and we could see in the distance how it was obscuring the distant Sandia Mountains. 

Some Albuquerque factoids:
1.  "With an average elevation of 5,312' Albuquerque is the HIGHEST U.S. metropolitan city.   Average?  Does it change daily?
2.  The city averages 9 INCHES of rainfall annually.
3.  The Rio Grande Valley includes a 4,300 acre open space park known as The "Bosque" meaning "woodland" in Spanish.
4.  The most prominent geological features:  a.  Rio Grande flows through the heart of the city.  b.   A string of five dormant volcanoes along the city's western edge.  c.  The massive Sandia Mountains that form the ct.'s eastern boarder.
5.  There are 300 species of resident and migratory birds in the bisque along the Rio Grande.
6.  The sun shines here 310 days a year.
7.  There are 22 Native American Tribes here including 19 pueblos and 3 reservations.
8.  The 2.7 mile Aerial Tramway is the longest in North America and reaches the Sandias at 10,378 feet. 

 Day 322  Today we started in Old Town Albuquerque.  Lots of colorful beautiful older buildings, great architecture, adobe structures, and a Church in the square.  Many shops to walk in and out of from jewelry, to bakeries, restaurants and general merchandise type shops.  Lots of fun to browse.   

Once again we see a museum that you need to spend at least half a day in to do it justice. There are paintings dating back to the 15th Century.  Tapestries dating to the 1300's.  Furniture from the 15th Century.  Along with furniture, pottery, silver, sculptures, and many other items to see.  Within the gallery are 6 separate galleries.  The first houses art in the Spanish American home from 1492-1898.  The second is Albuquerque along the Rio Grande.  The third Common Ground: Art in New Mexico.  The fourth African American Art.  The fifth Artisanship of Mexican Equestrian Culture.  A sixth is being renovated. 

The collection comes from the early European explorers back to 1540.  In 1880, the railroad came to Albuquerque and the town began to grow.  In 1902 the Alvarado Hotel was built next to the train station.  (Sadly it was raised in the 1970's.  Many Hollywood stars stayed in this hotel).

The museum collection is from wealthy families that came to this area and collected things from their home countries and brought with them.

Outside there is a beautiful sculpture "garden" with works from Glenna Goodacre (Jill Goodacre and Harry Connick, Jr) and many others.  This area has 63 works of art outside on the path surrounding the museum.  

Unfortunately, no photography within the museum.  So you will have to visit.

Day 323     Today we travelled along the Route 66 stretch that goes through Albuquerque.  We ate at a great old style deco diner.  Ahh nothing like a great hamburger, french fries and a root beer float!  Along the way there are still building dating back to the 1920's, 30's, 40's and 50's.

Albuquerque proper in the downtown area is going through the same hard times as many cities. Many storefronts are empty and others are being refurbished.  The Alvarado Hotel area has been turned into a parking lot.  Sad that such a great building was torn down.  Apparently it was quite a controversy at the time.

In the afternoon we headed over to the Bosque (Boh-Skay) Nature Park.  It was a nice area to watch the wading ducks and geese behind blinds so that you don't scare them off.  There were Cinnamon Teals, Mallards, Canada Geese, Coots and a few other that I wasn't able to identify.  We then took a short hike over to the Rio Grande through a nice path through the Cottonwood Trees.  The best part came when we were walking back to the car and sat down for a second to see who would be coming to the bird feeders, and to my amazement out walked a stunning beautiful Ring Neck Pheasant followed by his mate.  I was in heaven!

Enjoy this area.  Our next stop is Santa Fe for four days.

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Joe and Ginny on

Wow what a great place.. The last time I was in Albuquerque was in 1968 on a business trip.. Had a great time went to Old town really enjoyed it.. Well if you are ever in West Virginia give us a shout..
P.S.Going for a visit to Hilton Head the end of April beginning of May.. Visit friends and maybe run down to Disney..
Take Care and Drive safely

Pamela on

Wasn't it Bugs Bunny who always talked about "Al-ba-coukie"? (or however one would spell his pronunciation.)

Claudia on

Your blog makes me what to go back to Albuquerque! Who needs to do any research when we have you, Sandy!! Thanks for taking the time to create such an amazing blog!

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