Elliot and I have been looking forward to visiting the Southwest for a long time, so of course we were excited to be in New Mexico! After visiting Carlsbad Caverns we made our way up to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Our thoughts in planning the trip we didn’t really think about how cold it gets in the mountains at night… During the day the temperatures reach 70 or even 80 in March, but the nights get super chilly, as low as the 30’s or 40’s. When you’re in a tent, you really feel that drop in temperature. After our first night we decided we really needed to get a nice blanket.
In the Historic Old Town District in Albuquerque there’s a ton of little shops and restaurants, we scoured the stores to find the perfect blanket. Local jewelry artists line the side walks during the day to sell their own goods. However, some of the stores were a little less traditional than others, mostly carrying products that were made in China rather than local products but we found a big blanket made in Mexico and we were super warm that night!
After our little shopping spree we spent time visiting many of the Breaking Bad set locations. We both used to watch the show, and rerun episodes on our own free will, so we had to see a few set locations that we recognized! We ate at The Doghouse, as seen in several episodes and had chili cheese dogs. On the same street is Java Joe’s, which was the set of Tuco’s warehouse. We drove past the hotel that Hank took Walter White Jr, and of course… We saw Walter White’s house! We actually stopped and got a pizza to throw on the roof, but there was somebody sitting outside and a bunch of no trespassing signs. I guess they finally got tired of getting free pizza. 😉 At just about sunset we took the Sandia Peak Tramway to the highest portion of the Sandia Mountains. It was crowded because a lot of people had the same idea to see the sunset, but it really was quite the view. The way back down was even better with the city lights at night.
Camping that night was pretty warm and cozy with our new blanket, we were excited to explore Santa Fe so we wanted to feel well rested. Santa Fe’s historic district also serves as their city center. We picked up a few souvenirs from street vendors and admired the architecture. We visited the outside of the San Miguel Chapel, which is thought to be the oldest church in the United States, as well as the oldest house. Both were built between 1610 and 1626. On the same strip are the “mysterious stairs” that are in Loretto Chapel. Legend says that the chapel was finished with construction and they realized that they forgot to add an access point to the choir loft that was 22-feet above the church. The legend goes on to say that the nuns of the church said prayers to Saint Joseph, the saint of carpenters and on the ninth day of prayer a man showed up at the chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work.
The man left without pay from the chapel, and nobody could track him down. He was thought to be Saint Joseph himself, answering their prayers. The stairs have no visible means of support and was built without nails, only wooden pegs. The church was beautifully built, but who knows about the actual mystery of the stairs. They’re blocked off, so you can’t walk up them to view the church from the top but many wedding photos are taken on the stairs in the present day.
Santa Fe is seriously huge on art, so while we were there we visited the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Georgia O’Keeffe is an artistic legend, extremely well rounded and talented. The museum is home to the largest collection of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work in the world. There’s also a short film about her life and several photos of her on her property in Abiquiu. Georgia was an iconic mythic figure, and this museum definitely showcases that quite well.
Later that night we checked out Meow Wolf. As crazy as it sounds, Meow Wolf is an interactive art collective that you can literally spend HOURS in. We saw it in a pamphlet at the campground we were staying at, but what we figured out after being there for a few hours already is that you’re supposed to figure out this entire story line that the artists have created. Otherwise, even without the story line the building is home to a massive amount of exhibits that you can walk around it, make music with and take photos with things. It’s extremely immersive, we ended up spending the better half of 7 hours there. We wished we had realized sooner what it was all about!
Overall, I kind of fell in love with the feeling that Santa Fe gives you when you walk around the city. It’s a pretty spiritual and beautiful place, you’re close to the desert but since you’re in the high desert, you still get snow and cooler weather. It really was an interesting place to see!