My trip started with checking into the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, which is located downtown on NW Tijeras Street. It’s centrally located between Old Town, the main art and shopping district for tourists, and Nob Hill, a quaint, but lively area bustling with activity from the University of New Mexico college students who frequent its many coffee houses, bookstores, restaurants and funky shops (My new favorite store is Masks y más, which is located on the main strip and sells every possible type of artesania from Mexico, Guatemala, Indonesia and Africa. It made me very happy to walk in since, after I lived in Latin America during college, I wanted to open just such a shop!).
Afterwards, we drove to el Santuario de Chimayó in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains where we toured this little church built in the 1800s. We also saw the holy dirt, which you can take with you, in the church floor, dipped our feet in the brook out back and planted our own homemade crosses with important information on them in the far corner of the grounds, just a few feet from the vast pasture behind it that leads to mountains. Chimayó felt completely holy with a mystical air to it. We brought home some beautiful little stones from the brook to remind us of our little day trip.
On the way back to Albuquerque, we stopped at María’s in Santa Fe for some New Mexican-style carne adovada and delicious French vanilla margaritas, which is just one type of margarita on their menu of one hundred! While New Mexican Mexican food is not as tasty as the the Tex-Mex that I grew up with, the drinks were fantastic. Then it was back to the hotel for some sleep to be ready for our trek to Santa Fe and Zozobra on Thursday.