Thursday, April 26, 2012

Albuquerque, Tinkertown and Santa Fe

This year, the 30th Annual VRA Conference was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  It was a great conference and the hotel we stayed at was very nice and right in Old Town Albuquerque.

View from my hotel window at sunrise.

Balloons from my hotel window.
My dear friend Ania decided to fly down from Denver to hang out with me for a long weekend following my conference.  It was a great chance to catch up and explore this part of the country.  She flew in on Saturday, April 21st and rented a car at the airport and drove out to my hotel to pick me up.  I didn't have to check out until noon, so we headed into Old Town for a nice brunch at Church Street Cafe.  We also took a walk through the plaza and the Annual Founder's Day Celebration.  Albuquerque was celebrating it's 306th Birthday this year!  Here are some views from the plaza:

There was an amazing Native American drum circle going on in the gazebo on the plaza.

On the way out of Albuquerque, we decided to take the Turquoise Trail and stop at a little place called Tinkertown.  This is a great example of kitschy roadside Americana and outsider art.  This one guy just took his hobby to the extreme and made this entire world out of found objects, hand-carved figures and lots and lots of glass bottles.

This is Lady Esmerelda.  She came from an amusement park in Chicago and she still works!  Ania and I had the pleasure of getting our fortunes told by her for only a quarter!
This is just part of a huge "Main Street" scene that includes hand-carved figures and some found objects.

There are buttons that visitors can push to make some of the figures move.  When you push one button, this chef chases this chicken around and around with his cleaver.
No main street would be complete without the photographer's studio!  It's hard to see, but it even includes a crying baby!
A huge collection of wedding cake toppers.
An outdoor area in the museum.

Wonder Woman looking over the Seven Dwarfs.

I wonder who I was thinking of here...
Oh, Georgia O.  The written caption under the photo says "I can mix with any crowd if I need to!"

A sign next to "Otto, the Automatic One Man Band".
Brilliant quote from Mark Twain.

Good Old 66
Me at Tinkertown.
There was a station set up with paper, pencils and crayons for people to write wishes on and stick them in the bottles.  You can see some of the rolled up paper in the bottles here.

This note starts with "I wish..."

Ania and her camera, just like the good old days. 

The Museum continued outside, too.

With tons of hummingbirds!  I actually caught this one landed on a branch.

After Tinkertown, we continued on the Turquoise Trail toward Santa Fe.  It was such an amazing day.  Here are some views from the road:

You wouldn't know it, but I'm accidentally sitting a little too close to a cactus here!  I had to change my pants because there were cactus needles stuck in the back pocket of my jeans after I got up from getting this photo taken!

And finally we arrived in Santa Fe!  We found a parking spot near the State Capitol and walked all over town.  We walked through the Plaza and ended up at this beautiful church, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

If you couldn't already tell from the photos, it was a BEAUTIFUL afternoon.  We stopped in at The Shed, touted as being one of the best restaurants in Santa Fe, and put our names in for a table with an hour-long wait.  While we were waiting, we wandered into this little courtyard with these amazing lilacs in bloom. 

The wait for The Shed was well worth it!  Ania's husband Ken had recommended the Prickly Pear Margarita, so that's what I got to drink with my dinner.  I'm so happy that Ania really likes Mexican/New Mexican food as much as I do. We were happy to eat our way through Santa Fe.

After dinner we walked through the Plaza again and this group of marimba players was still going strong.  We had seen them earlier in the day, too and they added such a great vibe to the Plaza.  You couldn't help but be happy with this music playing.

We then checked in to our hotel, El Rey Inn, and enjoyed a good night's sleep after a long day for both of us.  And we had big plans for Sunday, too!


Christa said...

Ah-ha! I knew I could count on you for a virtual vacation in the midst another really busy day here. NM looks interesting and like you had a great time with Ania. Yay! Thanks for sharing and hope all is well!

Trinity said...

You have a knack for finding interesting stops like Tinkertown. So fun to see your photos. I especially like the one with the blue canning jar!