As I mentioned briefly in a previous post, I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in Albuquerque, New Mexico to present a paper at a conference. Before I flew out there, I had no idea what to expect. I had never been west of Houston, so my perceptions of New Mexico relied heavily on stereotypes and the one half of a Breaking Bad episode I’ve seen. Needless to say, what I expected was not what I got, although I did see quite a few cowboy hats.
Being from Alabama, I can honestly say that had it not been for this conference, I probably would have never found myself wandering around New Mexico, but I’m so glad I did. Not only was the conference incredible, but I had the chance to experience a place within my own country that is vastly, and I mean vastly, different from where I live.
My hotel and the conference were located Downtown, so in between panels, seminars, and presentations, I got touristy and wandered around the streets with my camera.
One thing that’s really cool about Albuquerque is that there are murals, street art, and mosaics all around Downtown that speak to the history, culture, and personality of the city.
The architecture in Albuquerque is much louder than that in Alabama, and the colors of the buildings are vibrant and fun. I never actually went to this theater, but the architecture was so fun and stereotypically New Mexican that I had to snap a picture.
Whenever I travel to a new city, I like to scope out some good local coffee. After listening to an amazing panel on pathways to publication, I explored the streets and found an amazing coffee shop called Espresso Fino. The yellow exterior was what caught my attention. It’s not only eye-grabbing but it fits in perfectly with the city’s bright, fun color scheme.
Since I am on a lifelong mission to find the best chai latte in America, I ordered the chai latte, and it was great. Also, after the shop has brewed the coffee, they give the grounds away for free so people can use them for gardening or composting.
All around the city, there are these beautiful blossoming trees, which made it feel like spring even though, to an Alabamian, it was still quite chilly.
Another cool place I visited was Old Town, which just a few minutes away from Downtown. Old Town is where many Native American shops and good Mexican restaurants are located. The architecture is very western and pueblo-esque, which is something that I had never seen before aside from television. I couldn’t help but pick up a few souvenirs and take a visit to the oldest church in Albuquerque, the San Felipe de Neri Church.
Since most of my time was spent at the conference, I didn’t have time to do much else, but I really enjoyed the parts of the city I was able to see. I can say that I’ll definitely miss the food there. Native American fry bread has probably made the list of one of my favorite foods.
What are your spring or summer vacation destinations?