This is part II of the series “Under the New Mexican Sun”. For part I, click here.
My daughter Sophia and I truly enjoyed our morning at the fabulous Albuquerque Zoo where we were truly able to get up close and personal with the animals. Instead of a sad place, it was a happy environment full of life and in close contact with nature. There were several times when it was just Sophia, myself and the big, black hairy gorillas peering over at us and questioning. It was surreal how humanlike the apes were! We could have spent an entire day at the zoo exploring yet there was more of Albuquerque that I wanted to see, namely the infamous Old Town.
Historic Old Town is the heart and soul of the city. It was built over seventy years before the American Revolution in 1706 by the Spanish and remains relatively unchanged. The centerpiece of Old Town remains the city’s oldest building, the Felipe de Neri Church which was constructed adobe-style in 1793. The main square is centered around the church and contains charming, tree-shaded side streets and alleyways full of art galleries, shops and restaurants. The adobe architecture is marvelous and I could have spent hours wandering around. Yet we only had a short time before we had to head back to the airport to catch our flight.
I had read the following descriptions of Albuquerque’s art and culture in the visitor’s guide, and it was easy to see what they meant. Art was everywhere!
“Authentic art reflects the city’s history, culture and creative spirit, blending centuries-old traditions and contemporary life in urban Albuquerque”.
This one is my favorite (from the visitor’s guide again) as it is a very accurate description of this enchanting city:
“Art is everywhere in Albuquerque: in world-class museums, in artist-owned galleries and in outdoor public places. The city is a tapestry of unique architecture and signage, from Pueblo Revival-style buildings in Old Town to pulsing neon signs on old Route 66”.
On our way to Old Town from the zoo, a meager couple of miles, I stopped numerous times to snap photos of some of this “al fresco” art. Murals were everywhere—-on abandoned building, sides of small shops and homes. It was fabulous! Poor Sophia sat in her car seat asking me why I kept pulling over, getting out of the car and bouncing with joy at each masterpiece. “Look at this art! It is beautiful” I beamed. “Yes mama” Soph replied. “Can we go now”? She’s only five…what a trouper!
Here are some of my favorites…..