If you read my somewhat wistful yet hopeful post in April (Going Back and Going Forward), you know that the “going forward” part was about our older son, Matt, leaving the Phoenix area to move to Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was a little sad for us, but absolutely thrilled for him. And Steve and I told him we would be out soon to visit him.
Matt moved in April, and “soon” turned out to be airline tickets we purchased for a trip to visit Matt in July. But then we had to travel to Iowa in July, so we had to reschedule our trip to New Mexico. We finally made it for a quick, 3-day weekend last week. Steve and I flew out first thing Thursday morning (Matt’s days off are Thursday and Friday, and he took a vacation day Saturday), and we returned Sunday morning. It was fast, it was furious, but it was oh so very lovely to see my “no longer a baby” boy!
Because our window of time in New Mexico was so tight, Matt tried to pack in as much as he could during our visit. Even then, it was one of our most relaxing trips because we got up when we got up, and headed out to the places he had picked without any specific plans of what exactly we were going to see and do. He picked some places and then we just played it by ear.
Steve and I got up at 4:30 in the morning to catch an 8:05 AM flight. Uh…Steve was in charge of travel arrangements. We landed a little after 10 AM, and by the time we met up with Matt and dropped our bags off at his place, it was time for lunch. Because Matt shares our love of Vietnamese food, we ended up at Lime Vietnamese Restaurant. The food was great, and we got to catch up a little.
After lunch, we went back to Matt’s place. Before we went out to see him, I had asked Matt if he was all unpacked. He told me “mostly, but I don’t have any art on the walls yet”. I told him if he wanted to wait, Steve and I could help him when we got there. And Steve did help Matt hang his art, after mom helped rearrange almost all his furniture. I can’t help it. It’s a combination of a mom thing, a nesting thing, and a compulsive thing. But at the end, Matt agreed it made better use of his space, and with the art up, it really looked like a cozy home.
That night, Matt grilled a flank steak for us while I made the sides. It was just what this mom needed. Steve and I called it a relatively early night (given how long we had been awake) so that we could start our adventures the next day.
The next morning, we made our way north to Old Town Santa Fe. What a gorgeous, gorgeous place!
Quaint and lovely hotels.
Just off the historic center square. With shops and restaurants abounding.
By the way, I had to look these up. They are Oregon grapes. And they were plentiful on the bushes.
Many of the shops were in the courtyards between the surrounding buildings. Some had restaurants and beautiful gardens.
And there were SO many shops! We had to stop in this one for Matt to make a purchase. He has always had a thing for globes, and this shop had some beautiful ones made from mosaics of polished stones from around the world.
Matt quickly realized the big ones were definitely out of his price range. But he found a gorgeous smaller one that now sits on the mantel of his fireplace.
Matt had scoped a restaurant for us to try for lunch. The Shed has been in business since 1953 and is renowned for its cuisine, which mixes Pueblo, Spanish, and Mexican influences. It is a third-generation family restaurant, and they have been around that long for a reason.
We had to wait for the doors to open, otherwise there would be no getting in. The line snaked around the courtyard, and within minutes of the front door opening, the place was packed. Luckily, Steve had snagged first place at the head of the line, so we got in right away.
The food was SO, SO GOOD! Matt gets a gold star for his research and choice! They were amazingly efficient at getting people in and out without shortcutting friendliness and service.
After lunch, we walked off some food by visiting the beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. These pictures do not do it justice. Stunning!
And in the park next to the cathedral, they had a beautiful display of prints of various famous works of art.
By midafternoon, we were tired and headed back to Matt’s place. I miss cooking for my boy, so that night mom made him pan-seared scallops over Mediterranean orzo. I made enough orzo for 4, but there was not a speck of food left. Matt polished it all off!
We woke up and headed to the Scandia Peak Tramway, planning on riding to the top of the mountain. By the way, sandía is “watermelon” in Spanish. There is a lot of pink granite on the mountain. When lit by the sun, the mountain resembles a watermelon. That’s how the peak got its name.
But although we could see all of Albuquerque laid out below us from the parking lot of the tram building.
There would have been no views from the top of the peak itself. It was shrouded in fog. Not wanting to miss the experience, we left to do something else hoping the fog would burn off enough later for us to come back.
So, we went to Old Town Albuquerque instead.
We parked and headed off on foot. That’s my Matthew in the blue shirt. And although I adore my son and could show his picture all day long, the reason I included this less-than-appealing shot is because it reminded me of the huge scare we had less than a handful of minutes later.
The group of tourists taking the Segway tour to the left of the picture were pretty much keeping pace with us as we made our way up the street. But not even half a block later, one of the ladies in the tour group took a massive spill off her Segway, just as a car went by the group. Her Segway skidded unattended until it tumbled and stopped in the middle of the road, and she just lay there for several long moments. We thought the car had hit her, so we were petrified for her. She not only eventually sat up, but actually climbed back on that darn thing to finish her tour. She amazed and impressed me with her determination. Turns out the car did not hit her, she just lost control of the thing.
I don’t think most people realize how long is New Mexico’s history. From the native peoples to the Spaniards and then to statehood. Many of the structures we saw in Santa Fe and Albuquerque had been there since the 1700s. The mixtures of cultures, cuisines and nature’s beauty make New Mexico very special.
And again, there were tons of shops and restaurants. So beautifully presented and maintained. Plenty of gorgeously appointed alleyways, with lovely areas to just sit and ponder.
I would never think of a French bistro for lunch here, but there was one!
We stopped for lunch, opting for New Mexican cuisine once more. Although it was not quite to the standards of The Shed in Santa Fe, it was still delicious. And let me tell you, in New Mexico, they know how to make the most of their chilies. The food around here is SPICY! But oh, so good!
After lunch, as we wandered the streets and alleys, we found a guitar shop. Matt plays the bass guitar, so we had to stop. And of course, when invited to help himself to play by the owner, Matt could not resist.
Although he is a little rusty, he was still able to deliver the beautiful étude he learned early in his lessons.
And then it was time to see if Sandia Peak was going to cooperate or not. And it did not disappoint.
Did I mention my adorable husband has a thing with heights? I kid you not. That man took a tram straight up a 10,000+ foot peak and never once looked at the scenery. I would not have thought it possible. But he literally did not see any of what I shared with you in the pictures above. Not even standing inside the building at the top.
But he went up because he knew Matt and I wanted to go. That’s love right there, folks!
That night, Matt wanted to take us to his favorite Vietnamese restaurant, so that’s what we did. Then we went home, nagged at each other viciously as we all took losing turns at a spirited game of cut-throat buraco (a Brazilian version of Canasta), and then called it an early night.
See, Mr. Travel arranger (read Steve), had booked another massively early, o-dark-thirty torture flight. Once again, we were up at 4:30 AM (let me assure you, Matthew was NOT impressed) so our son could drive us to the airport. Where I hugged him to me, hung on to him, and smooched him within an inch of his life.
I’m a Latina mom, people. Even if he is closer to 30 than 20, that is no reason for me to stop loving on my boys like I’ll never see them again. Lucky for me, they’re used to it and indulge me.
We loved, loved, loved our quick trip to New Mexico. I feel like we saw SO much in hardly any time at all. It’s a beautiful state and I encourage everyone to go and visit. But best of all, we spent time with our son.