Route 66 | Day 6
This day is fully dedicated to the diverse landscape of New Mexico!
Having heard so many things about towns along the old Route 66 that faded into nothingness after the Interstate bypassed them, today it was about time to experience what a real ghost town looks like! And indeed the small town of Cuervo was the most beautifully haunted place we have ever seen!
In need of a livelier environment, we moved towards Santa Rosa and its popular Blue Hole; a natural pool with shockingly clear blue waters and numerous unexplored caves! For those that may wonder, the astonishing visibility of the Blue Hole is due to the fact that the water completely renews itself every six hours!!!
One of the most fun and refreshing activities, especially in the summer time when the temperature goes high, is jumping off the rocks and into the pool!!! But do keep in mind; the water pretty cold all year round!
A little detour would later take us to the “other” Las Vegas, which was surprisingly the gem of the day, and also the best way to warm up our appetite before arriving at the vibrant capital of Santa Fe!
Santa Fe, being one of the largest artistic colonies is a fascinating destination that you will simply fall in love with! Definitely a City Different!
What to expect: A city with rich cultural heritage, amazing architecture, plenty of outdoor activities and a lot of sunshine!
What we did not expect: An open air music festival turning the main Plaza of Santa Fe into the best dance floor we have ever seen!
Route 66 | Day 7
Another detour on our Route 66, as we could not resist following the Turquoise Trail between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. This scenic byway has taken its name from the rich turquoise mineras the area is famous for. Attracted by the scenery, we decided to make our main stops in the tranquil towns of Cerillos, Madrid, as well as the viewpoint of Sandia Crest!
Los Cerillos was a mining town of great importance back in late 80s, but nowadays it’s nearly a ghost town of only few inhabitants. It was also the place where the Young Guns movies were filmed, thanks to its western-like appearance!
The star attraction on the Turquoise Trail, however, is unquestionably Madrid, a cute little town full of vintage shops, as well as pricey art galleries. The local communities have been using for years their beloved blue stone, with jewelry and other artwork made of turquoise being sold in the handcraft shops and fine art galleries along the way. What worth mentioning is that most of the shops are still run by the handcraft artists themselves!
If you feel a bit more adventurous, like we did, you can also drive the long serpentine road to the top of Sandia Crest, at 3.255 meters high! From there you will enjoy superb views across the Rio Grande Valley and the city of Albuquerque. Not sure if the place worth the road’s twists and turns, but it does feel reviving getting off the car once you reach the top!
And then came Albuquerque!!! Authentic, vibrant, and nonetheless artistic. Having the memories still fresh in our mind, it made it hard to even decide whether its beauty could be equally compared to that of Santa Fe! I would most probably say, yes!
Albuquerque was definitely underrated among the places we were supposed to visit while in New Mexico, something that we deeply regret… Because it is achingly beautiful!!!
The Old Town has been the heart of Albuquerque for over three centuries. With plenty of options for shopping everything from local artwork to hand-made guitars! In fact, it was all by chance that we entered Brad Andersen’s Guitar Shop. Brad himself welcomed us and shared nice stories over his hand-made fur guitars! For the history, fur guitars were used greatly by ZZ Top in their performances and their founder, Dean Zelinsky, once visited Brad in his shop and signed on one of his guitars!
Another absolute must-do while in Abuquerque is tasting the new Mexican cuisine! Don’t be fooled though, New Mexican cuisine has nothing to do with Mexican cuisine. You can find authentic New Mexican food at Garcia’s, like we did, and we simply loved it! No matter what you order, by no means should you skip the traditional sopapilla! Sopapilla is a fried dough that can be eaten either plain or (as highly recommended) with honey! Simply delicious!