Ciao Albuquerque, hello Taos!

It was reconfirmed to me that I am not a city person, and I don’t know what it is but I do not care for Albuquerque.  I was having a miserable time and my eczema was terribly broken out so I decided to cut my losses; I rented a car, booked a hotel room, and drove to Taos in Northern New Mexico.

But before I left town, I really wanted to take the Sandia Peak Tramway, an aerial tramway at the north of Albuquerque with spectacular views of the Sandia Mountains.  I left the house, grabbed a coffee and a coffee cake and had an uber take me up to the tramway landing.

Tram going up

I struck up conversation with a skier.  He was from upstate New York and a really nice guy.  He lives in Albuquerque now and has an annual pass for the tram and comes up all the time to go cross country skiing.  He’s got life figured out.

Flight # 04


View from the tram, about halfway up
At the top of the tram, we got off and walked around.  There was a young lady with a Scorpions zip-up sweatshirt on and I smiled to myself, I just heard a Scorpions song for the first time in my life.
View from the tram landing
Before heading back to town, I had a drink at the bar at the tram landing.  I ordered the first bubbly on the menu, La Marca prosecco.
I made my way back to town and rented the car.  I was so happy to be leaving Albuquerque and to have wheels.  I got on the road and quickly found the local country station.  I was so happy to be driving.  There’s something about the freedom of a two lane road, double yellow lines bisecting weather-worn asphalt that allows me to breath a little deeper and those tiny muscles in my shoulders and forehead–that I didn’t even know I was clenching–to release.

I took the long route, two-lane roads rather than the big interstate and drove to Madrid, a small town, population 204 on the way from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, where I stopped for lunch at the Mine Shaft Tavern.  April, the charming bartender from Nashville served me, I had a pint of La Cumbre Amber (a local brewery) and ordered a Green Chile Burger, voted best here some years back.  When April brought it to me, she said with her sweet southern drawl, “you gone need both hands for that, gurl.”  Right.  No daintily taking the top bun off and eating my burger with a fork and knife.  I devoured it all and washed it down with my beer.  It was magnificent.

I settled my bill and walked across the way to Harvey’s chocolates (Shugarman’s Chocolates), where the quirky, Mr. Harvey, with grey ringlet curls, curlier than mine, had a full house.  He was breaking off bits of chocolate bark to everybody that walked in while also taking people’s orders and packaging their chocolate.  I bought some coconut chocolate bark to take home and got back on the road, next stop Taos.

I finally made it to Taos just as the sun was setting and dusk was creeping in.  I checked into my hotel, Blue Sky Retreat at San Geronimo Lodge which is quite literally the opposite of my lodgings and the environment in Albuquerque.  It is so tranquil here and the charming couple running the B&B made me feel incredibly welcome.  After I unloaded the car, I made some chamomile tea and went outside to watch the stars, my favorite flickering star was already out, proud as ever.  I sat on a fence post and took in the sky, it felt as though I could see it moving.

Eventually I went inside and lit a fire in the fireplace in my room, I had a bath and called my mom.  “How’s Christina?” she asked.

“I don’t meet Christina until Sunday, mama” I responded.

“So you’re alone? Are you happy?”

I pondered her questions.  Virtually, my whole adult life I have traveled alone and been extremely content and satisfied doing so; however, this trip has been different, trying, and no, not really enjoyable.  I think I am done traveling alone.

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