Ballooning happens very early in the morning, so even with a nap, there is plenty of time to explore and we did.Old town Albuquerque is very nice. Most people think that the US started in New England and moved west, new communities being built in a straight timeline. Not so, much of the south, from Florida to California was being developed by the Spanish, or in Louisana’s case – the French.
What today is New Mexico was at the far reaches of New Spain – Mexico. Albuquerque and Santa Fe date back to 1706. This church, on the plaza in Albuquerque in from then. Interior of Church.
Along with the Spaniards came the Jews, escaping from Spain and from the long arm of the Inquisition. The Inquisition followed them to the new world, so my moved up north, to the hinterlands of the empire. They didn’t suffer much persecution up north, but old habits die hard, so the Anusim (Hebrew word for force or rape) or Converso (Spanish for forced conversion) continued to live a secret life. Outwardly they were Catholic, in their homes they kept Jewish traditions alive. In the last century, many of the descendants are embracing Judaism fully. I had the pleasure of meeting Doro from Las Cruces, he is a proud member of the community and has visited Israel, where he really awoke to his full return to Judaism. Not every meeting involves a photo, so it was just a very nice conversation that we had.Back to Old town, on weekends and during Balloon Fiesta, the central plaza is full of activities, traditional music and dances are de-rigor.Since Day of the dead is approaching, these flags were all over the place. Traditionally they would be cut from crepe paper, these will last a little longer, being die-cut from think sheet-plastic.New Mexico really embraced the adobe look to many homes and buildings.Certainly, gives a recognizable cohesion to the state.In Old town, all kinds of decorations abound.The American style finds it’s place alongside the pueblo style. With the rich blue skies, blue is a popular color.The Cathedral is in Santa Fe, which was established one hundred years before Albuquerque. Yes, New Mexico’s history goes way back.It was a short visit to Santa Fe, the art scene and galleries are what it is known for. I loved the shadow cast by one sculpture under the other. We just walked around the central plaza, didn’t really have time for much else. We even ended up going back down for dinner. I did find a lovely little place near our hotel with fresh tasty food, they also serve alcohol, but this trip, I did without. Fresh Bistro, this is one of those places that would be on my favorites list if it was close to home. Lovely people, wonderful food. In New Mexico, they put green chili pepper on everything! Once the peppers turn red and sweeter – they make them into these strands and wreaths. Of course one can remove peppers to cook with, but they are really mostly for decoration.I can’t go anywhere without visiting fabric stores! We visited four of them, but only got a picture outside this one. Each was wonderful and unique in its’ own way.