A Travellerspoint blog

New Mexico

February 11th - 14th

Albuquerque may be difficult to spell, but it is certainly worth a visit to the state of New Mexico, aka The Land of Enchantment. New Mexico is as much a cultural experience as a place to visit with strong Indian, Hispanic and Anglo heritage. In fact, the continent's oldest known Indian sites have been discovered in eastern New Mexico.

We are led to Albuquerque to visit a couple of mates from Penn State. Albuquerque sits at 5,000 feet above sea level and is positioned in the valley between the impressive Sandia mountains to the east and the Rio Grande to the west. Close by, the Petroglyph National Monument has more than 20,000 images pecked in stone - some recognisable as animals, people, and crosses, others more mysterious. All are inseparable from the landscape and are thought to date back to the 1300's. The exact history and meaning of the images is known only to those who created them.

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Other than the annual balloon festival held in September, the most popular tourist attraction in Albuqueque is the Sandia Peak aerial tram which has been in operation for almost 50 years. Until recently, the tram ride was the longest in the world and takes riders to the top of Sandia Peak at 10,378 feet above sea level and provides an 11,000 square mile view of New Mexico. The belief around the name Sandia holds that the striped appearance of the rocks or the pinkish reflections of the surfaces of the mountain range at sunset reminded the Spanish of watermelon, hence Sandia is Spanish for watermelon.

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Old Downtown includes many original period structures including the San Felipe de Neri church built in 1706. Most buildings though date back to the 1800's with styles from Queen Anne to Territorial and Pueblo Revival and also some Mediterranean are apparent in the one and two storey structures.

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Upon leaving Albuquerque we detour to Los Alamos to visit another Penn State mate who is a scientist with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Los Alamos, also known as 'The town that never was' was established in the 1940's as part of the Manhattan Project to specifically build the world's first Atomic bomb and the Bradbury Science Museum has a number of exhibits showing the science and technology used including an exact replica of 'Little Boy' the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945 during World War ll.

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Posted by V3USA 09:38

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