Monday, May 7, 2012


Yesterday, we visited the National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum and the fantastic Torreon Fresco, painted by Frederico Vigil. The work has taken him ten years to complete. The silo type building with light from the ceiling opened to the public in 2010.  Unfortunately, neither place allows pictures. When visiting ABQ, don’t miss the Fresco. We headed for Oldtown, the preserved adobes and quaint shops of the one time business center of an older Albuquerque.

In front of this old adobe hotel from 1706 craftspeople ply their goods.

Inside  a tiled adobe fireplace once heated the  lobby.

Only historical buildings have a  fancy newel post like this one leading up the stairs. The building is now a restaurant and gallery; the stairway was blocked off.

San Felipe Church dates from the 1700s as well.

It doesn’t matter what religion you are or aren’t, the rich wooden door leading to the confessional is something anyone can appreciate. Lighter natural wooden pews contrast with the darkened tile and door.

The church is simple and appears to have had loving care.

Old time buildings have charm, and most of them sell light weight tourist souvenirs and t-shirts and decorator items. I didn’t expect to find anything I’d want to buy. Most of the choices are made for vacationers who want a memory of their trip, or a quick treat or toy while they enjoy the atmosphere.  The covered wagon had a display of hot sauces and our very favorite, hard-to-find,  Marie Sharps sauces were on sale and we grabbed two bottles of Belizian Heat. Jim visited Marie Sharps factory when he was in Central America in 2004.

People get funny about their hot sauces as in XXX rated. I liked the Screw The Republicans and Screw the Democrats best. Both deserve the jab.

And, they get serious about their hot sauces as in Venomous Hot Sauce, only available at the counter, if you dare. I’ll pass. I’ve smelled and tasted ghost pepper once before.

As you wander, cozy courtyards are available to relax and take in the scene. Several have gardens with flowers and herbs. It is a nice way to spend an afternoon. If you get off the main street, the smaller shops have distinctive south-western items, authentically crafted Indian jewelry, costume, baskets and pottery; fair trade items from around the world.  And some good art.

By the time we arrived, we were hungry and we peeked into several restaurants but I wanted to see the buildings on the old El Camino Real and the South side of Route 66. We didn’t find much to see but we ran into a our favorite kind of restaurant. Independent, family owned with many cars in the parking lot. Las Comolear. (Don’t depend on my spelling.)  And two days ago, Los Compadres. We can’t seem to get enough Mexican food, as in everyday.

We didn’t get to all of  Oldtown  and may have a chance to see the rest another day.

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