This past week was Spring Break at the University, so I took some time and drove to Albuquerque for a sort of mini-vacation. One of the few places all the travel guides and websites recommended was Old Town, the original town plaza.
After getting lost on the way (I really need to invest in a GPS), I finally found Old Town off of Rio Grande Blvd. Honestly, at first I wasn’t too impressed: there was a small yet beautiful convent, a small yet beautiful courtyard and a tremendous amount of tourist-y shops selling postcards, shotglasses, t-shirts, etc. However, the more I explored, the more I fell in love with these quaint several city blocks. It actually reminded me a lot of Spain in that when you walk down these tiny little alleyways there are shops, restaurants and street vendors everywhere you look, like a visual stimuli explosion.
I spent several hours just wondering down the streets, exploring all the little shops to try and find some treasures. One of the most interesting shops, in my opinion, was the Christmas Shop. Similar to the larger Christmas Shoppe in Gatlinburg, TN, the shop consists of two floors of Christmas delight, designed to bring out the child in everyone. What makes this shop special and distinctive though, is it’s Christmas trees located on the first floor which are all decorated to a particular theme, including music, sports, school, etc. The two largest trees in the center of the display feature New Mexico artists. Each ornament is hand-crafted and most have not only the artist name, but also the city in which it was crafted. There are also more traditional ornaments to be purchased, but I always had a penchant for the slightly odd and unique 😉