Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Day in Albuquerque - ABQ Trolley, The Candy Lady and Old Town

Albuquerque, New Mexico was one of my favourite places on our Route 66 tour.  They may only get 10mm of rain per year, but it is a rocking place, and I had lots of fun there.  Note all the chillis hanging out to dry - bunches of chillis hung everywhere.
Tim and I started off our free day in Albuquerque with an ABQ Trolley Tour.  I found out about this tour via Lorraine's post, and I was so glad that we did it - the trolley tour was a definite highlight of our trip, and we saw much more and learned much more than we ever could have in such a short time if we had tried to go it alone.  Jesse and Mike, who run the tour, were very cool, chilled guys, and were very knowledgeable about their subject matter.  They showed us both historical sites and pop culture sites, including numerous Breaking Bad sites (although this was not the special Breaking Bad tour).  Here we are on the trolley, posing for a happy snap before the tour:

On the tour, we were shown the various neighbourhoods in Albuquerque, including the "posh" end, the adobe house end and the working class end.  Albuquerque is a popular place for making films and TV series, and Jesse and Mike pointed out various places that had been used as the setting for films and TV (none of which I had seen!). 

I have never seen Breaking Bad, but I learned a lot about it in Albuquerque.  Here is Walter White's house from Breaking Bad:

And here is the Dog House which also features in a couple of episodes of Breaking Bad, and has the coolest neon sign ever, featuring a daschund:

Back to the Route 66 theme, Central Avenue in Albuquerque is part of Route 66 - note the sign featuring the New Mexico state emblem: 

It is hard to see, but this street sign asks motorists to give way to road runners - meep, meep:

There were a couple of crazy houses on the tour, including this one:

Tim won a competition on the trolley by being able to name the author of The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck - my mind went blank when the question was asked), and his prize was this delicious coconut macaroon, which he kindly shared with me: 

The next crazy house has dinosaurs in the garden:

and is shaped like a space ship, with spiral stairs on one side:

William Shatner allegedly visited this house once, and when the owner answered the door, William said, "Beam me up Scotty!"

The trolley tour went past these disused rail yards which are used as a set for films, including Fight Club: 

We went past the University of New Mexico, whose mascot is a lobos (wolf):

Jesse and Mike made us honorary members of the student body by teaching us a wolf chant - no, I am not going to repeat it for you.

Keeping in with the pop culture theme, we learned that the Albuquerque baseball team is called the Isotopes after an episode of The Simpsons, where the Springfield baseball team was threatened to move to Albuquerque:

Going back to Route 66, here is a run down old motel that was once bustling Route 66 accommodation that the government has bought and is thinking of restoring:

Part of our trolley tour "homework" was to go to an old tree stump they showed us in the Old Town to find the surprise.  We did, and here is the treasure hiding away from the street:

Legend has it that the man who carved it died a few hours afterwards.

Another snippet from the tour is that many of the doors, door frames and window sills in Albuquerque are painted blue to ward off evil spirits.

Our next fun stop in Albuquerque was going to visit The Candy Lady.  Here she is, sporting a Walter White T-shirt of the type that you can buy from her shop:

The Candy Lady made the "meth" for the first two seasons of Breaking Bad (yep, it's actually just candy).  As a result, she now does a thriving trade in selling "dime bags" of Breaking Bad style "meth" candy for $1: 

The surprise came in because we only went to the Candy Lady's shop on a whim because Jesse and Mike had told us about chilli flavoured fudge, and I wanted some.  I bought this delicious piece of red chilli and white chocolate fudge:

Now this is where the nice surprise started.  I asked the girl who sold me the fudge where in town I could get the New Mexico state cookie that Jesse and Mike had told us about, the biscochito.  This is a shortbread style cookie flavoured with anise and cinnamon.  Being a baker, I desperately wanted to try them.  The girl said that The Candy Lady sometimes sold them, but she thought they'd run out.  That's when she went out the back, and The Candy Lady herself came to talk to us.  She told us that she had no biscochitos for sale that day, but that she had a couple of leftovers in the freezer, which she kindly gave to us to try:

We ate these later for dessert.  Totally off her own bat, The Candy Lady also dressed me up in a Walter White "Heisenberg" hat and dark sunnies, and took a photo of me posing with her "blue meth" candy.  The kindness with which we were treated at The Candy Lady made my day, and was another highlight of our trip.

For lunch, we went just up the street from The Candy Lady to a cafe behind a deli in the Old Town that sells Bentleys Dingle Berries:

I managed to get a diet root beer - with which I was very happy (because I wanted to try root beer and didn't want the full sugar version):

Tim had a Tuber Fizz ginger ale:

My order was for this barbecue chicken sandwich - it was pretty good: 
We sat outside in the shade of the patio courtyard, which was a lovely place to eat.

Afterwards, we hit the shops for souvenir T-shirts and in my case, a pair of Indian style moccasins - that turned out to be made in Puerto Rico!

We had a great day in Albuquerque - and there's more to come in the next post.

Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town
800 Rio Grande Bvd NW
Albuquerque NM 87104
United States
Ph: +1 505 240 8000
424 San Felipe St NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104
United States
Ph: +1 505 243 6239
Old Town's Best Deli
308 San Felipe St NW
Albuquerque, NM
United States


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed Albuquerque as much as we did. It's such a unique place to visit and the trolley tour is great. Thanks for the shoutout! :D

Kari said...

No wonder you loved it! Those houses are amazing - thanks for letting me peak at them from afar :)

Judy said...

Oh sigh. Albuquerque is my hometown and I'd much rather be there than in California. Glad you were able to see some of the unique houses scattered around town. Hope you have a chance to return someday and see more sights! (Does the Candy Lady still have her X-rated room?)

Kayte said...

Wow, Albuquerque was a hit for you! Loved seeing all those fancy architecture photos, very interesting. You and your candy always find the most interesting things...chocolate fudge with chilis in it???? I haven't seen that movie either but maybe I should...sounds unique. lol