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New Mexico is one of America’s 50 states. Many people are confused by the name and think that it belongs to Mexico. It is a large state with about 121, 500 square miles, larger than Romania and about 12 times the area of Israel, but sparsely populated with about 2 million inhabitants. In June 2010, Bella and Dan Calistrat visited the area and want to share with you some of their memories. Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico. It is situated in the north central part of the state, straddling the river Rio Grande. It has a metropolitan population of 860, 000 and is the 57 th largest populated city in the United States. It is located at an elevation of 5, 312 ft (1, 619. 1 m) and is the highest elevation large city in the United States.
Albuquerque is located on a plain at the base of the Sandia Mountains, near the river Rio Grande.
Sandía means watermelon in Spanish, and is popularly believed to be a reference to the reddish color of the mountains.
There are three ways to reach the top of the Sandia Mountains: take the aerial tramway that lifts you up from the Albuquerque side; or drive to the top by circling around the backside of the mountain range; or hike by foot all the way to the top. Choose the tramway and you'll climb 4, 000 feet (1300 m. ) in 15 minutes. The drive takes much longer, but the curvy, steep Sandia Crest Road (12 miles long) is a lot of fun to drive--if you do not mind curves and twists. Hiking is only for people in great shape.
SANDIA PEAK World’s longest passenger tramway Total Horizontal Length: 2. 7 miles (4. 3 Km) Total Vertical Rise: 3, 819 feet ( 1145 m. ) Elevation of Lower Terminal: 6, 559 feet (1968 m. ) Elevation of Top Terminal: 10, 378 feet (3113 m. ) Capacity: 55 passengers Average Number of Passengers Per Year: 275, 000 Normal Speed: 12 mph (20 km/h) or 20 feet per second Maximum Clear Span: 7, 720 feet or 1 1/2 miles Number of Tramcars: Two Weight of Each Tramcar Empty: 8, 000 pounds
Sometimes you come very close to the mountain.
On some rides an inspector rides with you on top of the gondola.
The view is great, with the city laying in the valley below.
At night the view is unbelievable!
We decided to climb the mountain again, this time by car. The road was very well maintained and the twists were not very sharp. Bella made sure that I do not drive too fast!
We made it to the top in about one hour. The first thing you see are a lot of antennas.
Albuquerque receives a lot of visitors and has many facilities to accommodate them. We rented a cottage and were very happy with our selection.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an event that takes place in early October every year. The balloon fiesta is a nine day celebration and has around 750 balloons. This is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world and it is widely considered also to be one of the most photographed event in the world.
We were not in Albuquerque in October, and did not see the balloon fiesta; however we enjoyed visiting a very interesting Balloon Museum.
Petroglyph National Monument has an estimated 25, 000 images carved by ancestrial Pueblo people and early Spanish settlers. Many of the images are recognizable as animals, people, brands and crosses; others are more complex. Their meaning was, possibly, understood only by the carver. The images are scribbled on black volcanic lava rocks that cover three hills around Albuquerque. You can look at them as the graffiti of ancient people.
Nice bench with interesting light and shadow display in front of the visitor center.
Graffiti or art?
Albuquerque has an interesting zoo with many animals in their natural habitat.
The real king of the zoo!
Albuquerque has also a beautiful botanical garden.
At the history museum we found an interesting lamp.
Another interesting local museum for all kind of miniatures.
The walls are made from bottles embedded in cement or plaster.
Fences surrounding the museum.
We hope you enjoyed following our trip in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Next presentation will be Santa-Fe and surrounding areas. Presentation and pictures (a few from Internet) by Dan Calistrat [email protected] com June 2010