The plan for the morning of October 5 was to sleep in a little (7:30 a.m.), catch a quick breakfast at the hotel, and go to the park that we'd passed the day before that was designated as one of the landing areas for the International Balloon Fiesta. As we listened to the local TV news while we dressed, we slowed our pace. They reported that the Mass Ascension of balloons would not take place because of the wind conditions.
Ah, there's nothing like having to regroup when you're tired. We perked after a little coffee and decided that we would go into Old Town Albuquerque and walk around a bit and then head to the Sandia Mountain Tramway for a ride to the top.
Old Town dates back to 1706 way before New Mexico became a state. We were a little early arriving. The shops weren't open and it seemed that a lot of the restaurants were closed as well--either we were way too early or they were closed for Sunday. The church bells were ringing at the San Filipe de Niri Church and we surmised that the cars parked along the streets were parishioners since not many people were walking the sidewalks with us.
As much as we had seen green chile advertised in food items at the Fiesta and in local restaurants, there were even more chiles here. But these chiles were red and were hanging everywhere in bunches. They lent a striking red accent to the adobe style buildings.
One proprietor just opening her shop saw me taking pictures and told me to wait while she got her sidewalk painting out that showed the flowers of New Mexico. She was happy for me to take the picture and then said we were welcome in the store she was just opening.
While I'm sure Old Town would have been lovely most any other time, our legs felt leaden and we were trudging along. It is a great place to shop for some unique gifts and later in the day it would have been fun to sample some of the local dishes--provided you have your antacid, but we were tired. I think all the hiking and early morning rising had caught up to us. Dare I say at our age it doesn't take long?
After taking a look at another section of Route 66 that goes through Albuquerque, we stopped for another cup of coffee and started our drive out to Sandia Mountain. It was a pleasant drive and we got to see some very nice suburbs. When we made our way to the Tramway, a cable car that goes up to the top of Sandia for great views, we stopped at the entrance and asked how long the wait was. Two and a half hours! Thanks but no,thanks. We turned the car around and pulled off the side of the road a bit to reconnoiter as we say.
A jogger stopped to ask if we needed help. She was happy to give us some suggestions of trails in the area and even suggested a restaurant for us. Once she was on her way, we decided that we couldn't do another trail and would just drive around the mountain a bit.
We enjoyed fish tacos for lunch (no green chiles) and went back to Homewood Suites to pack for our trip home. It would be a long travel day tomorrow. Already Bob had received notice of airport delays in Chicago. Thankfully we both had good books to read. I plugged in my Nook. He plugged in his Kindle. We were ready to go home.