Friday, August 1, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Belltower: The high life in Albuquerque

By
From page A4 | January 27, 2014 |

No, we didn’t go night-clubbing in Albuquerque, N.M. We rode what the AAA Guide calls “one of the world’s longest” aerial trams. It is, if I recollect correctly, the longest in the U.S.

It’s even less expensive than the Tahoe Heavenly Tram. Of course, the Sandia Peak Tram Co. in Albuquerque crams a couple dozen or more people in each tram. It really seemed like 30-40, but I may be exaggerating.

Built in 1966, the tram travels 2.7 miles from 5,000 at the base to 10,000, where one arrives to look over a the forested backside of the peak that dominates the Albuquerque skyline. In the winter that area is a ski resort. In the summer it has 25 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking. At that elevation in October it was cool at the top. We did not linger. We took a quick look and got back on the tram before it filled up and we had to wait for the next one.

Albuquerque, of course, is famous for its balloon festival, an event our trip wasn’t able to time itself to see. One doesn’t have to fly to Albuquerque to see a balloon festival. Reno, Nev. has an oustanding balloon festival in September.

The Albuquerque Art Museum had mostly regional art, most of it financed with bond issues. The exterior of the museum, though, was sprinkled with some pretty neat sculpture. My favorite was a huge historical sculptural tableau involving multiple figures that included Spanish conquistadors, Indians, vaqueros and settlers. Albuquerque was founded by the Spanish in 1706. It was named in honor of Don Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva, the 8th Duke of Alburquerque (first r later dropped).

There was also a group of various figures, my favorite of which, naturally, was someone reading a newspaper.

When the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad came to town in 1880, it bypassed the main square by two miles. Today the main square retains its original Spanish layout and is surrounded by the usual assortment of restaurants and stores catering to the tourist trade with overpriced goods. Just off the square is a shop that carries Pueblo Indian pottery all recently made by specific artists with high quality patterns. The shop owner invited me to photograph the pottery, which turned out to be an inexpensive way to collect a few of my favorites.

Also fronting the central plaza is the 300-year-old church, San Felipe de Neri. It is a popular wedding location. The day we walked around Old Town Albuquerque there were two weddings scheduled back-to-back in the church built in 1793. As one bride and her party entered the church another bride and groom  and her wedding party were being photographed in the garden in front of the parish hall. Meanwhile, a third party waited in the shade of the trees on the plaza.

There is plenty of parking for Old Town, two short blocks away from the plaza. And next to that parking is the Albuquerque Art Museum, making a real two-fer. Across the street from the art museum is a natural history museum, not on our list of things to do.

We’re partial to art museums. And I especially like public ones that let you take photos of the art. We did visit a history museum in Santa Fe, but it required too much reading, which slows one down. Also, history museums don’t like people photographing their artifacts. Art museums are easier to absorb at a good walk. A lot of modern art can be seen by speed walking. Other art can require a few moments to absorb and then move on. I did the National Portrait Gallery in London in half an hour flat. Of course, that was before I started photographing the artwork with a good quality digital camera. I spent 30 minutes selecting high quality slides in the gallery’s gift shop to use for the college art history course I was teaching at the time.

Michael Raffety is editor of the Mountain Democrat. His column appears biweekly.

 

 

 

Comments

comments

Michael Raffety

.

News

Cameron Park house burns

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Supes delay petition

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

Fire generated small city, inspired volunteers

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Sand Fire 95% contained

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
Two fires in town

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A3

SUV hits parked cars

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

The weekly Daley: The wrong side of history

By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

 
Billingsley’s bullets: Advice from my psychiatrist

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: A4

.

Letters

Second Amendment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Pollock Pines’ Fourth of July Parade

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

Water conservation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Koby

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Debt reduction at EID with Coco?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Time for change in CP

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Olives need less water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
EID rate discrimination

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

.

Sports

Camp draws good numbers

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
New law tackles gridiron concussion problem

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Outside with Charlie: Rafting denied

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A9

 
Racing returns with big 5-division card

By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A9

Roundup: July 31, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A10

 
.

Prospecting

Sing while you paint

By Placerville Arts Association | From Page: B1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
Plenty of golden fun during SlugFest

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Things to do: Aug. 1, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2

 
The making of a champion

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B2

Art on the Divide is showing new exhibitor

By Art On The Divide | From Page: B3

 
‘The Flu Season’ stirs emotions

By Ovation Stage | From Page: B4

Guitar group performs in Sutter Creek

By Sutter Creek | From Page: B5

 
Time to register for classes at Center Stage

By Center Stage Dance Academy | From Page: B5

Get a groove on in Sutter Creek

By Sutter Creek | From Page: B8

 
Chris Young in concert at Carson Valley Inn

By Carson Valley Inn | From Page: B8

The music continues at Bear Valley Music Festival

By News Release | From Page: B8

 
Sacramento Museums are celebrating

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B9

 
.

Essentials

Weather stats

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: July 17-19

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Mark A. Smith

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Jeffie “Jeff” Lee Callahan

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Patsy Ruth Wing

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Lisa Oliver Rose

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Larry A. Randall

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

Decorating your home by the numbers

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

 
Avoiding the deal killers

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

Press Release | From Page: HS7

 
Luxury home sales jump

Press Release | From Page: HS11

 
Pending home sales decrease in June

Press Release | From Page: HS13

 
Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

Press Release | From Page: HS17

Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

Press Release | From Page: HS23

 
.

Comics

.

Home Source

Decorating your home by the numbers

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

Avoiding the deal killers

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Luxury home sales jump

Press Release | From Page: HS11

Pending home sales decrease in June

Press Release | From Page: HS13

Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

Press Release | From Page: HS17

Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

Press Release | From Page: HS23