We left Albuquerque (thank god as its hard to spell in a blog) after a wonderful breakfast among the humming birds at the Bottger Mansion. We had an easy drive up to Santa Fe, NM and of course, opted for the road less travelled. We took SR 14 which is called the Turquoise Trail . We stopped at a small little remnant of a mining town called Golden, then on to the big attraction, Madrid. They say that if you turned New Mexico upside down and shook it all the loose screws, nuts and dolts would fall out and land in Madrid (apparently pronounced "mah-drid").
Madrid is a great artist's community with wonderful shops and galleries. Apparently the area around Cerrillos is only able to be mined by 5 different people/claims. Cerrillos turquoise is quite a bit different from other turquoise found throughout the SouthWest. These miners can no longer use heavy equipment but must mine by hand, pick axe, shovel type equipment only. I don't really care for turquoise normally but actually found a gorgeous pendant that I had to have. Then as we walked around I found the artist in another shop. She mines it herself with one of the 5 claims which she inherited from her father Whalen. He taught her the mining techniques, jewellry making and the art of inlay. We enjoyed talking with her.
Our easy 60 mile side trip landed us in Santa Fe in time to check into our new digs, the Inn of the Turquoise Bear. A gorgeous B&B made in the old adobe tradition with 6" thick walls and ultra quiet rooms. We had a lovely wine and cheese reception, met people from all over the US and then went out to Los Mayos for a traditional New Mexician dinner complete with sangria. YUMMM!