An American trip isn’t complete without being in an open field and looking up. It probably isn’t completed until there’s at least one moment where hot air balloons fly into the sky.
After the Chicago train ride, one city stood out and made me ask, what was in Albuquerque? Three years later, I took Southwest Chief again. I ran into the Union Station with a backpack just as it announced the train.
It was a clear evening, not much different from the time on the way to Chicago. I was supposed to go with another friend, but she backed out at the last moment, and most people weren’t exactly interested in a sixteen-hour train ride, though it was the cheapest option during this October weekend.
Sixteen hours passed quickly… After the sun went over the horizon, the train became dark. The moon passed the train in the observation car like it was hanging on a thread as I ate homemade baked chicken and garlic herb buttered couscous. On the train, you see all types of people, those reading a book and those on their phones. Life continues like it’s normal.
I woke up to the red mountains in the desert. Soon, the train arrived at the Albuquerque train station at noon. Within a couple of hours of arriving and getting dropped off by the bus, it started pouring.
There’s something refreshing with wandering so far and ending up in a completely different environment. After checking in, I made it to Old Town Albuquerque. Every building was made of the same adobe-style houses. It was like being transformed into another country, except this was just another state away. The beauty of the history lingered and glowed in the dark, lighting up alleyways that were full of little shops.
Old Town Albuquerque: Recommend exploring in the evening and night for a few hours for the vibes, art, history, and culture.