• Day 10

    Meow Wolf

    December 21, 2022 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 1 °C

    Meow Wolf was a highlight of this trip. I have already been to other immersive art experiences, and I was afraid of it being a bit of an overpriced tourist trap, but it exceeded my expectations. It was so much fun! We spent two hours there (until they kicked us out), and I could have stayed longer.

    There are so many secret passages, little fun details, and entries to other worlds! For example, you can go into a room and start reading the journal of one of the kids that supposedly lived there, or an arts magazine full of funny hints, just before opening the door of a bridge and walking into a completely different fantasy world. Or a fireplace. Or a washing machine! 100% worth it.

    The place was full of children running around, but I have to say that, as a kid, this whole space may have freaked me out. Some of the images and sculptures were somewhat creepy, and the story of the family that serves as a frame for the whole experience could be disturbing for a delicate creature such as the one I was.

    After Meow Wolf, we went to Joseph's Culinary Pub for dinner. This is a nice, somewhat fancy, well-reviewed place, and we enjoyed our food, but it wasn't one of my favorites. Maybe I was already feeling too full after several days of dining out and having heavy meals.
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  • Day 10

    Bandelier National Monument

    December 21, 2022 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ -1 °C

    I had read good reviews about our hotel's breakfast, and they weren't wrong. They offered a selection of dishes and espresso drinks, besides pastries and fruit. I had a lox bagel, and Dean got a breakfast burrito. Quite a nice change after the mediocre Marriott breakfasts!

    There are a number of attractions you can visit around Santa Fe, and we decided to go to the Bandelier National Monument. I'm glad we did because it is such an interesting place. Ancestral Pueblo people built homes in the park's canyons and on the mesas. They lived here from approximately 1150 CE to 1550 CE.

    We had lunch at an excellent (but expensive) salad restaurant, Vinaigrette. It was nice to get some healthy food and greens. We had been missing some of those...
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  • Day 10


    December 21, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Being a Spaniard, I sometimes feel that I've seen enough catholic churches to be covered for the rest of my life. It turns out that's definitely not true, and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is proof.

    What an exciting place!
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  • Day 9

    First day in Santa Fe

    December 20, 2022 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

    There's not a lot on the road between Roswell and Santa Fe, and we stopped for lunch in the only restaurant in miles, the 50's style diner called Penny's. We arrived in Santa Fe around 3.30PM and stopped for a coffee at a travel-bookstore-meets-cafe, Travel Bug. I feel we need to ensure Joan's travel memoir makes it here whenever it gets published!

    We haven't had time to see much of Santa Fe yet, but so far, it looks like a very cute and friendly town. We walked down Canyon Road, a beautiful street full of art galleries. The buildings are lovely! The gallerists were welcoming and explained a lot about the artists. Steve Elmore Indian Art, for example, had a nice collection of Native American art with beautiful pottery. TKTK showcased a lot of TK kinetic sculptures, which were super fun to play with. TKTK showed us the work of TK, a Chilean artist now based in Santa Fe who makes gorgeous sculptures. And I really would have loved to buy the colorful wood furniture we saw at TKTK.

    The galleries shut down at 5PM and we went to our hotel, Las Palomas, which I loved. Coincidentally, we had dinner at a nice restaurant also called Paloma that served delicious Mexican-inspired food.

    It felt quite cold walking home, and the river and streets were iced, but I can't wait to see more of the city.
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  • Day 9

    Roswell, NM

    December 20, 2022 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 0 °C

    Roswell is such a fun little town! They have absolutely embraced the 1947 Roswell incident, when some people reported the crash of a flying saucer and posterior coverup by the US government, and the stores, coffee shops, and even the street lights are covered with alien and UFO references.

    We started by having coffee and pastries at Stellar Coffee and then went to the International UFO Museum and Research Center. What a fun and ridiculous place! It covers the history of the 1947 Roswell incident and other phenomena related to UFO research from a very "believer" perspective, to put it that way, and it hosts a few displays with aliens, flying saucers, and so on.

    After the museum, we walked a bit around town and went into some of the stores selling t-shirts and other souvenirs with space messages and UFO puns, some of them kind of questionable, such as a Mexican-dressed alien under an "illegal alien" graphic.

    It's worth noting that Roswell, like much of the area we have gone through during this road trip, is very conservative. In the last days, we have seen signs with anti-abortion messages, anti-Biden slogans, pro-Trump flags, gun stores and ads, and a guy in San Antonio wearing a t-shirt that said "don't California my Texas," whatever that means.
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  • Day 8

    Carlsbad Caverns National Park

    December 19, 2022 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 6 °C

    The Blue House Bakery & Cafe in Carlsbad seemed to be the most popular and best-reviewed coffee shop in the area, and reasonably so. The place was cute, the staff was very friendly, and the pastries were tasty. It was also packed with many locals waiting in line when we arrived. Still worth it, though.

    After breakfast, we headed to the Carlsbad Caverns. We weren't able to get a ranger-guided tour to the King's Palace (it's good to know that they release some slots every morning, and you can get one if you arrive early) but, in any case, we had an entry reservation to the Big Room Trail. You can hike from the cavern's Natural Entrance or take an elevator down, but I'd definitely recommend making the longer trail. We did it, and it was wonderful, not crowded at all, and truly impressive. The caves are huge and have all kinds of different rock formations and geological features.

    Dean had to attend a meeting right after, so we went straight to lunch at a Mexican place, El Charro, before heading to Roswell.

    We had considered making some stops before arriving in town, but we were already a bit late, so we went directly to Roswell. We arrived at sunset, right on time to stop at the funny welcoming sign on the road, which displays a flying saucer and aliens interacting with humans while trying to fix their spaceship. Roswell has fully embraced its UFO-connected history and the town is capitalizing on it on every single detail.

    We had dinner at a place across the street, Pasta Cafe Italian Bistro, before going back to the hotel.
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  • Day 1

    First night in New Orleans

    December 12, 2022 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    We arrived in New Orleans around 8PM, after a long day of traveling from Spain, so we checked into our hotel and went for dinner immediately. We had made a reservation at Marjie's Grill, a casual but popular and well-reviewed place serving Asian-Gulf Coast fusion dishes. Of course, the food was a bit too spicy for me, but I was expecting that. Dean enjoyed it, though.

    We were pretty tired and jet-lagged, and we returned to the hotel right after dinner. The hotel, The Eliza Jane, was lovely! Apparently, Eliza Jane Nicholson was a poet-turned-heiress who became the country’s first woman publisher and turned a local paper into a national institution. The building and rooms have cute details and decorations, and there is a nice bar downstairs.
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  • Day 103

    Acrobatics at the Chamäleon

    September 25, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    I had been meaning to go see the show at the Chamäleon theater for a while and my friend Fernando's visit was the perfect opportunity for it. And what a wonderful show! The company Gravity & Other Myths offers a combination of music, dance, theater and acrobatics in a super fun, playful, and engaging performance, called "The Mirror." The artists were impressive and the set, with live phone cameras and LED lights, was very creative and innovative. The three of us loved it.

    They'll play another production in November, "Out of Chaos", and now I'm very tempted to go see it as well.

    We went to an Italian restaurant nearby for dinner, Pizzeria Garda, that was full of people who had run the Berlin marathon that morning and, in some cases, were still wearing the medals.
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  • Day 98

    Metropolis at Kino Babylon

    September 20, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    I had been meaning to watch Metropolis since I went to the Deutsche Kinemathek museum, so I got pretty excited to see it playing at the Babylon theater. Not that it's a rare occurrence, but it was one I wasn't aware of.

    This was also an excellent opportunity to check out yet another cool movie theater in the city. The building that hosts Kino Babylon was erected in 1929. In 1948, under the German Democratic Republic, the theatre was renovated and screened films from the State Film Archive of the GDR, state film and television, and documentary films made by the state-owned DEFA studio, among other films.

    Years after reunification, in 1999, the theater was restored again because of the danger of collapse. The restoration was awarded the "German Award for Monument Protection". The orchestra pit was restored so that a chamber orchestra could play live music during screenings of silent films. In 1999, the 70-year-old cinema organ was restored, becoming the only cinema organ in Germany that is still played in its original location.

    Since then, the Babylon theater has been used primarily as an arthouse cinema venue, and it hosts festivals and events. For example, it was a Berlin International Film Festival venue from 2008 to 2010. It has its own orchestra, which allows them to show silent movies with live music, which is what we saw in the Metropolis screening.

    I enjoyed the movie a lot, and certainly more than what I was expecting from an old silent movie!
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  • Day 4

    Gropius Bau

    June 18, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Berlin is going through a heat wave. It's not the worst I have experienced, and staying in the shade is still quite nice, but we decided to escape the heat by going to a museum.

    Gropius Bau was wonderful. I enjoyed the exhibition by Indian photographer Dayanita Singh. Her little "museums" collections of photos in small folding books format are beautiful and intriguing. I loved her pictures of busy, messy file rooms and the series 'Time measures', featuring bundles of documents that she found in an archive in India wrapped in pieces of red-colored, faded fabric, almost bloody looking, that look the same but unique at the same time. The building was also featuring a piece by Emeka Ogboh, 'Ámà: The Gathering Place', a massive colorful tree sculpture with sonic elements and beautiful seats covered in Akwétè cloths, which are hand-woven textile produced in Igboland, Nigeria.

    But the building! The building itself is gorgeous! It was designed by architect Water Martin Gropius (a great uncle of Walter Gropius) and Heino Schmieden. It was severely damaged at the end of World War II and reopened in 1981 after some reconstruction work. Further renovation took place in 1999, and it's beautiful! Some parts show the previous state and the new one, and the space has detailed mosaics and decorations.

    Here is a fascinating fact: until reunification, the building stood on the border between East and West Berlin, literally next to the wall. This spectacular renaissance-style building was so close to it that the main entrance on Niederkirchnerstraße had to be moved to a side because the original faced that stupid, horrifying separation. Just another one of those details around Berlin that remind you of its bizarre, cruel history.
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    Very interesting story about the building, Marta... and the art displays. It sounds very unique! When I googled it to see some photos, google told me I should also attend Einstein on the Beach, which apparently is not on the beach but on the stage! It seems like there is much to discover in Berlin!


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