Looking back on Albuquerque

So many friends have asked about my trip at Christmas, and I just haven’t taken the time to really think about  and evaluate my response. So here goes….

1.  The trip was all it was advertised to be, and it was certainly nice not to drive a car for six days; of course the downside was that I pretty much had to stay within the structure, and that’s the part that I was most dubious about—for the past 15 years or more Roger and I had made our own plans, adjusted when we wanted to and had the freedom for a lot of flexibility.

2.  There were about 30 participants, most just like me—widows with little to occupy them during the holidays–there were about 5 couples. I was surprised at the agility of some of the participants who are at least 10 years older than I. The companionship was enjoyable, but superficial; I didn’t really ‘bond’ with anyone in particular. I had a room to myself, as did most of the widows.  This was a helpful way to remove myself from too much sociability, something I find I often have to do.  The room was ample, including a nice desk and lounge chair in addition to large bed and private bath.  In general the hotel was good.

3.Our days consisted of lectures and field trips.  I was so tired the first morning it’s the closest I ever came to actually falling off my chair in a presentation! Part of it may have been reaction to altitude, and partly just the stress of the previous days’ travel—nothing special, just that I don’t do well with the logistics of travel.(or perhaps that I got the de-caf coffee that morning!)

4.Our meals were primarily at the hotel, buffet style.  I would say these meals were the most disappointing part of the trip, but it may be I need to ‘lower expectations’ to simpler food menus than I am used to here where I live. Some of the highlights of the trip included the Pueblo Indian Dancing on Christmas day, the visit to El Tamayo, a wonderful resort in a typical southwestern setting, ( the Santa Clara Pueblo had contracted with Hyatt to build it), the night lights in the city, both the traditional ones and animated lighted ones at a botanical park, several daytime trips to both Spanish historical museums and the Pueblo Indian museum, and trips through Old Town.

5.Our focus was the history and peoples of the area. There was probably more than we could really absorb at the time, but most of the lecturers were well prepared. One Friday night we went to a Reformed Jewish congregation for their Friday night ‘sabbath’—we learned that many Jewish people came with the Spaniards, altho they had officially converted to Catholic faith, they secretly kept some of their own rituals; and generations later, when there was freedom of religion, some learned of their Jewish heritage.

My trip made me interested in possibly another trip, in fact Road Scholars does have Alaska Cruises, which would be attractive to me because of their focus on learning. As to spending Christmas on another of these trips, I may or may not do that; it will depend on how I’m feeling about the holidays by next year.

An extra benefit of the trip was a brief visit with my friends Gary & Susan, I went to church with them and had a light lunch, skipping two lectures in the process. It was so nice to catch up with old friends altho it could not help but bring back memories of past years when Roger would have been part of the group.

So there is both pro and con to a scheduled and planned trip, but I’m in a different place in my life now, so it may be reasonable consideration in the future.  I’m certainly glad I tried it. It would probably be enhanced if I was with someone I knew.