Travel

New Mexico: the land of enchantment

Whilst it may not be home to Disneyland or the iconic Hollywood sign, New Mexico remains an unsung section of the USA. Away from the bustling tourists that some parts of the United States attract, New Mexico provides a refreshing taste of America as it is. Roswell

Famous for its UFO sightings and the accompanying museum, Roswell is actually a sleepy little town in the middle of the vast New Mexico desert. However, it’s clear to see that tourism is a huge part of their income, as nearly every store on the main street offers various alien memorabilia and souvenirs, insisting that one must ‘believe’.

Whilst the UFO museum is not as big nor as culturally rewarding as many other museums around the world, when in Roswell it is obviously something you cannot miss. It takes you through the history of the UFO sightings, and even has some eye-witness testimonies on display. As no physical evidence of aliens exists, visitors will find themselves amongst an array of model aliens and autopsies (not very realistic but nevertheless, quite entertaining).

Carlsbad Caverns

This National Park is one that many people have never heard of yet it is difficult to think of reasons why. Various limestone formations consume the cave and make it unlike anything else on the planet. It takes around two hours to walk round the entirety of the cave – a walk that is rewarding and well worth it. Visitors are encouraged to stay silent within and are forbidden from touching the delicate rock; the oil from just one hand can stay on the rock for thousands of years and the sound vibrations can slowly erode it away. The cave is also famous for its bats and has a daily viewing in the evening when they take flight. Most interestingly is the incorrectly named ‘Bottomless Pit’; when first discovered by early miners the pit was originally thought to be never-ending. However thanks to later technology it is now known to be 140 feet deep. Although when you stand at the top and look down into the black abyss, it is not hard to see how the mistake was made.

Santa Fe

Miles away from the coast of Spain, Santa Fe is a largely Spanish inspired city. Many of the signs are written in Spanish as well as English and the architecture transports you back to Andalusian villages. Contrary to popular belief, it is the oldest capital city in the United States, and the oldest city in New Mexico. Santa Fe is also home to the oldest house in North America, making this little city seeping with cultural history.

However, tourists attractions are far and few between, the main ones being various museums and cathedrals. The city has maintained the rustic Latin American feel thanks to its small number of visitors. The best place to visit is the historic district, where you can find various boutiques selling turquoise encrusted jewellery – the regions most famed mineral. In the evening the central park turns into a bustling commerce of lights, music and dancing, really embodying the laid-back lifestyle and care-free attitude.

‘The Land of Enchantment’ is New Mexico’s nickname, and after spending a few days passing through the state, it’s not hard to see why. It is one of the only states that manages to capture a snippet of all that America stands for within such a small body of land. Roswell symbolised the radical free-thinking that America embraces, Carlsbad Caverns the beauty of the untouched land, and finally Santa Fe reminds us of America’s roots and the relaxed frame

 

16/09/2014

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mariahferia