Our tour group was awesome this morning and on time for bus pick-up at 6:30am, but the bus didn’t arrive… Many phone calls and stress for Michelle (our tour organiser) later, the bus turned into the hotel just on 7am, with the mechanic at the wheel (Michelle was already at the concierge about to order taxis for us to get to the airport for our 9am flight and then charge the bus company!). The mechanic had got to the depot to start work and counted the buses and realised he had one more than he should, so he checked the schedule and realised we hadn’t been picked up so high tailed it to the hotel to get all 25 of us and all our luggage! The driver who was meant to pick us up has now been sacked! Seems he’s been unreliable before… What reactive thinking on the part of the mechanic!
Got to the airport terminal and did group check in only to find we had to be in a different terminal than the one that was on Michelle’s itinerary. Fortunately there’s a monorail between terminals! Then the gate changed between check in and the flight, but fortunately it was the gate next to the one we were at. Finally we were on the flight leaving Houston, all present and correct, though not without some very stressful moments for Michelle.
When we got to Albuquerque, our bus for the rest of the trip was waiting for us. And it was luxury bus too. We found out we have the same driver the whole trip (we were originally told by the travel agent that the drivers would change each day). The bus has a toilet, is fully air conditioned, has a power outlet for each seat, wifi, clean windows (some of the other buses have not been so clean), pull down see-through sun shades for each BIG window, very comfy sprung upholstered seats, half a dozen or so TV screens down the middle of the bus, and a microphone for Michelle or Helen or Tristan (our driver) to make announcements. It’s very comfy too, with excellent vision out the windows.
The hotel where we’re staying for two nights in Santa Fe is very top class!
We had a free afternoon to wander the central plaza area in Santa Fe. Then several of us meet at a bar and grill across the central plaza (about 3 mins walk away), where they had happy (two) hour $5 margaritas and $3 food plates (nachos etc).
You can see from the photos below that we’re in Santa Fe! The air is so blue and clear here and the influence of the various Amerindian tribes is evidenced in all the art and jewellery that Santa Fe is famous for.
And then there’s the margaritas….
Photos from the entire tour: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/sets/72157648980759492/