I was so excited to see where the wedding would take place. I knew she lived in Boston and her fiance, Mike, lived in Albuquerque, where they met while she was stationed there. I also knew she was from Louisiana. I was so excited at the prospect of any of these locations that I tore the invite open as soon as I recognized it in the mail.
"We're going to Albuequerque! We're going to Albuquerque" I sang as I danced around the living room! Mike laughed. Really, though, when else would we have an excuse to visit New Mexico? (Despite the fact that I keep begging Mike to go skiing with me and I had a great time in Taos when I went, like, 10 years ago.)
So a couple weeks ago we packed our bags in preparation to catch our free Southwest flights to Albuquerque via El Paso! As we were packing, I had a realization: "THERE'S AN IL VICINO IN ALBUQUERQUE!!!!" I screamed as I ran down the hall. Again, Mike laughed. (For those of you who don't know what an Il Vicino is, it's my ALL TIME favorite restaurant. There are two in Wichita, and they also have locations in understatedly cool towns like Albuquerque and Colorado Springs). So, with that being said, we didn't have to wonder where to go for dinner!
We arrived and picked up our rental car. It sure is deserty out there! We stayed in a boutique hotel on the "main drag" (Central). It was VERY nice! :) We located the Il Vicino (just down the street!) and headed that way. I've been to 3 Il Vicinos in my time and they're sort of notorious for being small and crowded on Friday and Saturday nights. This one was no exception. A woman was there to take our drink order as we stood in line, so that made it easier to wait! I asked her where the original Il Vicino was and she said that we were standing in it! I was at the Motherland!! I had my favorite: pizza and salad! After dinner, Mike and I went to the rooftop bar at our hotel to enjoy some drinks before bed.
On Saturday morning, after an amazing free breakfast at the hotel, Mike and I went to the ABQ Biopark which features a zoo, an aquarium, botanical gardens and a "beach." We started at the Zoo.
|Train ride between the aquarium and zoo|
|Mamma and Baby giraffe|
|My green chile grilled cheese sandwich!|
The wedding was beautiful. It was a very rustic space (the woodworking workshop of a friend of the couple) and there were many personal touches.
|Flowers in mason jars sprinkled with pictures of the couple.|
|Before hand, select friends and family were asked to make silhouette designs in celebration of the couple.|
|Benches were formed from cinder blocks and 2x6's. An alter was constructed out of wooden stakes.|
|Jen and Mike filled a wine box with momentos (and wine) to be opened on a distant anniversary so they can reflect on these happy times.|
|The wedding cake was his and hers "Chucks"|
I called my dad after the storm passed (I didn't dare call anyone during the storm and distract them!) and he said he was fine, but didn't have electricity. My mom was keeping me posted as she was watching The Weather Channel as the reports came flooding in. In the end, no one died (miraculous), but there was damage to Spirit and Boeing plants as well as many homes and a trailer park was destroyed. My aunt, uncle, 101-year-old grandmother, dad, best friend, and her dad were all sprinkled on either side of the path of the tornado. It did strike within a mile of my dad's house and a half mile from my school. Amazing.
Once I had confirmed that everyone was ok, I could continue with the fun of the wedding reception! After some drinks, dancing and cake, we all got on our bikes (out-of-towners had rented them ahead of time) and went on a bike parade from the wedding venue to downtown Albuquerque! Mike was more than ready to get the bike parade started!
Coming up next.... the rest of our New Mexico trip!