Road 66 goes through Albuquerque from East to West, it contributed to the growth of the city. The neon signs of motels, restaurants, drive-ins and car shops are still present all the way, but most businesses are closed or really run down. We can clearly see in Nob Hill, Downtown and the Old Town that the city is trying to boost the place, making improvements on the actual road and promoting the glorious past of the Mother Road. I found the neon signs and old architecture along the road fascinating.
The growth of the city in the past is also due to the nuclear industry. This is North of the city, in Alamos, that the atomic bomb was born and tested for the first time. In their race against the german, the USA created this massive research and development base contributing to the growth of New Mexico. After the war, the Sandia laboratories have been created in Albuquerque to continue nuclear research. We visited the Nuclear museum and learnt a lot about the Manhattan Project: the creation of the first atomic bomb.
We know Albuquerque for another reason: the TV show Breaking Bad and its spin off Better Call Saul. We toured around to see the main filming locations, it allowed us to see more aspects of the city. It’s also interesting to see how each location contributes to each character’s personality.
On the saturday night we went to see a gig in downtown, the area is a party place, the road was closed and packed with policemen.
Overall, Albuquerque is a weird but fascinating city! I think I’ll come back in a few years, when the glorious road 66 will be more restored, and to see their famous hot air balloon festival, the biggest in the world.
Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul filming locations