I hadn't been to Arizona for 13 years,and my strongest memories of it were of the Grand Canyon. This time there were different reasons for travel: reconnection with old friends, a hope of seeing the desert in bloom, and finding a place to explore and soak up its flavors. Phoenix Botanical Gardens gave us the desert in bloom, and there was a reconnection with a friend in one of Phoenix's suburbs. Sprawling, metropolitan Phoenix meant that exploration was done by car, however, not on foot. Even when exploring under brilliant blue skies in a Ford Mustang convertible with its top down, the flavors passed us by at high speed. A side trip to Tucson solved that lack of flavorful experience.
One of the joys of finding a walkable city or town is the chance to truly experience its history and culture. If it is safe and walkable, that means that you can wander practically anywhere, then relax at an outdoor cafe or bar and people-watch. As I've said in other posts, this to me is just as relevant as taking a guided tour through a museum. (Not that I am against visiting museum, I'm just saying that rambles are also a valid way fo getting to know a place. I enjoyed the hours spent in Phoenix's Heard Museum.)
The photos in this post try to capture some of the impressions that Tucson made. The funky Congress Hotel as a base of stay, with a St.Patrick's Day early celebration that would begin at midnight. The farmers' market across the street from the hotel with its high octane coffee beans sold by Cowboy Joe. The streets and plazas with their colorful blend of new and old architecture. The outdoor restaurant where the evening was spent enjoying the sound of The Wayback Machine (our friend was a guitarist/vocalist in it). The Sunday morning quiche flavored with jalapenos and served on the hotel patio. The nearby Tucson train station where a Silver Spike celebration was in progress. These experiences, in my mind, are what travel is all about. Flavor!
Thank you for visiting. I hope that you enjoyed your stay and will stop by again. In the meantime, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.