Archive for September, 2013

Breaking Bad tour

Meet the Trolley Guys: Jesse Herron (left) and Mike Silva, owners of ABQ Trolley Tours

“Yo, yo, yo, 1 4 8 3 to the 3 to the 6, to the 9, representin’ the ABQ.” With the final episode of Breaking Bad now here, fans of the landmark series can’t get enough of Albuquerque these days – and Albuquerque locals Jesse Herron and Mike Silva, founders of ABQ Trolley Co., are delivering on the goods.

For the past year, this business duo has offered visitors a custom-tailored tour of Breaking Bad’s shooting locations, from Saul Goodman’s office to Gus’s Laundromat. Hop aboard the trolley with these guys — Silva, with his Walter White-inspired black porkpie hat; Herron with a jersey sporting the words “Pinkman,” and get ready to embark on one wacky 3.5-hour odyssey through the heart of the show. And just in case you can’t make it to Albuquerque this season, fret not – this tour isn’t breaking bad anytime soon – here’s what ABQ Trolley’s Jesse Herron has to say.

Traveling Type: What does your Breaking Bad tour cover?
Jesse Herron: The tour is 3.5 hours — it covers about 38 miles around Albuquerque and the show’s major recurring locations: Jesse’s house; Walt’s house, Los Pollos Hermanos, which is about 20 minutes from the center of town, Jesse and Jane’s duplex, Walt’s condo, Saul Goodman’s law office in the Northeast Heights, the A1A car wash, Gus’s house, Gus’s laundry, Mike’s house is on there this season, too … the locations are spread out all over town. There are also many minor locations that riders will recognize seeing briefly from the show. There’s also Breaking Bad trivia with very cool prizes donated from local businesses.

Jesse Pinkman's house

Jesse Pinkman’s house (Photo: ABQ Trolley Co.)

Where do Breaking Bad visitors come from?
Last season it was mostly locals just because they snatched up all the tickets when news of the tour broke locally — this season it’s probably a 50-50 split between locals and visitors from all over the US and the world, like Germany, Australia, the UK, Mexico, the Netherlands, Paris, Singapore and the Philippines.

What surprises people on your Breaking Bad tours?
In the case of locals, they’re surprised that some of the sites — like the Laundromat Gus operates – have been around for years, and they have been driving past it without even noticing it for years. Same goes for Saul’s law office — it would be difficult to identify if someone didn’t know where it was and the fact that there is not, in fact, an inflatable statue of liberty adorning the roof. For out-of-town visitors, a lot of times they expect to see Albuquerque as just a desert — they’re surprised it’s not 115 degrees here … that we do have 4 seasons, there’s a river here, mountains, we have the largest urban forest in America here, one of the best preserved stretches of Route 66 is here, and there’s volcanoes. I think visitors arrive not knowing exactly what to expect but they leave blown away by the landscapes, culture and attractions here.

Is Breaking Bad’s portrayal of Albuquerque fair?
I don’t think Breaking Bad’s portrayal of Albuquerque would be something that would keep a fan of the show from coming to visit. A Breaking Bad fan would never say, ‘I’m not coming to Albuquerque because there’s a meth problem there.’ It’s not a problem here, and that’s not what the show is about — and in no way does Breaking Bad glorify meth or drug use. The locals that say they don’t like the way the show portrays Albuquerque are often the same people who have never seen the show. And, let’s not forget that it’s a TV show, it’s fiction! The show really highlights all things Albuquerque — from the local hamburger chain, local shops like Gertrude Zachary Jewelry to showing the characters drinking local beer, it’s all pretty accurate, down to the zip codes and neighborhoods.

Breaking Bad tour

Stop by Gus’s house (Photo: ABQ Trolley Co.)

How has Albuquerque embraced Breaking Bad?
I think that a lot of the locals are enjoying the new attention that Albuquerque has received because of the show. A handful of businesses have really embraced the show and are having fun with it. There’s a Breaking Bad beer, a Biking Bad [bike] tour, Breaking Bad bath salts (called ‘Bathing Bad’) … Marble Brewery is offering Heisenberg/Walter White-themed beers… you can even buy a sheet of blue candy from Great Face & Body that comes with a mallet and smash it up like Walt and Jesse do on the show.

With the show winding down, how are your tours doing?
This season of Breaking Bad, the tours sell out months in advance and are sold out through the end of October. For those people not booking months in advance, the next best thing is our Best of ABQ city tour — Tuesday through Sunday, twice a day, we have an 85-minute trolley tour of Albuquerque, and if you’re a Breaking Bad fan, we’re pretty accommodating — when you board the trolley (and you let us know you are a fan) we can point out 5 or 6 different locations – like Jesse’s house, the Crossroads Motel, the Railyards, Tuco’s headquarters … visitors can also see the Denny’s showcased in Seasons 4 and 5. Plus, a restaurant in East downtown called the Grove, seen in Season 5, so there’s quite a bit to see on just the city tour.

And what happens when the show ends?
Even though Breaking Bad is coming to an end, we are keeping the tour going — the Bad tour will return next April. We’re going to keep Breaking Bad’s legacy alive in Albuquerque well into the foreseeable future. As long as visitors come to see Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s Albuquerque, we will be here to show it to them.

Every October, normally family-friendly amusement parks transform into terrifying Halloween-themed attractions. Get your adrenaline pumping by taking a trip on an already-hair-raising ride – but in complete darkness. Then, try not to scream like a 14-year-old girl when a “scareactor” attempts to freak you out.

Scarywood

At Silverwood Theme Park’s Scarywood, parents are not encouraged to bring their children during the month of October because it’s … scary. Real scary. Watch out for the ghouls and other “scareactors” that roam the grounds, looking to frighten unsuspecting park-goers. For a particularly harrowing experience, hop aboard the Zombiewood Express, and watch as a group of “zombie killers” picks off the freaky creatures trying to attack the train.

Here’s what you can expect:

Howl-O-Scream

What’s freakier than a super-freaky haunted house? Going through it completely and utterly alone. Start your tour of Busch Gardens Tampa’s Howl-O-Scream with a terrifying tour of the Alone House. After the approximately 20 minutes of horror, you’ll be properly primed for your creepy experience at the Halloween-ified amusement park.

Check out the other thrills Howl-O-Scream offers:

For even more amusement parks-turned-Halloween-playgrounds, be sure to tune in for Halloween Night Frights, premiering tonight at 10|9c.

This Week in Photos

Fashion week continues in Milan, Team USA surprises at America’s Cup and Breaking Bad has 2 reasons to celebrate in this week in photos. While you’re holding your breath for Sunday’s Breaking Bad finale … here are our favorite travel blog posts of the week to keep you occupied.

Gadling suggests thanks to climate change, a country might not be around for much longer. Read more about the Maldives “expiration date.”

Never stayed in a hostel? Swear by them? Nomadic Matt reveals 6 ways to avoid staying in a bad one. Take note.

Budget Travel explains how you can house-sit your way around the world. We’d be game to try.

Johnny Jet plans the perfect long layover at LAX. He says “if your layover is three hours or more, jump in a taxi and take a mini vacation” to Manhattan Beach, CA.

Finally in other California posts, Camels & Chocolate prescribes a perfect day in San Francisco. Start with a stroll through the Haight…

What’s not to love about fall? Crisp cool air, beautiful fall foliage, spooky sites and pumpkin-flavored food galore. There’s no shortage of ways to celebrate fall, but we whittled down our list to 7 of our favorite fall to-dos.

1.     Eat pumpkin … everything.

Ah, America’s favorite gourd — pumpkin! It’s everywhere and in everything this fall — pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin fro-yo, the list is endless. If you’re gaga for this gourd, plan a day for picking your own pumpkins. Perhaps a 1,000-lbs. pumpkin will provide enough filling for your dishes this fall?

2.     Get lost in a corn maze.

Ever just want to get away … in a massive field of cornstalks? Now’s your chance to get lost in the coolest and creepiest corn mazes in the US. Can you make it all the way through 45 acres of twists and turns in the world’s largest corn maze? Just call us if you get lost.

3.     Get spooked at a vampire haunt.

The zombie fad may be passé this year, but the undead superstar that will never lose its appeal? Vampires. Sink your teeth into these vampire haunts around the world or follow the trail of literature’s greatest bloodsuckers with a vampire vacation.

4.     Take a leaf-peeping drive.

Nothing says fall more than leaf peeping, and what’s the best way to take in Mother Nature’s spectacular autumn show? On a road trip, of course. Get inspired with our favorite fall foliage drives and don’t forget to check the peak times before you go.

5.     Raise your steins for Oktoberfest.

Can’t make it to Germany for this annual beer-fueled fall festival? Get your brews and bratwurst at these Oktoberfest celebrations in the US or raise your steins at beer gardens around the world.

6.     Go apple picking.

If you gorged yourself on pumpkin and are craving another harvest favorite, head to these apple-picking farms.  Fun for the whole family, apple picking lets you enjoy the fruits of your labor at home with fall treats like apple pie, apple butter, cider and more.

7.     Make a campfire.

Instead of spending your nights staring at the TV (Breaking Bad is over after all this Sunday), take in a campfire. Fall is a perfect time for camping with its crisp, cool weather. Tell ghost stories and toast pumpkin s’mores over a raging fire (that you will safely put out before you go to bed, of course).

Tell Us: What’s on your fall to-do list?

 

It’s that time of year again. One day you wake up and shiver, realize “Yes, I probably should have worn a coat to work,” and then notice the leaves are slowing changing color. But if you’re just not ready for fall — or you’d like to relive summer one last time — see all of our 2013 photo contest winners in one place.

2013 Photo Contest Winners

1. Bubble Cheeks: ”I was enjoying a fun afternoon with my 4-year-old nephew, who is learning to swim. He was showing me how to make ‘bubble cheeks.’” — Susan

2. A Day in Paradise: ”Hawaii is one of our top destinations. We love to go there every year. This picture was taken at Big Island, HI, on a beautiful day. Look at that sunset — it’s so peaceful.” — Annie L.

3. Mediterranean Marvels: “Sunshine over the Colosseum! My adventure to the Mediterranean this Summer was life-changing. I was captivated by the history and beauty of several of the amazing sites throughout Italy, Greece and Turkey!” — Sable’s Travels

4. King of the Jungle: ”Cute cub. Very aware of mom. We grabbed this close-up while on safari at Tanda Tula. Thought the cub was very cute. Noticed later that mom was much more observant than we initially believed.” — Patrick M.

5. Floating in Paradise: “My husband and I went to the beautiful island of Bora Bora on our honeymoon. Each morning, I would jump off of our balcony into the blue lagoon below. One morning my husband saw me floating and snapped my favorite shot of the trip!” — Tiffaney

6. Heavenly Thoughts: ”Tintern Abbey, is situated in the village of Tintern in Monmouthsire, on the Welsh bank of the River Wye, which forms the border between Monmouthshire in Wales and Gloucestershire in England.” — Tintern Abbey

See all of the finalists in our 2013 Summer Photo Contest slideshow.

Photography by Colin Brynn / Robert Harding Picture Library / Aurora Photos

A symbol of the city, the timeworn “Old Bridge” is recognizable for its overhanging shops, which resemble stacked trunks. More »

Photography by Joel Addams / Aurora Photos

They call it the White Dove of the Desert. But it isn’t a bird at all. More »

Let’s say you get lucky and win this month’s trip to Monte Carlo … you’re going to need a whole new wardrobe, right? Lucky for us, the jet-setting editors at L-atitude, a site that offers travel and fashion lovers a way to shop by destination, provided us with a few things to pack for a luxe vacation in Monte Carlo. Just click on the shopping icon on the image above to see L-atitude’s picks for what to wear in Monte Carlo. The good news is that even if you don’t win this month’s trip giveaway to Monte Carlo, you can look like you just got back from the French Riviera anyway with these fashion finds.

And what’s one of the top things to do in Monte Carlo? Shop, of course. L-atitude also shares their favorite places to shop in Monte Carlo, from the super-luxe mall Galérie du Métropole to the funky flea market Les Puces de Fontvieille. There’s even some shopping for the men — try Formula 1, a boutique that has everything from racing helmets to model cars among its mementos of the Monaco Grand Prix.

So if you haven’t entered the Monte Carlo sweepstakes, now is the time before September ends! And remember, you’ll need something for the beach and casino that says “glamorous globetrotter,” so you better start shopping, too.

 

You May Also Like: 
Win a Trip to Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo Shopping Guide
Luxury Vacation in Monte Carlo

Courtesy of iStock

Travelers flying the friendly skies may be able to use their mobile devices a little longer when taking off and landing. Later this week, the Federal Aviation Administration advisory panel is expected to relax restrictions on in-flight device use as early as next year.

What does this mean for passengers? The new guidelines would ease restrictions on tablets, e-books and previously downloaded podcasts and movies. Phone calls, texts, email and passengers using their own Wi-Fi will still be banned.

Without asking for formal device testing, the FAA will ask airlines to certify their planes can handle any potential interference. The main purpose of the new guidelines will be to create a single policy that covers all airlines. So pretty soon you may not have to be so quick to turn off all your electronic devices come takeoff.

Photography by Chad Ehlers / Stock Connection

Tangerine, rose, ruby and gold are just some of the colors that carpet the tree tops of New England in autumn. More »

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