Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Driving through Albuquerque to get to Santa Fe was pretty uneventful.  Our ride was smooth, traffic was at a minimum, and the weather fantastic!  There wasn't much to see in this desert landscape but for some cool outcrops of giant bedrock of different colors.  So cool.
What is Santa Fe?  It's a place of healing, a spiritual mini-mecca, a sumptuous adobe haven for a few of the super-rich. It's also a land of hope for thousands of illegal immigrants, a hothouse of talent and IQ with an extraordinary concentration of Ph.D.'s, and more artists than any American city its size.
Artisans sell their wares in the portico of the Palace of the Governors, now the state's history museum and a designated Registered National Historic Landmark.  The Palace is located in the Santa Fe Plaza, where the world's largest Indian Market is held every August selling Native American art, featuring jewelry, textiles, baskets, bead work, quill work, pueblo wooden carvings, sculpture, drums, hides, leather goods and more.

This city is bursting with markets to trade and exchange goods at the crossroads of the old Camino Real and the Santa Fe Trail.  But the biggest draw is still the promise of a spiritual homeland.  You'll find churches of all denominations, Zen centers, Tibetan shrines, New Age "institutes," yoga centers, and thousands of therapists for the body, mind, spirit and everything-in-between.  This is a city where the wounded come for healing, and the seekers come to find.

But I ............. I came to see, eat and shop!  After Gerry and I checked-in at Las Palomas, just a couple blocks from the Santa Fe Plaza, we decided to take a walk to better become familiar with our surroundings.  Award-winning restaurants were plenty, as were the boutiques, markets, churches and chapels, all wrapped up in their own special flavor.  
The Santuario de Guadalupe, "The Soul of Santa Fe" has a very significant role in the religious, cultural, and history of Santa Fe. A very holy place, it's the oldest and still-standing church that is dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe in the United States and Canada. It stands at the end of the famous Camino Real, the main route from Mexico City via Chihuahua to the Southwest. Ancestors came through this route and with them the Franciscan friars who ministered to them.

The Miraculous Staircase has been the subject of legend and rumor, and the circumstances surrounding its construction and builder are considered miraculous by the Sisters of Loretto and many visitors.  To read more about the Miraculous Staircase, go here.
You'll find a part of Route 66 along the Santa Fe Plaza.
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Chapel of San Miguel was originally built in 1626, although nothing on that building remains.  The Pueblo Revolt began with the burning of San Miguel.  The chapel's sculpture of San Miguel, the church's patron, was carved in Mexico in 1709.  (Photo source)
The interior of the Chapel of San Miguel (photo source)
There's not much to this building other than it's reported to be the oldest house in our country.
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More about this adobe building in this great little read here.
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The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is dedicated to the life, art and legacy of Georgia O'Keeffe.  I highly recommend visiting this world'class museum.  Do not mistake the museum for the Georgia O'Keeffe Houses.

The kiva ladder is an important element of southwest decor.  The ladders were used by the Tarahumara Indians for generations to enter their adobe homes which, most times, were stacked much like an apartment building.

Spendid sculptures are plentiful throughout Santa Fe.  (Photo source)

Gerry and I enjoyed our delicious food and libations too much to even take photos of them.  That's quite disappointing, but if you get a chance to pick up your bootstraps and get yourself to this relaxing and lovely piece of the earth, remember that the most important question in the state of New Mexico is "red or green," referring to the Hatch chiles.  Southwest food is outstanding.  My favorite, by far, was the sopapilla, a fried pastry bread sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar with honey on the side.  Delicioso!

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