Day Nine – Santa Fe

If you get one ol’ woman, you better get you five or six So if that one happen to quit you, it won’t leave you in no awful fix. —Buddy Boy Hawkins, “Awful Fix Blues,” 1927

Santa Fe tourist area and also showing Santa Fe Railyard

Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in North America (400 years). Through Centuries of trade and governance, it has evolved from a mix of Native American, Hispanic, Mexican, and Anglo cultures. Located at 7,198 feet above sea level in the Sangre de Crotos foothills at the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains(Official Visitor’s Guide)

Yeah, she left early one mornin’,
she left on the Santa Fe
You know that old Santa Fe,
big, bad luck to me
You know that old Santa Fe,
big, bad luck to me
You know, it taken away my lover,
sin got my old time, used to be – Santa Fe Blues – Lightning Hopkins

Bernie and Hoff set out early to scope out the plaza and the artist’s market. They have sent back a message to let us know where they are having breakfast. Another bright blue sky but very chilly. We are at 7,000+ feet elevation (explains the chilly wind) and until you get used to the thin air you should not overindulge in alcohol. Could be a cheap shout tonight, at least I will get value for money. We ordered an Uber to go to the diner where Hoff and Bernie are having breakfast. The first Uber cancels and we had to wait 20 minutes for a ride. The driver is from Pakistan but has been in Santa Fe for some time. I said why Sante Fe, and he said he met a Navajo lady via a dating site. She went to Pakistan and they were married. It was a time of violence where he lived. He was scared to let her out of his sight so they came back to Santa Fe and he loves it. Oh, as is the case with Pakistani drivers back home we talked about cricket.

We finally got into the beautiful town square. Fantastic old adobe buildings, Many of the Pueblo Indians have set up their stalls around the grassed fringes. The boys have finished their breakfast and have decided to check out more of the plaza and its surroundings. We have already booked a two-hour guided walking tour for 2 PM. Wendy and I have decided to have breakfast at the Plaza cafe. The diner is bustling with tourists, all the staff look to be Mexican and are all kitted out in white shirts and black bow ties. I decided to have Pork and Hominy stew with red chile. You always get an option of the type of chile to be used, red, green, or Christmas tree, being a chile that is turning from green to red. The stew was listed as a breakfast dish. Wendy opted for a more standard fare of bacon, hash browns, and eggs sunny-side-up eggs.

Photo – Chiles are for eating and decoration

We caught up with the boys and had a wander around. There are many T-shirt and souvenir shops. art and jewelry stores and men’s and women’s clothing shops. Although most of the shops are for tourists they are not of the normal tacky type. In fact, a lot of the stores are selling very high-priced items. We found a year-long trading Christmas Store, and Wendy has two New Mexico ornaments for the Christmas tree.

We had a look inside the very impressive Cathedral Basilica St. Francis and then looked around the Museum of Contemporary Native Art. The whole area is well set out and is rich in history. There are many fabulous sculptures to look at. I went into one of the clothing stores and was taken by a Western Shirt. However, the USD450 price tag sent me scurrying.

Photo – St. Francis Cathedral

Hey Kate and Cara we have found a Mac and Cheese cafe. they specialize in 30 different combinations of Mac and Cheese, unfortunately, we are all still full from breakfast. Next, we take a walk for a few blocks to Cafe Vinyl, records, books a roasted coffee. I decided to get one of their T-shirts,

This trip has been all go, go, go as it should be. So many new sights to explore. I am, to be honest, struggling with so much walking and decided to pull out of the two-hour walking tour, I know that I would be lagging too far behind, but no problem as I am a serial people watcher and I have decided to sit out the time at the plaza and enjoy an ice-cream.

Photo – The Plaza

I will hand it over to Bernie now to provide a few insights into what was learned during the walking tour.

Our guide, Thomas, is full of superlatives about his hometown, Santa Fe. “You are all family, now, as visitors to Santa Fe. Welcome to the center of the world.” He is a descendant of the Pueblo Indians, who created the unique architectural style of adobe brick buildings. Almost all buildings in the center of town are flat-roofed and there is a planning rule in place – all buildings must be one of the twenty-one shades of terracotta/brown. Riche Benaud would have been in heaven here! The most common trim for doors and windows is sky blue. We get to lift a brick and they are extremely heavy. That keeps the heat in at winter and out in summer.

The Pueblo tribes are peaceful farmers and builders – not like the Apaches and Comanches. They love to fight – bad buggers. Pueblo Indians traditionally marry outside their clan and take on the clan custom of the wife. It is a matriarchy, where the woman is the boss. What’s new! To divorce, the wife simply leaves all the husband’s belongings on the doorstep. All over red rover! We learn that there are nineteen Pueblo tribes that speak five languages. Despite the common languages, they don’t understand each other.

The Spanish Missionaries ruled this part of the world for most of the 16th and 17th centuries. They were Franciscans who set up churches and converted many locals. We visited San Miguel Chapel, the oldest church in Santa Fe. We each ring the bell. Thomas assures us that we are guaranteed to return to Santa Fe as a result.

Day Eight – Santa Fe

Ashes to ashes, sand to sand Every married woman has got a back door man. —Seth Richards, “Skoodledum Doo,” 1928

We are greeted with a bright crisp morning although last night’s forecast was for rain. We are heading to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a two-night stop-over.

As we drive through Farmington we realize that it is a bigger town than we thought. We turn onto Highway 44 heading toward Cuba! We cross the San Juan River again. Cattle are grazing and I guess the landscape could be described as a prairie. A heavy cloud is building up in the distance. I look out to my left and spot 5 small white crosses on the side of the road, that must have been a nasty accident. Time for a toilet stop and as we get out of the car we all comment on how cold it is.

As we approach Lybrook around 10 AM the countryside changes again with more squat trees than the very low scrub (prairie). I have noticed that every 10 miles or so there is a road sign saying ‘Report Drunk Drivers’. They all have bullet holes in them, don’t upset drunk drivers! There is rain visible in the distance as we drive past the Apache Nugget Center and Casino. We are now only 17 miles from Cuba and are now at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Here we go we just crossed the Continental Divide and the elevation has risen to 7,380 feet. Mountains are now directly in front of us and Pine Trees now come into view. We have just hit Cuba and I was keen to stop for some ‘Amish Style Homemade Baked Goods’, however, we motored on. We turn onto South 550 near Bernalillo and we can again taste desert dust.

Turning left onto Interstate 25 and we are now only 25 miles from Santa Fe. We hit our (Santa Fe) our destination but it still is too early to check into the Air BnB We made a slight detour to the Sante Fe Market Railroad district. It looks like it was once a warehouse district with the main Santa Fe Rail Station in the middle. As with a lot of industrial areas worldwide that no longer function as such the area has been turned into an arts district, with eateries, and clothing boutiques. We decide to have a late breakfast at Opuntia, a trendy type of bar/restaurant. The food was pretty good (stayed tuned for another Food Blog from Hoff).

Photo Above Santa Fe Railroad District

We had a look in a couple of the art galleries. Very good work on display and the art is for sale but oh so expensive.

We checked into our Air BnB and it is very acceptable.

Bernie Wendy and Hoff have booked to go to a Wine Bar.

Photo Above Herve Wine Bar

I am feeling pretty shattered and decided to stay home. I found a T.V. station that plays old Western Movies 24/7. How is this for a coincidence? The movie that is just about to start is …… wait for it ….. the 1951 release of Santa Fe a story about the building of the Santa Fe railine. The movie stars Randolph Scott. So here I am sitting in Sante Fe watching Santa Fe.

The crew got back at about 9:30 PM and from the sound of them they had a good night.