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.