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A Unique Place

sunny 92 °F

"Buenos Dias, Senors, Senoras, & Senoritas";

Don't be too impressed with my greeting for that is about the limit of my Spanish-speaking ability.

Traveltime to Santa Fe from ABQ is fairly short. It took about an hour and one/half and 60 miles to climb the 2,000' from ABQ to Santa Fe. Along the way we drove from steppe to steppe or mesa to mesa. The land is wasteland with sage brush and small scrub bushes growing on it. Red rock outcroppings dot the landscape, and flat-topped buttes are seen in the distance. It is all beautiful in a strange sense.

We found Santa Fe to be somewhat of an oasis in the desert. The tiny Santa Fe River flows through the town creating greenery and the very reason ths site was chosen for the Spanish mission. San Miguel Mission, located here, is the oldest church in the USA. The community was founded in 1610 at a time when the Spanish were exploring South and Central America looking for and discovering gold & silver. Concurrent to that the British, French, & the Dutch were probing the eastern seacoast of 'The New World'. The British & French were interested in developing the lucrative fur trade in the north. The Spanish focus was the gold & silver to enrich their treasuries. Much happened in those early times with vast land transfers from one country to another via treaties. But this is how the matrix of America was created blending these cultures into what we have today.

Santa Fe, we found, is more up-scale than ABQ, and smaller with a pop. of about 80K. The city proper is contained within a circular road carved out of the desert. Zoning laws must be strong for everything in town has the adobe style in various shades of brown. McDonalds, Walmart, etc., reflect this motif. In the city center the streets are narrow and winding and the small shops and restaurants have that Spanish/Mexican flavor.
After getting set up at the campground we drove into town for lunch at the Coyote Cantina, an interesting place noted for their margueritas. Not being familiar with Mexican food, I ordered nachos, and Pat a spicy pancake & shrimp dish. My nachos were piled about 12" high and loaded with about 1/2# of pulled pork. Enough for 3 people. Located on the second floor it was fun overlooking the narrow street and observing the people.
After lunch we toured the State Capitol building. It was the most unusual Capitol building experienced to date. A circular-shaped 4 story building, modern in design, it reflects the state's openness. Light, airy and trimmed with honey colored woods, polished match-book Italian travertine marble, with its walls displaying several hundred pieces of artwork. The paintings are from NM artists and most are of bright colors used often by Navajo peoples. The legislative chambers are half-circular and the connecting hallways are curved, as well. We entered the Governor's Office and I jokingly said to the receptionist, "Is the Governor expecting us?". She laughed and responded, saying. "I'm sorry she is tied up in meetings all day". Everyone was friendly and laid-back with a small level of security, unlike most Capitol building visits these days.

We chose for dinner a historic downtown hotel/restaurant named, La Posada de Sante Fe, recognized by Travel & Leisure magazine. A beautifully maintained adobe structure with Victorian woodwork on the interior. It is was magnificent with each room off the lobby having differently designed parquet/wood floors. We ate outside on their landscaped patio surrounded by waterfalls, fountains, flowering shrubs and trees. The wine & light meal made for a delightful experience.

Tomorrow is more Santa Fe exploring then on Thursday a day trip to Taos, NM, an 'artsy' town.

Posted by dixter 07:06 Archived in USA Tagged santa exposure first fe

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