Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall's Twilight - Santa Fe


 Our first night in Santa Fe, the night was brisk with early winter air.  We were unprepared for this chilly exhibition of cold weather.  Sure, we had packed jackets, and pants for that matter, but at less than 30 degrees, the weather exceeded our wardrobe's chill threshold.  We walked directly from our hotel (Hotel Santa Fe), and across to the rail-yards, an area filled with art studios and converted buildings with razor sharp modern facades.  We noted the REI, and knew that it would be a miracle to go 4 nights in Santa Fe without handing over some dough to those people. 


Believe it or not, we went to REI with intentions of purchasing 1 item - swim-trunks.  I know this seems antithetical to the chronicle of shattering teeth and cold chapped hands that I laid out before you prior, but there is an explanation for this.  Our hotel has an excellent outdoor jacuzzi, and we fantasized about laying back in 104 degree water while breathing smoke like a couple of spa dragons.  Since I would have looked like a backwoods baboon taking on the water in my denims, trunks were the only solution.

With the swimwear season a long faded horizon at this point, deals were to be had and on the meager remainders for those with flexible tastes.  I picked up a pair of black board-shorts that fit perfectly, and that should have been the end of our shopping experience.  It wasn't.  By the time we had finally exited REI, we were speaking well worn justifications and wearing brand new winter coats.  It was cold after all, and the Patagonia stuff was on sale.


We took to the gorgeous Santa Fe plaza in the twilight of this late Fall evening.  We could almost smell the snow a few weeks off, and a barbecue in the distance filled the air with a cold nostalgia that I always seem to find in late October.  Our new down jackets snuggled us with warmth while each breath dramatically represented itself as a huff of expelled carbon, vanishing into the dark New Mexican evening.  As we passed by Saint Francis cathedral, an old vagabond approached.  Noting my camera draped across my body, he instructed that I follow him up to the entrance of  Saint Francis.  He had something to show me.  At the keystone of the entrance is a Hebrew Tetragrammaton.  Apparently, the archbishop ran out of money during the cathedral's building, and Spanish Jews supplied the money to finish the building.  He told me it was a very rare instance, and that this made this cathedral exceedingly unique.

 
We moved on through the plaza, searching for a place to rest and take in some regional grub.  Santa Fe has remarkable food.  Using locally sourced organics and world class green hatch chilies, the food takes on a Southwestern New Mexican identity that is grown out and evolved from tradition Mexican cuisine.


We found our spot for dinner, The Shed.  We sat up at the bar while waiting for a table, and met a fellow traveler named Aaron.  We talked about volunteering in India, crisscrossing South America, and other adventures that he had spent his life accumulating.  We told him about our plans to head up to Taos the following day.  He instructed us to take "The High Road to Taos," which is a route that passes through many small villages.  One of the villages, Chimayo, is renowned for its small church that is built on ground with magical dirt.  Many sick people pray at the Santuario de Chimayo and find themselves relieved of their maladies.  As such, discarded crutches line one of the walls of the cathedral, purportedly left behind by those that arrived hobbled and walked away healed.

We did not need any more convincing.  We would go first thing in the morning. 

 HDR train at the rail-yard, Santa Fe's rail service generates over 20 million in losses per year


 A parking garage never warranted a photo before 

 St. Francis church 

 Kristin 

 Hebrew tetragrammaton on church 

The facade of the church with the great New Mexico sky 

 Indian statue

 I really like this cathedral 

The streets around the plaza.  It was pretty quiet.  The high season begins in late November.

The entrance to The Shed courtyard, great food at this place, I will explore it in a later post

Bric a brac

I saw these antlered statues everywhere

Very classic

The sun peaking out from behind me casting a deep shadow 

Every little shop looks interesting 

There are zoning laws that require adobe architecture around Santa Fe plaza 

La Fonda - a great hotel 

The plaza attracts lots of dirtbag adventurers with huge backpacks. I think they may sleep there.  They had a look like you were walking through their living room.

More adobe 


The mountains beyond the city 


It was a really quiet evening 

A French bakery.  We would eat here for breakfast and resent our decision.

 Burro Alley 

Sun setting beyond the state capital 

Funky light store

Ducati at right is flipbags gnarl

A man and his belongings 

Sort of odd, I saw a ton of old school VW bugs

A row of shops beyond the rainbow man 

Night approaches 


My favorite time of day to take pictures is right after the sun goes down, in the quarter light 

Full circle, back to the masssive cathedral 

Glowing Injun

And I give to thee with mine wolf, pretty sure this is St. Francis and his pooch
Not too straight 

Looks like a great place to part with your wallet, but Santa Fe is very safe at night.  Lots of independent woman travelers visit here.  Hell, I think I was the only male at our hotel.

Palace and Cathedral 

Goodnight Santa Fe

A statue I passed on the way back to our hotel 


I should really take pictures of more humans

There was probably a no here at one point, genius 

A little bar 

 Love this car with the mural 

 a live show, it was at Corazon in Santa Fe, avoid this place, the door people were total pricks to me 

3 comments:

  1. Great pictures of the fantastic Santa Fe, Justin!!I really like the "night" pictures.

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