Santa Fe

November 11, 2012

After a lovely sleep we woke and, looking out into the parking lot, were surprised to find about an inch of snow on the ground. It had been clear before we went to bed but apparently the snow showers we had been having yesterday weren’t finished then.

Breakfast was really good, with hearty porridge, fresh fruit cups and waffles, pastries and toast, plus tea or coffee. Our neighbours at the table were from Evesham (and several other places as well) and they were surprised when we told them that not only had we heard of Evesham, we would be walking the Cotswold Way near there next June. Before long they were telling us about the virtues of Irish goat butter for making shortbread.

Inn on the Paseo

Inn on the Paseo

Today our plan was to walk up to “Museum Hill”, off to the south of the town, to go to the Museum of Indian Art and Culture. We headed off along Paseo de Peralta and then turned up Canyon Road, which is lined with more art galleries and lots of outdoor sculptures. After about a block we turned up Garcia, which according to the map we had got from the hotel would lead us towards the museum. This road went through residential areas which looked like the moderately expensive type. Like everything else we had seen in Santa Fe so far, the houses here were built in adobe style – it’s like there’s a law which makes everybody build adobe homes.

Snow on cactus blossoms

Snow on cactus blossoms

At the end of Garcia there was a crossroad, and at this point our map stopped corresponding to reality. So we followed likely-looking roads uphill for a while. Fortunately it wasn’t as windy as it had been yesterday, although it was just as cold. In the distance we could see a large US flag flying, which we guessed meant the museums were nearby, and eventually we came to the back of the National Park Service offices. We went into their parking lot and around the building, and on the far side we could see a parking lot with cars in it. So we cut through the brush and there we were on Museum Row.

Finding the front entrance of the museum, we paid our admission fees ($9 each) and spent at least two hours touring the displays. There was certainly a lot of Indian arts and culture there. There was pottery making, from all over the West as far away as Alaska. There were also in-depth displays of weaving and basketry, and it was very interesting to see the different styles, methods, and materials which were and still are used by the various tribes. There was a display of Navajo saddle blankets, and a long and complex gallery covering all aspects of Indian culture right up to the present day.

American Indian Museum statue

American Indian Museum statue

We picked up a better map at the front desk and headed back down the main roads to the Inn. By the time we got there it was almost 2 pm – definitely a late lunch! After we finished our lunch we walked down to the town again. First we stopped at Il Piatto, the restaurant that we had wanted to go to last night, and made a reservation for tonight. Then we went looking around the numerous shops. Rosemary found some wool vests which she rather liked, but they were either too expensive or made in China, so in the end she didn’t buy anything.

After that we went over to the Loretto Chapel to see the two-storey wooden spiral staircase which it is famous for. The chapel is now privately owned, but is open to the public and for special events. The story is that when the chapel was first built there was no access to the choir loft, so the nuns prayed and then a mysterious carpenter showed up and built the “Miraculous Staircase”. Made all out of wood, it was very beautiful.

Loretto Chapel staircase

Loretto Chapel staircase

Dinner at Il Piatto was very good, and the service was good too, but it was more expensive than last night. The food and service at Andiamo had really been just as good, for not much more than half the price. We were back at the Inn in time to watch The Amazing Race and then Masterpiece Theater before going to bed.

November 10: Albuquerque to Santa Fe

November 12: The Turquoise Trail

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