About Me

Tired of the mundane and craving an adventure, on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010, I embarked on the ultimate American road trip through all fifty states. After nearly a year and a half on the road, on a budget of less than 50 bucks a day, this is my story...

New Mexico Chapter 2: Santa Fe

Santa Fe International Hostel

Sunday, July 24th
From Albuquerque, I drove an hour north up to Santa Fe, arriving in the evening, and checked into the humble international hostel for the night.  It's a not-for-profit organization, which I haven't heard of for a hostel before, and they get lots of free food from Whole Foods, which they in turn allow the guests to eat!  I haven't cooked for months, so this was a real treat.  I made a whole wheat penne pasta dish with pesto, cheese and tomatoes - excellent!  If I do say so myself :)  Then went into Downtown Santa Fe and had a drink at Rouge Cat (Chambord & Sprite, yum!).  It was pretty dead, but I actually stayed a little longer than I had planned, due to a very friendly, very drunk, very stubborn girl a little older than me, who insisted we be friends, lol.  I didn't get back to the hostel until about 11pm.  Wow, what a full day.

Monday, July 25th
I had a huge bowl of leftover pasta from last night, a cup of blueberry yogurt and a raspberry danish for breakfast, compliments of the hostel via Whole Foods.  I WAS STUFFED!  I did my chosen chore required by the hostel (cleaned bathroom #5), got all cleaned up and headed out for another very full day.

I started my day in Downtown Sante Fe with a visit to St. Francis Basilica - the FOURTH church built on the site (1887), since the year that Santa Fe was founded in 1610.  "The only part of the third church, built in 1714, still existing is the small adobe chapel dedicated to Our Lady La Conquistadora. Brought from Spain in 1625, the statue is the oldest representation of the Virgin Mary in the United States."  I marveled at its beautiful interior, then took a walk in the little "Stations of the Cross" Sculpture Garden out back, before wrapping up my visit.

Brought from Spain in 1625!

Next I took a peek inside the Palace of the Governors adobe building (1610), located on the popular town Plaza.  "It is within the Santa Fe Historic District and it served as the seat of government for the State of New Mexico for centuries. The Palace of the Governors is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States."  I took some time to inspect the beautiful wood-beam ceilings, small doorways, building materials (adobe is a mixture of earth, straw and water) and recreation of the modest governor's office.

I took a little stroll around The Plaza, taking special note of the Spanish, Mexican and Native American people selling their wares on the wooden sidewalk at the palace entrance, as they have for many, many years.  Looking around at the pueblo and adobe houses, shops and galleries around the neighborhood, one can't help but feel a strong sense of the past, the long history of Downtown Santa Fe and its people.

I then stopped into beautiful Loretto Chapel, "a former Roman Catholic church that is now used as a museum and wedding chapel.  It is known for its unusual helix shaped spiral staircase (the "Miraculous Stair"), that may have been created by French carpenter Francois-Jean "Frenchy" Rochas, although the Sisters of Loretto credit St. Joseph with its construction.  It has been the subject of legend and rumor, and the circumstances surrounding its construction and its builder are considered miraculous by the Sisters of Loretto and many visitors."

A Look Inside Loretto Chapel

Next I drove pretty much around the corner to busy Canyon Road, boasting "over a hundred art galleries in a mile stretch.  These include world class Native American, Contemporary, Historic, and Internationally recognized artists.  Great original historic architecture, sculpture, and gardens abound on this fantastic little street."  While I really appreciate art, my favorite part of poking around inside the beautiful little historic buildings was taking in the unique architecture.  Whether you're interested in art or not, this gives you a free tour of homes :)  What does a one bedroom rental cost in the area?  Well as couple of the For Rent signs were listing them at 1,000-1,200 bucks!  Ouch.

My next stop was at the beloved Georgia O'Keefe Museum, where I watched a couple of introductory videos; I loved the 20-minute film about this wonderful artists' career and personal life, and how she became known as the most famous painter of the American Southwest.  I walked around the museum, which had not only many of her works on display, but the diverse works of many different artists as part of its current exhibit, "Shared Intelligence: American Painting and the Photograph."

I wrapped up the day with a visit to the alleged "Oldest House" (1646) and museum, and "Oldest Church" (San Miguel Chapel - adobe walls constructed around 1610).

Great day in Santa Fe!  =)

Pre-Show Tailgate Party at the Santa Fe Opera

At around 5pm I made the trip up to Taos, where I stayed the night at The Abominable Snow Mansion hostel, lol.

Wednesday, July 27th
I spent another evening in Santa Fe, arriving at the Opera House at 8:30pm, in time for the production of Menotti's "Mad Men"-era piece called "The Last Savage," an over-the-top, cheesy comedic opera that "follows an ambitious young Vassar anthropologist on her journey to capture the last savage. She succeeds, they fall in love, and both discover that American 1960s suburbia is far more savage than life in the jungle."  I paid $15 for a standing row seat, which was not what I expected at all - the theatre isn't huge, without a bad seat in the house, the standing row was actually quite comfortable-looking, with a nice table to rest your elbows and a bottle of water, complete with an LED screen that displays the closed captions or subtitles for the show - something that came in quite handy; even with the show sung in English, lol.  Even more surprising was the fellow that came and gathered all of us in the standing rows and brought us to the seats in the balcony at no charge!  Let that be a tip for you folks that might get out there one day - this was a Wednesday, so the theatre wasn't full!  :)  Had I reserved a seat at the opera it would have been $69!  Better yet, I scoped out an empty seat, down near the middle of the FOURTH row from the stage, and grabbed it for third act.  Perfect!  It was there that that I met Marla, who sat in the seat to my right, a kind, conversational woman in her older years, who was happy I moved up to the front.  She said she used to do that all the time in her younger years.  She's been coming from her home in Illinois to the Santa Fe Opera with summer season tickets with a friend of hers for many years now.  Unfortunately, her friend passed away this past year, and her family has let her seat go empty every show.  We enjoyed each other's company, and I wished I could attend with Marla every week. 

Oh, and by the way, it's an interesting contrast, watching the opera one hour, and sleeping in a car the next, lol.

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