Written by SeenThat on 10 Sep, 2007
The name El Dorado immediately suggests dreams of vast, hidden fortunes and has mobilized people for centuries all over the Americas. Those quests created treasures of traveling experiences and very little else.However, the name became a synonym of an unaccomplished, unattainable dream. Soon after my…Read More
The name El Dorado immediately suggests dreams of vast, hidden fortunes and has mobilized people for centuries all over the Americas. Those quests created treasures of traveling experiences and very little else.However, the name became a synonym of an unaccomplished, unattainable dream. Soon after my arrival at Santa Fe, I was invited to Eldorado, a tiny settlement twenty miles south of the city. Was the name misspelling a casual error, or did it indicate an attempt to change history’s course?Before I could properly tour the place, we entered a vast, low house and I found myself with a steaming cup of coffee in my hands."What was the dream behind this Eldorado?" I asked my host."We want to be a self-sufficient community."My question was in place. Suddenly my host was a blur of quick movements dragging me out, to the yard. I made a mental note: next time ask such a question only after finishing the coffee.In the yard, while standing next to a monstrous 4x4 vehicle, my host tried agitatedly to explain all the dream’s details at once. Shutting off his voice, I relaxed and began looking around at the five or six houses arranged around us. Despite being part of the Santa Fe County, all the houses were built of thick adobe bricks and coated with a pastel-colored cement layer; as per the city’s regulations.All the houses had a water collection system which led rain water from the roof into big black plastic tanks, which were tightly closed. Later, I learned this water was mixed with the one provided by the county and re-filtered before consumption due to the heavy and radioactive metals polluting the area. My host told me it there wasn’t enough rain in the area and thus they couldn’t be autonomous in that aspect.Most houses had expensive photovoltaic solar panels. At $30000 each, they supplied all their electricity’s need and enabled selling the surplus to the county’s network. "It saves me $30-40 per month," my host said with shiny stars in his eyes. "It would take you a thousand months to cover the expense – I countered and continued – why don’t you use cheap thermal solar technology and cover the expenses within one year?"He seemed puzzled by my unsophisticated, primitive, reaction. After a second or two, he replied slowly, so I would understand:"Oh, that’s too old; we want to be on the technological edge," he dismissed my weird idea. I corrected his earlier definition: they want to be an ultra-modern self-sufficient settlement.The houses were surrounded by huge yards; most of those were empty while others featured a few trees. I recognized young Ponderosa Pines, which held the promise of turning into majestic trees. On the sun spots among them, lazy lizards tried to shake-off the residues of last night coldness. "Why don’t you grow vegetables and create self-sufficient salads?" I asked while calculating the slim probability of taking a good photograph of the nearest lizard. "Because they will be polluted," he answered patiently."I still do not understand – I continued nagging – how people live here. Do they work in Eldorado?""We have around five thousand houses and most residents work in Santa Fe or Albuquerque.""Are you self sufficient with the gasoline or with the cars?""Even if there was oil under our land, it wouldn’t be ours due to the local laws."At this time I decided to show mercy and drop the topic. After a quick meal prepared with products brought from all around the planet we toured the little commercial center by the settlement’s main entrance. The attractive garden at its center was half-covered by a wood pavilion and surrounded by several shops. Beyond the compulsory supermarket, the pizza and the coffee shops there was little else. What caught my attention was that local products and foods – like roasted chilies – were completely missing there.From Canada to Chile, endless versions of El Dorado were founded, each fuelled by its own dream, which invariably turned out to be just another Utopia. However, in the era of the Global Village, we are all part of one vastly complex human matrix. Nobody is completely independent of society and society is – to some extent – dependent on each one of us.No society is independent from the rest of humanity. Any gadget in our pockets enabling a dream of autonomy had been probably produced with parts designed and produced in a zillion factories. Enjoying the productive force of the whole humanity creates the responsibility to care for the weak parts of it.Our fellow writer, SkewedStyle, is providing a fine example by caring about children in Malawi finishing their education. The noble dream of self-sufficiency would never be accomplished while a single child across the earth cannot finish his – or hers – education, please visit our website and help transform that dream into reality. Close
Written by SeenThat on 16 Aug, 2006
"Let's climb the Mountain," I was told enigmatically by a local Santa Fean.
My puzzlement was obvious: at Santa Fe's northern border are the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Jemez Mountains are close and many small, spiky, hills are scattered all around.
She couldn't help…Read More
"Let's climb the Mountain," I was told enigmatically by a local Santa Fean.
My puzzlement was obvious: at Santa Fe's northern border are the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Jemez Mountains are close and many small, spiky, hills are scattered all around.
She couldn't help with the name, but patiently explained to me that there is only one Mountain, and it is at the end of the Ski Basin Road. The August afternoon was rainy, foggy and cold and the idea of trekking a bit attracted me. She brought her children, who were lured by the prospect of finding edible mushrooms, and we began traveling north of downtown toward the general direction of the Ski Basin. It took very little to find that the Ski Basin Road is actually called the Hyde Park Road and that the Mountain is named Tesuque. Double naming is a local pastime.
The way crosses the Santa Fe National Forest, which I visited in another opportunity from its other side in Pecos. After leaving the town, the undulating road enters a forested area which includes the Hyde Memorial State Park, the Little Tesuque and Black Canyon, the Big Tesuque and the Ski Basin. The Big Tesuque is reached in about half an hour of driving and its facilities are just a basic parking place at one of the many curves. Pines, some of them mighty ponderosas, and sun loving aspens grow densely on the slopes, and a dense fog—or was it a cloud at this altitude?—covered some of them, looking like a moving missing part in a giant puzzle.
Big Tesuque is the name of the upper watershed of the Tesuque Creek; it extends from the Big Tesuque Recreation Site uphill to Tesuque Peak, at approximately 4000m elevation and includes several small streams that feed into Tesuque Creek.
The actual shape of the forest is the result of a large fire near the turn of the century; in the process of forest succession, species like the aspen are among the first to re-vegetate. Once established, the aspen forest provides shade and cooler ground temperatures, allowing the shade loving spruce and fir species to grow. The new trees rise up and tower over the aspen, robbing it of the sunlight it needs. Hence the actually dense forest of aspen is declining.
The Big Tesuque Trail follows the North Fork of Tesuque Creek from its junction with the Tesuque Peak Road, from less than one kilometer above the entrance to another junction with the Winsor Trail, less than two kilometers below it. The trail is open to all form of non-motorized recreation, such as hiking, jogging, mountain biking, and horseback riding. In the winter, the area offers tree skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing opportunities as well. Overnight camping is free, but subject to a fortnight stay limit.
We walked the upper part of the trail and the little girls, three and five years old, didn't complain about the exercise and were happy in their search for edible mushrooms which thrived here. Charmingly, in a kid of poetic justice, they placed the uprooted mushrooms inside an umbrella turned upside down. The trail was wet but not slippery, the narrow stream allowed crossing it back and forth, the shade and fog created a pleasant walking environment and maybe more important than all that, there weren't any other visitors; isolationist New Mexicans hardly leave their homes. While climbing, only the trail to the right of the stream was complete, the other side allowed just short walks into hidden meadows. Fallen trees occasionally created improvised bridges over the stream, to the delight of the children.
In a very slow walk, the way up took around half an hour and the end of the trail was abrupt, there wasn't any possibility to park there fore a picnic; there is only one table in the park and it is located next to the entrance. The only feasible solution is to bring some kind of water resistant blanket and to spread it in one of the casual open spaces of the forest.
At first sight, Santa Fe looked to me as a desert, but hidden within the mountains, is a lush forest waiting to be discovered.
Written by SeenThat on 31 Jul, 2006
A friend of mine, a journalist in Santa Fe, New Mexico, called suddenly telling me he had got a couple of invitations to the International Peace Prayer Day at Ram Das Puri, not far away from Española. I jumped into his old van and used…Read More
A friend of mine, a journalist in Santa Fe, New Mexico, called suddenly telling me he had got a couple of invitations to the International Peace Prayer Day at Ram Das Puri, not far away from Española. I jumped into his old van and used the hour-long trip to find out where we were going.
As always in this area, the story was a mishmash of contradictions and people. Ram Das Puri is nowadays a Sikh settlement and apparently their main center in New Mexico. Belonging to a people with a long tradition as warriors, they found their place here as private-security providers. Without blinking twice, my friend added that the land was sacred to the Hopi, who used it for their Sacred Healing Walk around a 2km-long circle. Since 1990, the Sikhs have created the International Peace Prayer Day, basing it on the old Hopi tradition.
Not exactly knowing what to expect, we traveled north along Highway 285 and crossed Tesuque and the Pojoaque Valley, and, after reaching Española, continued north and then turned left into the Jemez mountains, through a dirt road. A shaky sign told us that our target was 8 miles ahead; along the dusty way, some very determined guests were trying to reach the site jogging while a security vehicle watched over their safety.
Climbing gently for a few minutes, we got to the gate, our invitations were checked, our names taken, and a VIP stamp was pressed on our hands. According to the hosts, the Peace Prayer Day brings together people of all faiths and cultures to forge positive change for the planet and to experience the magic of the sacred healing walk, evening chanting, live music and meditation circles.
Several huge white tents hosted the main events; beyond them was a sign stating that camping wasn't allowed, but next to it were maybe a hundred small tents belonging to some of the event guests. The main tent contained a stage were several speakers and singers belonging to the Sikh faith communicated to a large crowd. Another tent served as a big dining room and kitchen and a third was an improvised shop, selling mainly Indian (from the subcontinent - not the Hopi) products, CD's and DVD's, clothes, aromatic soaps, incense and stalls advertising other related events shared the limited space.
Looking for a chai, we approached the kitchen and were sent away, but not after receiving a military definition of the chai-serving hours. Tea had a different set of rules. I was afraid to ask about the coffee.
The formal program began around 4pm and included items as a talk by the Bioneers, the 2006 Peace Cereal Grant, Interfaith Prayers for Peace, the Izzat da Punjab – Bhangra Dance Troupe, the Chimayo Peace Flame Runners and a Peace Meditation with Yogi Bhajan. The sacred healing Walk began at 5:30pm and included a blessing with feathers and smoke performed by a Native-American and right after it, at 18:15 a performance by Bangra World Fusion Dance Mix began. An Evening of Sacred Music Concert followed it.
The way back to Santa Fe was great, as always under the dark skies of New Mexico.
Written by SeenThat on 23 Apr, 2006
Inexplicably, the same people preaching against pollution, were unable to understand the polluting effect of noise; by the end of the day, the drums’ vibrations were strong enough to destabilize my camera even 50m away from the main stage. However, everything began 6 hours before…Read More
Inexplicably, the same people preaching against pollution, were unable to understand the polluting effect of noise; by the end of the day, the drums’ vibrations were strong enough to destabilize my camera even 50m away from the main stage. However, everything began 6 hours before that.Once a year, on the April 22, Santa Fe celebrates the Earth Day next to the Ecoversity site, at 2639 Agua Fria Street. An hour before noon, the events began a couple of hundred meters from there, with a gathering and a big parade.A colorful pagan rite was performed at a dusty esplanade; its circular dance around smoking ashes defined the mood for the rest of the day. Tall birds danced to the beat of a local band; the art of walking on sticks was graciously performed by a talented group bearing disguises. A speech by the new mayor declared the date to be the All Species Day.Around two hundred people, most of them carrying representations of animals constructed with organic materials, watched the event and walked through Aguas Frias Street to the Ecoversity site to the obvious delight of the surrounding cars.The stalls were arranged in three plazas connected through a pressed dirt path and were mainly advertising services connected to the themes of pollution and preservation. Natural dye for fabric and yarn, concerned citizens for nuclear safety, adobe building, community composting, sun power, killer bee honey, wildlife organizations, massage stops, face painting and the Green Party were all there. A Children Village kept them busy.Under the flag of consuming organic products, the food was extremely overpriced; the sellers failed to explain why food grown saving the costs of nutrient chemicals and pesticides should be more expensive. The tired brewed coffee waited for hours in thermoses and was sold lukewarm at three times the price of the same bad coffee at the nearby convenience store. The same ice-cream given away as a free sampling in any supermarket, was sold here at 5.5 dollars. Pseudo-Asian food got a similar treatment.In the late afternoon the stalls were dissembled and the main stage became more active. An African band gave place to belly dancing, and a French singer was a prelude to the drums. The last began with a grandiose plan to create a drumming circle around 6pm, but even its humble beginnings caused the troubled earth to shake with uncontrollable vibrations and me to get an epiphany regarding the best way to celebrate Earth.
Written by SeenThat on 22 May, 2006
During my travels, I always try to visit Lutheran churches whenever possible. People who had heard about me usually invite me to speak, to give a lesson or just for a homey lunch; however, Santa Fe, being the Different City, prepared a very unusual experience…Read More
During my travels, I always try to visit Lutheran churches whenever possible. People who had heard about me usually invite me to speak, to give a lesson or just for a homey lunch; however, Santa Fe, being the Different City, prepared a very unusual experience for me.
"Hello, there is someone who wants to meet you," I was told in my third week in one of the local temples. Following a short talk, I found that I’ve been invited for lunch in one of the suburbs by Shanadii, Geronimo’s granddaughter. Not knowing who Geronimo was, I used the trip to get a brief update by the brothers who invited me and shortly after we arrived to a large house surrounded by a forest of pines, majestic Ponderosas and sturdy Pinions. Two years short of eighty, Shanadii turned to be a vigorous soul with a rare intelligence. "You want to drink something," she asked while leading me to the kitchen, where maybe two hundred kinds of teas were awaiting me. Looking at the wide choice and wanting to drink the same one as she, I asked which one was her choice; "I drink coffee, from the soluble kind," she shot while lighting a cigarette which was exchanged by others until I left a few hours later.
Next week, I was invited again, and after a couple of coffees, she told me: "I want to give you a gift; you are invited to our next Fire Circle." Fire Circles turned to be ceremonies of religious nature performed by the Apaches and other related groups in which a representation of their orally transmitted traditions is done around a central fire. When the time came, I arrived to the same site and around 5pm we had a magnificent potluck and waited for the weather to cool down a bit.
One hour later, we were led to a small opening in the forest, where a circle of stones awaited us. Thirty-two participants sat on the stones while Shanadii took an elevated seat just out of it and presided the ceremony’s different stages, which were performed by others. A central fire was lighted, and then the drawing of The Circle began. The drawing was done with grounded corn and created sharp yellow lines on the pastel brown ground; after putting the corn on the ground and drawing the desired shape, the line was redrawn with a finger following the corn path, so that each line got a depression on its center.
The corn is considered a sacred plant due to his many uses in their culture. All the drawings were done at the rhythm of a slow, deep drumming. The first drawing was a circle around the central fire; it represented the Earth and was drawn, as most of the other pictograms, from the east through the south. Following was the Creator’s Circle, wider and containing the first one. Four short lines, each one marking a compass direction, crossed the circles and then Infinity Lines were added at the intersection of those with the outer circle. The Infinity Lines were shaped as an "X" with their center at the exact intersection point and they represented the gifts of the Creator to us.
Two short lines connecting the inner part of the X’s to the compass line were added and represented our thanks to him. Shanadii asked from the drawers to explain the meaning of their doings and sometimes added a few words. Following, two Pipes of Peace were added in each quarter and represented the different people; they represented a kind of New Covenant between the Creator and the People, following an old downfall. The pipes had a feminine and masculine side and their symmetry showed a perfect equality among the genders. A third circle was drawn between the pipes, showing the unity among people. Then two shapes were added in each quarter, next to the outer circle. First, a symbol for the trees and another for the bushes were drawn at the southeast quarter, then one for the four legged creatures was drawn at the southwest quarter, and then symbols for the sea water creatures and the birds in the third quarter. In the last one, symbols for the fresh water and crawling creatures were added.
Shanadii explained then that we are living in a transition year, and the mark for two-legged creatures (humans) was added next to the four-legged one. In other years, the human’s symbol is not drawn. Ending the circle, a symbolic eye was added at the outer part of each "X" and a blue point, the only non-yellow point in the whole drawing, was added to each. They represent the constant watch of the Creator over his creatures.
Once the drawing was finished, a fourth circle—the four being a sacred number in their culture—was created on the central fire and was dedicated to the Creator. Then, everyone stood up around the external circle and prayers were said, the fire was left to burn and we left. At 9pm, already in darkness, we devoured the rest of the food and traveled home, not without an invitation for the coming Solstice Circle.
Written by Hal1026 on 09 Aug, 2002
At any time of year, there are some excellent options to get you out into the spectacular country surrounding Santa Fe. The summer months see the greatest number of travelers to the city and region, however, even at this time of year once you…Read More
At any time of year, there are some excellent options to get you out into the spectacular country surrounding Santa Fe. The summer months see the greatest number of travelers to the city and region, however, even at this time of year once you leave downtown. If you’re a river enthusiast of any kind, then there’s adventure out on the nearby Rio Grande, which offers both kayaking and white water rafting, not to mention great scenery, and guide services are available to lead groups or individuals.
Trips can range from a lazy glide past colorful mesas, to a thrilling ride on Class V rapids through the Taos Box, a 17-mile run on the upper Rio Grande. There's something for all experience levels, including half-day, full day and overnight trips. Other rivers include the Pecos, Rio Chama and Jemez.
If you prefer more earthbound exercise, there are hiking trails for walks, birdwatching or backpacking that crisscross the nearby Santa Fe and Carson National Forests offering hikes that start and stop right outside of the city or major treks into the Pecos Wilderness (see my journal on hiking for details). Aside from the many adventures on water and foot you can find hereabouts, don’t overlook the other opportunities by way of jeep, bike, on horseback or ski and snowboard in the winter season. For equine adventure, you’ll find that guided horseback rides can be arranged into the local foothills, Galisteo Basin or Pecos Wilderness, while jeep tours take visitors onto the seldom traveled back roads of Northern New Mexico. In addition to the riding facilities available for guests at The Bishop’s Lodge, there is Galarosa Stable (Galisteo, Tel: (505) 983-6565 or 1-800 338-6877) which provides rentals by the half day or full day. Thre is abundant biking terrain around Santa Fe. Plan your own route with the help of a map of suggested bike trips at the Convention & Visitors Bureau (it includes a 30 mile roundtrip from downtown Santa Fe to the Santa Fe Ski Area). Singular Journeys at 125 E. Palace Ave. (505-986-8920), which runs bike tours, is another resource that can assist you with routing. Bikes and accessories can be rented from Palace Bike Rentals at 409 E. Palace Ave. (505-984-2151) or New Mexico Bike'N'Sport, 905 S. St. Francis Dr. (505-820-0809), which has full-suspension rigs for $30 a day. And while Taos may have the mystique among elite skiers, Santa Fe’s own world-class mountain in the Sangre de Cristo range does offer some fine powder. The 12,053-foot summit at Ski Santa Fe has 1,650 vertical feet of skiing and 43 runs winding through some of the most stunning terrain in the country
Hanging out, near and around town.
Above all, Santa Fe is a town to explore on foot: it’s compact, but always visually intriguing with its amalgam of southwestern, Spanish colonial and contemporary architecture set into winding but walker-friendly streets and alleys. Window gazing? There are definitely windows to look into on just about every street where you don’t also find yourself hopping inside to explore an exhibit, taste the cuisine, or check out the world-famous local craftsmanship. One of the most interesting streets to hit on any adventure by foot within Santa Fe is Canyon Road; about eight blocks southeast of the plaza, this two mile avenue is the most exclusive address in town and while it’s somewhat off the beaten path of downtown has become a magnet for its own share of fine galleries, restaurants and shops. This is also the place to "cowboy up" as far as acquiring any authentic and well-made western gear such as cowboy boots, nowadays a fashion statement but also very functional if you’re taking any horseback trips. A wide-brimmed hat is essential in open country to heat, rain and insects, while a colorful bandana will help protect you from sunburn and windburn and even serve as a mask in a sudden windstorm on a hike. Stop in at Santa Fe Boot Company (950 W. Cordova Rd., Tel: (505) 983-8415) for boots by all the major manufacturers or accessories, but there are numerous shops to browse amongst for any items like this. As with everything else here, take your time.
Even if you’re not usually the museum kind of traveler, the museum experience in Santa Fe is really an integral and not to missed way of accessing the spirit, history and culture of the region. The Georgia O’Keefe Museum is an excellent spot to soak in the contemporary but timeless spirit of the southwest as it’s expressed in over 80 of this great American artist’s work: look at the large-scale desert flowers and bleached desert bones on her canvases and you’ll start to understand what keeps on attracting so many creative geniuses to this part of the world. To delve into the traditional art of the region, however, a vsiit to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the nearby Wheelright Museum of the American Indian along Camino Lejo in southeast Santa Fe. If you’re up to a different kind of museum experience outside the town perimeters, then consider a visit to El Rancho de las Golondrinas: 15 miles south of Santa Fe, this 200-acre living history museum retains its early 17th century atmosphere when it was founded as a stopoff on the Camino Real (royal road), its museum displays facets of eighteenth-century life on a working Spanish colonial ranch, but the real eye-opener is the more extensive outdoor recreation of ranching of that period, with animal life, orchards and crops showing you how it was. Spring and fall festivals (held the first full weekend in June and the first full weekend in October, respectively) feature crafts ranging from rug weaving, blacksmithing and wheelwrighting to sugarcane being turned into molasses with the labor of a burr-driven press.
Santa Fe is a place of sensory and above all visual experience, so allow yourself time and energy for the pleasures of walking in random fashion around some of the many streets leading to and from the downtown plaza: these are filled with a real variety of shops and galleries. Once you’re here, you find yourself easily attuned to a city where time seems to move at a much gentler pace than most urban environments.
Written by SeenThat on 17 May, 2006
A bit more than an hour north from Santa Fe through Road 285 is the Ojo Caliente-Posi complex. To arrive there, a car is essential, since there is not a friendly system of public transport in the surroundings. The only place for confusion is at…Read More
A bit more than an hour north from Santa Fe through Road 285 is the Ojo Caliente-Posi complex. To arrive there, a car is essential, since there is not a friendly system of public transport in the surroundings. The only place for confusion is at the town of Española, where the road makes an unexpected and poorly marked turn. To check the trajectory, note that you must cross the bridge over the Rio Grande, and a few kilometers later, another one over the Rio Chama. However, missing the Rio Grande Bridge will result in a visit to Taos, in itself another attractive location in the area.
Ojo Caliente means "hot eye" or "hot well" in Spanish and is a gorgeous mineral spring offering seven pools, created from the water originating in a subterranean volcanic aquifer. Four springs feed the pools: the lithia, the iron, the soda, and the arsenic ones. The lithia spring is located at the site’s central plaza and is offered as drinking water, there is not a single pool connected to it. Flowing at 43°C, the iron spring flows from a natural earthen floor, providing hot spots to discover in an outdoor pool. The soda spring is cooler, while the arsenic one flows at 40°C. The last one is offered in private indoor tubs; additional pools offer extra hot and cooling waters. A dry and a wet sauna are available. In early May the place was almost empty on a Sunday visit, adding to the feeling of luxury. A ticket allowing the use of all mineral pools, steam and sauna costs $16 during the week and $20 on the weekends; the spa and massages are priced separately. Private outdoors pools can be rented; 50 minutes there cost $40 for two guests. If entering the place after 6pm, there is a special sunset rate, lower by $4 from the regular one. Watching the moon over the tastefully lighted cliffs is a sight to remember. Unfortunately, the place closes at 10pm; but lodging couples can stay up to 2am for an additional $150.
The hotel attached offers a single room for around $83 and a double for $110 in the high season; cottages are available as well. Its attached restaurant offers excellent, but pricey, dishes in a Pueblo style room. If eating before approaching the pools, I recommend light dishes. The salads and enchiladas are excellent and are served with fresh buns and tasty olive oil as a dip. The coffee is a bit below the expectations.
Tienda Ojala, on the access road to the springs, offers many souvenirs from the area, free maps, free email check and a good espresso. The place specializes in jewelry, gem minerals, metal sculptures, rugs, and furniture.
Posi-Ouinge or "Greenness Pueblo" in the Tewa language is an abandoned settlement dating back 700 years and related to a reunification story. Tewa people tell that at the beginning they were one people; at certain moment they divided themselves into two groups called the Winter and the Summer People. The groups traveled alongside the Rio Grande and the Rio Chama and they reunited at Posi. The place was abandoned after an epidemic struck the location. The main Tewa location nowadays is the nearby Oke’onwi or San Juan. The original site of Posi has been excavated and is behind the springs; thus, it is perfect as a prelude to the pool. Exploring the site, dining, and entering the pools after dark can make a perfect day. The unpaved trail to Posi is steep and rocky in places, sandy and level in others and it roughly follows the dry Ojo Caliente River. The length of the round walk between the springs and the sight is about two kilometers, taking water and comfortable shoes is a good idea. Along the terrace can be seen an array of rock alignments delimiting the gardens of the inhabitants. Low, round mounds mark the sites where the rain melted the adobe houses. Earth they were and to the earth they returned.
Written by jbarr08 on 07 Feb, 2004
First of all, this is a great little city. Only 70,000 or so in population, but seemingly much larger due to the influx of tourist bodies and dollars that happens year 'round. During the winter, there's skiing (boy, is there ever skiing) at…Read More
First of all, this is a great little city. Only 70,000 or so in population, but seemingly much larger due to the influx of tourist bodies and dollars that happens year 'round. During the winter, there's skiing (boy, is there ever skiing) at quite a few resorts around town. Also, there's snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the national forest above the city. Keep in mind that the city itself is at 7000 feet, so you'll get winded climbing a flight of stairs.
If you plan to do anything in the mountains around town, plan to spend a few days to acclimate. A great place to learn the lowdown on local winter sports is the Skier's Edge, a family-owned ski shop located at 1836 Cerrillos Road. They're extremely friendly and helpful. My wife rented a pair of skis from them and they took the time not only to set them up for her, but to show her how it was done, step by step. That way, if she needed any fine tuning on the hill, she would be able to make minor adjustments on her own.
We stayed at the Days Inn at 2900 Cerrillos, which was fine. We rolled in rather late on a Wednesday night and were pretty hungry, so we decided that we would grab a bite to eat at La Carreta, a Central American "restaurant" that's co-located with the hotel. Prices were cheap, I'll say that much. However, you get what you pay for.
My wife ordered a beef taco, and it came to our table with about three strips of beef in a tiny tortilla. That's it--not even so much as a lettuce leaf. I had ordered the chicken fajitas, and was dismayed when they came to our table. First of all, what do you think of when you order fajitas? I'm thinkin' chicken, onions, red and green sauteed bell peppers, maybe some salsa. You too, huh? Well, apparently at La Carreta they make their fajitas with frozen stir-fry vegetables. I'm not kidding--I got a plate full of zucchini and broccoli. Granted there were a couple red peppers in there. Now, on to the chicken. I was thinking as I ate that it tasted a little weird, then I realized what was strange--it was turkey. Not just any turkey, but the last of the turkey that's in the fridge four or five days after Thanksgiving and it's just about to go bad (c'mon, single guys, you know what I'm talking about). Oh, and they only gave me one tortilla. Now, it was folded into four sections, so it looked like more initially, but it was only one. So, the moral of the story is, if you stay at the Days, run across the street to McDonalds if you've got the late night munchies.
Other than that, there really wasn't too much bad stuff. You can read the review on the Santa Fe Southern Railways "excursion" if you want more gripes, but all in all, the good far outweighs the bad in Santa Fe.
Written by StephCat on 14 Jun, 2004
Ten Thousand Waves Spa was an incredible experience.
When you check in at the front desk, you're given your kimono and locker key and, if it's your first time, given a quick orientation to the spa. After that, you can change into your…Read More
Ten Thousand Waves Spa was an incredible experience.
When you check in at the front desk, you're given your kimono and locker key and, if it's your first time, given a quick orientation to the spa. After that, you can change into your kimono, shower (required before any treatments), and relax while sipping hot or cold tea or water flavored with citrus or cucumbers. Near the time for your treatment you can wait in the spa waiting room -- your masseuse will meet you there and then take you to your massage room.
Both my friend and I had 85 minute massages in the tree top room. It was very private despite having three different masseuses working at the same time -- each table was behind screens. Between the nature cd's, the wonderful massage, the perfect temperature and light -- total bliss.
Because we had treatments lasting 85 minutes, we were given free access to the women's tub or the communal tub. We went to the women's area and enjoyed the dry spa, hot tub, and cold plunge located there. (Private tubs are available for an additional cost.)
We also had lunch at the spa -- they don't have a restaurant but do have a large refrigerator stocked with pre-made sandwiches, sushi, etc.
Overall, a wonderful experience, and one I would not miss if we visit Santa Fe again. Do note that although you can wear bathing suits in the pools most people do not (suits are required after a certain time in the evening).
Written by Soulsearcher on 16 Mar, 2001
On the outside of The Palace of The Governors Museum, Native American artisans display there wares in a program that is sponsored by the New Mexico Museum system . A lottery is held in order for these artisans to gain a coveted spot…Read More
On the outside of The Palace of The Governors Museum, Native American artisans display there wares in a program that is sponsored by the New Mexico Museum system . A lottery is held in order for these artisans to gain a coveted spot in the porch area which is on the side of the museum and each day a different group is allowed to sell their jewelry, silver goods, leather goods, etc. to the all too happy tourists who realize a good thing when they see it.
Santa Fe being the upscale artist community it is has a number of galleries and private shops that sell many of the same items but not at the rock bottom prices that are gotten here.
I purchased a beautiful sterling silver cross with a turquoise stone and Native american carvings in it for a mere $10 and no tax, my friend Brenda purchased a gorgeous sterling silver bracelet with the most beautiful deep blue stone gem and she paid $35 for it and both would have cost a lot more in any of the shops.
I strongly urge everyone to check out this group of artisans before going into the museum and I feel that you too will agree that it is well worth the money. It also is a good way to support the Native American's who make the trip into town from areas both far and near. A lot of them are also from local reservations and it is how they earn a living.