Since it's been almost a month since I went to New Mexico, I thought it was about time to post some photos from my trip and show off a few goodies I purchased. We were primarily in Santa Fe, but we wandered over to Albuquerque and Taos for a few days. New Mexico is so beautiful! Despite it being in the southwest, the weather was pretty chilly and I found myself a bit unprepared, having brought only shorts and short sleeved tops.
The flight over was great and as we were passing Colorado I looked out and saw snow covered mountains! In humble little Minnesota, we don't have any mountains so it was a new sight for me to see.
New Mexico is almost an entirely different culture from the Upper Midwest. The art, food, and general atmosphere are influenced by Native culture as well as Mexican and Spanish traditions.
Adobe walls were everywhere!
On our way up to the mountains, we stopped at Chimayo, an old church which attracts thousands of tourists because of the miracles performed there. Speaking of miracles, this little restaurant on-site has miraculously good tamales! I devoured a chicken and chile one.
This little guy was living outside Chimayo :)
Up in the mountains, it was super windy and chilly. I definitely could've used a sweatshirt (and hey, this IS a Minnesotan talking!). The forests were almost Minnesotan, even if the elevations were not.
At the top of one of the mountains, in a tired little run-down artists' town. It was so secluded and desolate, all the buildings were run down and the only businesses were a sleepy general store and a few galleries scattered throughout.
After driving through the mountains, we headed into Taos (Julia Roberts lives here!) and ate some pizza and subs. I also wandered into a leather store and bought myself a vest from the kid's section. Ah, to fit into children's wear!
Also in Taos was this lovely little sculpture garden. Doesn't everything look so grand with the mountains in the background?
The people of Taos laying down the law.
I broke down and got this Taos sweatshirt. I knew that another trek through the mountains would warrant such! I also bought many pairs of New Mexico socks ;)
Next stop was at Bandelier National Monument. I'd been there many years before and had a terrible experience in the hot weather. I figured that it wouldn't be so bad in the fair weather...and I was right! A slight sunburn proved nothing to some of the magnificent ruins.
Bandelier National Monument's history extends some 10,000 years back to nomadic hunter-gatherers. Many of the structures dated to 1150 CE when the pueblo peoples began building more permanent homes.
They built their home in ridiculously high elevations. Skinny pathways and crumbling stairs would lead them higher and higher up the steep rock.
This remaining structure is the base of a 4 story building. You can see pegs where ceiling and floor joists were set in, and holes in the rock served as cool storage.
Ladders allowed you to climb into some ancient rooms. Once inside you were free of the sun's harsh rays and the temperature would drop dramatically. The last part of the monument is a 140ft climb to the alcove house. The ladders seem never ending and the narrow pathways make traversing even more difficult. It's amazing to think of all the people who originally built these pathways...and would walk them daily!
At the top of the Alcove House is a ceremonial kiva. You can climb down there and feel the temperature drop dramatically. Scientists think the kivas were used for ceremonial or political purposes.
After Bandelier, we dropped into Los Alamos, New Mexico where the first atomic bombs were created. It continues to be used as testing grounds for atomic and nuclear sciences. In Los Alamos is the Bradbury Museum, all about atomic bombs. Above is a replica of the Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
A replica of the Fat Man dropped on Nagasaki. It was difficult to go through the museum, given my opinions on such violent and destructive war tactics. The museum celebrated all the efforts that went into the bombs, as well as all the death which led to America's win.
Our last day was spent in Santa Fe, traipsing through downtown for some last-minute shopping as well as checking out Jackalope, an outdoor mercado which sells some amazing art. The handpainting on the sculptures is so remarkable and alien to Minnesota!
In downtown Santa Fe I picked up this kitschy little t-shirt.
I also picked up this sun dress. That being said, the sun hasn't made much of an appearance so far this year! We had a couple days 100°F days in a row, and now Minnesota has sunk back to 60 - 70°F with a chilly breeze and no sun. Where are you, summer?!
Of course I couldn't leave the Southwest without a cowboy hat!
A mirrored jewelry box I picked up at The Rainbow Man in downtown Santa Fe.
Day of the Dead mirror also from The Rainbow Man
A dreamcatcher, wooden feather earrings, and a pin of the Thunderbird. When you're buying Native art, you have to be careful. A lot of dealers will sell you knock off pieces which were not Native made. It's important to go to trustworthy dealers, check for inscriptions, and get a note of authenticity.
And flying back to Minnesota! I'll be back on an airplane on June 28th, when I'm flying into Amsterdam to spend 32 days in Europe! We'll be hitting Prague, Munich, Geneva, Lyon, Paris, Nantes, London, and Amsterdam! Please give me suggestions of where to go, shop, and eat. It'll be my first time in Europe and I want to do it right!