Friday, October 15, 2010


Tuesday, October 12- We took a sightseeing trip up to Santa Fe.

The landscape up to Santa Fe was very green which is unusual for this part of New Mexico.



This is more of what we thought it would look like.


You can see there was some rain in the area.


They have a fast-rail train between Albuquerque and Santa Fe called the Railrunner. It runs between the lanes of I40.


Our first stop was the New Mexico Capitol Building, “the Roundhouse”. Its design is a New Mexico territorial style.  This type of architecture is of Pueblo Indian adobe, an adaptation from the Greek revival period.  The capitol building forms the shape of the Zia Indian Sun Symbol, which appears on the state flag.


It is filled with beautiful art work.



Buffalo, 1992…very unique with paintbrushes, wire, magnetic film, etc. used.


We also visited the Senate and House of Representatives chambers. Both of these chambers were very impressive. They look very similar with the House having more seats.





This was a very interesting tour.

Next, we visited San Miguel Mission, the oldest church in the USA. The adobe church was built in 1610, when Santa Fe was founded, and the foundation of the original church can still be seen under the sanctuary of the present structure.







Old Confessional


This original bell was cast in 1356.


Archaeological investigations beneath the foundation reveal evidence of Native American occupation of the site as early as 1300 AD. Today, in addition to being an historical treasure of cultural heritage and visitor attractions, it serves as a shrine to St. Michael and Mass is celebrated here weekly.

Our next stop was the miraculous staircase at Loretto Chapel. Fashioned after Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, it was built in 1870 to serve the Loretto Academy, operated by the Sisters of Loretto.


Believed to be the first Gothic structure west of the Mississippi, the Chapel had a design flaw; there was no way to get to the choir loft from the chapel! Many carpenters were called in for advice, but all came up with the same answer: because of the height of the loft, a conventional staircase would take up too much room in the chapel below. It became a question of using a ladder or rebuilding the balcony. Seeking divine guidance, the Sisters made a Novena to their patron saint, Saint Joseph the Carpenter. As legend has it, a mysterious carpenter arrived to design and construct a circular staircase to the choir loft. The tools on his donkey were just a saw, carpenter's square, a hammer, and tubs in which to soak the wood. His “miraculous staircase” contains 33 steps in two full 360-degree turns. The staircase has no center support, nor is it held from its sides. When the staircase was completed, the carpenter disappeared without seeking payment.


The church has a unique ceiling.


Original doors.


Across from the church is a very lovely building called the Loretta Inn. We had to take a picture.


We then crossed the street to the alleged oldest house in America.  It is controversially claimed by the owners of a structure located at 215 East De Vargas.  The house was supposedly built around 1646. The Oldest House rests on part of the foundation of an ancient Indian Pueblo dating from around 1200 AD.


The current owner is a local Santa Fe lady who took on the task of reopening the once closed house. She currently welcomes the public to tour the home at their leisure. She serves cookies, brownies and beverages to help defray her costs. As a special treat, her 95-year old mother was present today celebrating her birthday. Many of the furnishings were donated by her mother.

Birthday girl and niece. They were very friendly.


Paul just made it through the door way.


Before more site seeing, we decided to stop at a local Mexican restaurant called The Guadalupe Cafe. It came highly recommended by several locals. What a treat! We were told that we must have the eggs the traditional Mexican way called Huevos Rancheros. YUMMMMM!


We don’t normally take pictures of our food but this was excellent!

We next walked through many of the 175 shops in around the Plaza of Santa Fe.


These shops specialize in Indian handcrafts including jewelry, blankets, carvings, and other handcrafts popular in the Southwest. We enjoyed our shopping without purchasing anything. We were amazed at the expensive prices on much of the jewelry. We're talking in the thousands! YIKES!

We then visited the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.


The cornerstone for the Cathedral was laid in 1869. The Cathedral brings together three styles of architecture: adobe, French-Romanesque and modern. The Stations of the Cross along the walls of the main nave are done in the Santero style reminiscent of the historic churches.


Baptismal font.


Altar area.



What a beautiful church.

A recent addition to the church grounds are life size bronze statues of the Stations of the Cross. These are located in a newly constructed tranquility park like area just outside the Cathedral. If you would like to see these statues, please click here.

Our last venture of the day was to drive North about 45 miles to the city of Cordova. This tiny town of narrow winding streets is famous for their woodcarvers. We stopped at several, but again left empty handed.

We were about two hours from home and darkness was approaching, so we felt we better head South. It was a fun adventure and another tiring day being a tourist.

Thursday, October 14 – One more visit to “old town” Albuquerque.



Marsha wanted to be sure she didn’t miss any shopping opportunities. Well, it seems she did miss one item that she couldn’t live without. Bella can’t believe her eyes!


She found a few more things she couldn’t pass up including the “perfect” hot air balloon spinner. OH MY…we will have a picture of that at a later date.

Another long day but a great day!

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you back real soon. We hope you have a great day!