I spent two cloudy days in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the capitol, highest elevation of any capitol in the US. (Had I known this, I might have reconsidered.)
The road from Tucumcari doesn’t SEEM that steep. The climb is gradual. However, Lola and I fought an awful headwind, and even going downhill could only manage 50 mph. I was constantly fiddling with Sacajewea’s air-con (A trick with old Jeep’s. Turning the ac on activates a secondary fan, which sucks more air into the engine, thus cooling it.). I even stopped once or twice, fearing that she would over-heat. She didn’t. She performed like a champ, and in our final leg of the journey the wind died down, and the road sloped, and we sang a song of happiness as we entered Santa Fe.
Santa Fe is called the “city different.” I’m not sure exactly why, unless you consider that it’s not so much a “city” as a sprawling town. Unlike most capitols, there are no tall buildings. Almost all the architecture consists of one or two story pueblos butting up against the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The population is one part yuppie hippy, one part native american, one part hispanic immigrant.
I like the city itself, and the historic plaza. It’s a lovely walk, and Monty and Niko and I spent most of one morning window shopping, and peeking into little art galleries. Window shopping is all I could afford to do near the plaza. Most of the retail shops have high price tags, probably to lure tourists from the west coast who are used to that kind of thing. In fact, when I tried to change a twenty for the meter, almost every store held up a single quarter or even a nickel, saying they had nothing to give me. My guess is either A: they never sell anything this time of year or B: everything is on plastic, because it costs several hundred bucks.
I had lunch at a little cafe, where I feasted on blue corn tacos and a prickly pear (that’s a cactus) margarita. Delicious! A short siesta, and I headed for craft beer at the Marble Brewery (Their wit is VERY good, AND they sell half pints, for those of us that like ‘baby’ beers.). The plaza was quiet two weekends before thanksgiving, and I had the bar practically to myself. I know some people hate lonely bars, but I have a soft spot for them, being from the industry myself.
Sunday morning I headed for the “rail yard” district. It is an up-and-coming part of town, with lots of new development over old industrial beginnings. It was definitely more my style: a big flea market, lots of little boutiques and coffee shops, and a farmer’s market. I strolled the stalls, looking for bargains and came upon a lovely pair of boots for a nice price.
I will say this, for all the fancy-shmancy stuff, everyone I met was very down to earth and friendly. Most people greeted the dogs with big smiles, one gallery owner even invited them in for a cookie. I will definitely be back someday, hopefully for warmer weather.