Friday, our first full day in Santa Fe, began a bit rainy and cool, so we started our day indoors at the Palace of the Governors. We arrived a little after 10am, wandered around a bit, and caught the 10:30am guided tour. In retrospect, I’m not sure we would take the tour again. It was a bit dry, but it did give us a good overview of New Mexico, and more specifically, Santa Fe, history.
The Palace of the Governors is connected to the New Mexico History Museum, and even though we were a bit done with learning and museum stuff after our tour, we decided to give it a try. And we were so glad! The history museum is so good. If you are in Santa Fe, you should go. It’s new, it’s high quality, it’s well done, it’s interesting, and (best of all?) it’s not overwhelmingly big. Seriously, give it a chance. I’d recommend going to the history museum first, and giving it your full attention, and then breezing through the Palace of the Governors, if for no other reason than it’s a neat, old, historic building.
After the museum(s), we walked back to our hotel and headed to lunch. We both had veggie burgers and fries at the Tune-Up Cafe, an eclectic and cute place with decent vegan options, and then headed for the New Mexico State Capitol. We wandered through the halls and into the rotunda and felt a little like we were breaking the rules at times (even though we weren’t) since we were the only visitors there. Compared to some of the more traditional state capitols out there, New Mexico’s certainly isn’t as grand or eye-catching, but it does have some fun and unique features, and we enjoyed getting to check it out a bit.
^^ I know it’s not the best picture ever, but I have a picture of Mysteridge and I in front of this same buffalo from years ago, and just couldn’t resist. It’s made of all sorts of random materials, and looks so cool both up close and far away. ^^
The weather was just so dicey all day on Friday, that even though there’s so much great hiking in the area, we just weren’t sure if we were willing to take a chance and actually get outside for any length of time. However, late in the afternoon, around 3:00, we decided to give it a shot. We drove outside of town about 15-20 minutes to the Rio en Medio Trail, and got hiking.
The trail follows a stream for about three miles to the base of a waterfall, and then continues up above the waterfall, to other (much smaller) waterfalls and pools. I believe that the trail eventually leads to a good view of Santa Fe and the surrounding area, but going that far was never our intent. We went to some of the upper waterfalls, but turned around so that we could have dinner at a reasonable hour.
^^ Some people and their selfies… ;) ^^
There were no other cars in the trailhead parking lot, and we saw no one but each other while hiking, which felt a little weird to me, especially since it’s such a great trail – it’s wooded, involves crossing the stream a few times (always fun), and is fairly flat the whole way. I’d highly recommend checking it out if you’re in Santa Fe – I think we’d do it again if we went back. I know it will look different depending on the season, and maybe next time we’d do the complete trail. So peaceful and quiet and beautiful.
We made it back into town for a late dinner at Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Cafe. It’s won the Best of Santa Fe award for Best Vegetarian Restaurant many years in a row now, and I can see why. The menu is EXTENSIVE, and has many options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, for those who like Indian food and those who do not (me). I had a hunch that we would really like Annapurna’s, and planned to go there early on in our trip, so that we would have a chance to go back again if we wanted to. The menu suggests dessert first, so we gladly partook and shared a piece of (vegan) pecan pie before our entrées arrived. It was great, as were our meals – I had the shepherd’s pie which was very good and Danny had the falafel wrap (which included quite possibly the best falafel we’ve had since we ate lunch at Camden Market in London last September).
And that was Friday! A good mix of history and indoor exploring, as well as being outside (weather permitting) and, of course, plenty of tasty vegan food.
Check out day 1 here.