santa fe days 3 and 4

On Saturday, our third day in Santa Fe, we drove about 45 minutes out of town to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.  (I’ll be referring to it as Tent Rocks, though.)  While I was in the shower that morning, I wondered if I should bring cash for the entrance fee at Tent Rocks, but just forgot.  Sure enough, we got to the gate and they rejected our credit card.  So, note to all of you future Tent Rocks visitors: bring some cash with you.  It’s only $5 per car, and there’s a gas station with an ATM about five minutes down the road, but we could have avoided a handful of fees by just bringing cash with us.

Tent Rocks is so neat.  I don’t know how it was formed, I don’t know why the rocks are the way they are, and I don’t know why the rangers at the gate don’t accept credit cards, but that’s okay.  My apologies for including more pictures than I can count, but as you’ll see, it was hard to resist…

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We combined the Cave Loop Trail and the Canyon Trail, and were hiking for a little less than three hours, although the total distance was only around 3 miles, we definitely took our time.  The weather was just right, and being that we were there in the spring, the crowds were definitely manageable.

We had a late lunch at Bumble Bee, and walked to Canyon Road in the afternoon, where we spent two hours wandering through galleries.  We enjoyed all of the paintings and sculptures and photographs, but got a little a tired by the end.  One highlight was seeing sculptures by my high school art teacher being sold at one of the galleries!  We also stopped for pictures at a few places we’d admired over the past couple of days and walked around the Santa Fe National Cemetery – a sobering, beautiful place.

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For dinner, we went to Thai Vegan, an Asian restaurant that offers only vegan food (two things that could probably be assumed from the name, but it never hurts to clarify).  The food was good, but the ambiance could probably be improved and the number of Hindu idols reduced just a tad.  On our way back to the hotel at night, we stopped at Trader Joe’s for some cookies that have been sold out every time we look for them at our TJ’s.

Sunday morning was snowy – not our favorite to see at the end of April, but we were just thankful it was on our last day and not on a day we wanted to be outside.  We packed up the car and went for breakfast at Annapurna’s (told you we wouldn’t be able to stay away!) where I had some banana cardamom pancakes that were just too good.  I’d gladly eat them once a week.

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Our drive home was rainy but largely uneventful as we took I-25 straight from Santa Fe to our apartment in north Colorado Springs.

I’m so glad we finally took a trip to Santa Fe.  Our route down, while a bit longer than necessary, was fun with stops at the Rio Grande Gorge and in Taos, and I felt like even though we were only in Santa Fe for a couple of days, we got a good taste for the town and it’s beauty.  There are many museums and hiking trails I would have liked to check out, but due to time and weather constraints, we just couldn’t do them all – now we have something to do the next time we go!

 

 

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santa fe: day 2

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.

DSC01569^^ Danny in the history museum, looking into the semi-covered wagon because there’s a video projected onto the inside of the cover.  Told you it was cool.  ^^

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.

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^^ 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. ^^

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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.

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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.

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^^ Some people and their selfies… ;) ^^

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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.