Thursday, July 07, 2005

Santa Fe!

Sunday, Alli and I got back from Santa Fe.

What a trip. Over 30 hours in the car for 4 days of absolute relaxation.

After work on Tuesday, I went home to take a nap and woke up around 10 p.m. to leave on our trip. I wanted to get there early in the day instead of later, so Alli and I decided to drive through the night. It would have been better had I been able to sleep more on Tuesday after work, but we did it, only stopping for a brief 2-hour nap in the parking lot of the Colby, KS Wal-Mart at about 4 in the morning. Didn't sleep too much, but the eye rest was worth it.

Once we got into New Mexico, we decided to take a little detour through the mountains to the Northern New Mexico town of Taos. Taos is, in a way, like a mini version of Santa Fe. It is committed to the art scene and the style is very much the same. There is also skiing in the winter months and it even has its own share of celebrities (Julia Roberts, Donald Rumsfeld).

Taos itself wasn't that impressive, but the drive from the main Interstate (25 South) to Taos along New Mexico Highway 68 was amazing. Winding roads along the Cimarron river made the 3-hour trip completely worth it.

After lunch and walking around the town, we left Taos and drove down to Santa Fe, a short hour-and-a-half drive down the Rio Grande. More stops along the river to watch rafters and to take pictures of the beautiful scenery. Once we arrived, we checked in to our hotel and promptly took a nap, waking up to walk around the town and eat dinner at a subpar bar and grill because everything seems to close really REALLY early in Santa Fe (seriously...a lot of places were not open past 5).

The next day was devoted to the spa. Best massage I've ever had.

Friday was all about art. The first place we visited was the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. O'Keeffe is Alli's favorite artist of all-time so this was a real treat. A great thing about this visit was that I was finally able to figure out what my favorite O'Keeffe work is. Since Alli is enamored with her as an artist, it was important to me to figure out which one I loved.

"Autumn Trees - the Maple"
We also visited Canyon Road, Santa Fe's street of art galleries. Almost 200 galleries make their home on this one street (Santa Fe is the 2nd largest art market in America only to New York) and the work varies from traditional Native American art to landscapes to contemporary artists like Man Ray and Picasso.

It was neat to see a community that celebrated art as much as Santa Fe does. I know that it was inspiring to Alli.

Our hotel was fantastic. Not only did it have a terrific staff (most specifically, our concierge, Michael), but they include a free breakfast buffet (not continental...a full breakfast) and their hotel bar has pretty good food for the money ($2 chips and salsa, $4 burgers).

On Saturday, we woke up early and went for a short hike in the mountains. After that, we went to the Santa Fe Farmer's Market, where we saw a lot of really neat fresh stuff, like the raw honey that Alli bought, and the hippies playing hand-made instruments.

We also walked around the town and saw the oldest active church (and house) in America. It was a lazy day, a nice end to our trip that we rounded out with a visit to Tomasita's, a great restaurant where we had fantastic chalupas and really HOT chips and salsa.

The drive back went pretty quickly and was interesting because right before we got out of New Mexico, we saw a hot air balloon race. Then, when we were almost home, we hit a storm that was pretty tame, but had some spectacular lightning. It was a great trip...extremely relaxing, yet I was still somehow exhausted from it (possibly the 30+ hours in the car).

If you are interested in learning more, check out my flickr set from Santa Fe.

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