On the Trail of the Conquistadors

Trip Start May 17, 2010
Trip End Oct 10, 2010

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June 12th & 13th - Santa Fe National Forest

Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Saturday, June 12, 2010

On our way to the oldest state capital in the US, we turned off the highway onto a quiet old dirt road that led up a steep hill. We found ourselves in the old Spanish town of Abiquiu, which you may recognize as the backdrops for the movies Wyatt Earp and City Slickers. Aside from a charming old church and  a handful of friendly locals, there wasn't much in the town.

Established in 1610, Santa Fe is a mixture of traditional Indian Puebloan style and grand Spanish architecture with a dash of French design. It is vibrant, eclectic and buzzing, yet at the same time laid-back and peaceful. I believe that my pictures say a lot more than I can, so I'll spare you my inadequate description of the city and let you see for yourself what it is like.

We stopped at the grocery store to pick up something for dinner and when we emerged we noticed a small number of people setting up chairs on the roadside. Intrigued, we questioned an older gentleman and were informed that we were about to be treated to the procession of the Fiesta de Santa Fe. This annual parade that we fortunately stumbled upon (but unfortunately we had with us raw meat and a bag of ice on a hot Southwestern day) fulfills a promise made in 1691 by Don Diego de Vargas, the conquistador who bloodlessly reclaimed Santa Fe from the Indians who had evicted the Spaniards 12 years earlier. A deeply religious man, Vargas credited the bloodless reconquest to the Virgin Mary and announced her the sovereign queen of the territory, at the same time promising an annual celebration in her honor. In the procession, priests lovingly carry La Conquistadora, the oldest statue of the Virgin Mary in the US. She was carved in Spain sometime in the early 1600s, and brought to Santa Fe in 1625. Having survived the Indian sacking of Santa Fe only because she was carried away by the fleeing Spaniards, she was returned by Vargas and placed in a small chapel in what is now the Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi. She remains there to this day, ready to be pulled out each Spring for her grand celebration.
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Aunt Jan on

Great adventures! I love that pueblo style architecture. I hope all is going well. Be safe and keep taking lots of pictures. We all miss you. We will be heading to Europe in a week so I will be in touch afer we return (or maybe while we are there). Love you both!

joyce on

still enjoying your pics.....don't know how close you are to Las Vegas N Mex
we were there on vacation one time it is a very quaint place too...hope your having fun
Love to you both

ambs55 on

Jan it's great! I love the way that town is designed. Have fun in Europe and I'll talk to you when you get back.

Joyce I just drove through Las Vegas last weekend on my way to Mexico (I'll tell you the story about that later), it looked really neat, but we didn't have time to stop. Maybe next time!

Love you guys,

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