Exploring Santa Fe

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
Trip End Sep 01, 2012

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Sunday, May 27, 2012

Today we had set aside to travel up the road about an hour to explore Santa Fe as we had heard some really good things about the Santa Fe Plaza and we were also determined to go out for some local food for lunch. We had also read about all the different pueblo dwellings that were located in and around Santa Fe and we hoped to take the kids and do some touring. 
On the road, using our trusty Lonely Planet USA, we read about Bandelier National Monument which supposedly had some very interesting remains of early people and their cliff dwellings. So before lunch, we trundled on up the road to Bandelier. This being Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, there were lots of cars out and about and for the first time on this trip, we had to line up and wait our turn in order to get into the park. There was about a 15 minute wait and 15 cars in front of us. Nevertheless we persevered and we were sure glad we did.
There was a short walk up to the preserved (in their remains state) cliff dwellings and the kids really enjoyed the walk up and along the cliffs. There were some wooden ladders along the way so that we could climb up and into some of the different rooms and spaces that had been inhabited so long ago. The kids' eyes grew really large and it was neat to see the concept of people long ago living in these places and spaces sinking into their consciousnesses. It's hard to describe really, but the best way to put it is their comments of: "thanks for taking us here Mum and Dad" and "this was the best part of the day". (Finally, a highlight other than shopping for lego or toys at Walmart....parental inspired success!!!) An interesting sidenote was the people who walked off the path and went to take pictures, despite all the signs requesting you to remain on the path and respect the ruins. The kids are also beginning to notice these types of people.
Then we wound our way back to Santa Fe, had a walk around the plaza, and went to a rooftop cantina for a fantastic lunch. The kids had cheese quesadillas, Jess vegetarian tacos and Tim (are you surprised his was such a large order) had cornmeal breaded, stuffed and deep-fried jalapenos, and a Navajo taco, which was a large puffy tortilla mounded high with chicken, smoked pork, ground bison, drunken black beans, quacamole and salsa!!!! Wow, what a feast for all of us. Thanks to Uncle Pete for getting us on the road to Santa Fe and the Plaza and to Melissa for the suggestion of checking out some Pueblos. We rolled our way back to the car and drove back to Albuquerque. Dinner, a last load of laundry and getting ready to load up the car and move back into the tenting life tomorrow.
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