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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Friday, November 9, 2007

So, rested and rejuvenated we continued southwards following the Rio Grande Gorge until it spread out before us blanketed in fields long harvested of their fruits of the summer.

The countryside much more inhabited now, until we were once more in that dreaded place - the town! Traffic, noise and signs heralded that we had arrived in bustling Santa Fe. To be fair we had by passed the old town on our way to the campsite - Los Campos, what a name eh? So, once settled we headed for the older parts of town. Drenched in the afternoon sunshine it was much more what we were expecting. Well with a name like Santa Fe the pictures were of dusty western streets, the odd horse hitched to a wooden post, perhaps a sleepy New Mexican beneath his sombrero...well maybe not! We began in the State capitol, you know us, we've been to many of these and they are usually full of hidden gems. This one was no exception, although rather a utilitarian building constructed in the 60's it is open to the public, like all the others have been and it houses a state art collection featuring New Mexican talent. We spent a while just wandering, greeted by the governors secretary who hoped we would have an enjoyable stay! ...only in America!

Busy workers passed silently but purposefully around us, until one "Larry" paused to comment on an exhibit we were looking at. "Are you in a hurry?  If not may I show you my favourite corridor?" Well why not... we spent a good few minutes listening to his advice about what to see (More of this in the next blog) I can't wait I hear you say!!
Anyhow, we bade farewell to Larry and the Capitol Building and made our way to the Plaza, it did not disappoint. Bathed in that sunshine I mentioned before was the Palace of the Governor's, this is the oldest public building in the whole of America having served as the centre of government from 1610.
Today it houses New Mexico's history museum. Outside shaded beneath it's portal or porch, Native American's sell there wares, silver, turquoise jewellery, leatherwork and drums. Amusingly we were in T shirts whilst they wore coats and sheltered behind umbrellas!

We strolled around the plaza soaking up the relaxed atmosphere; we visited the oldest church in America...really, the San Miguel mission also built in 1610, the year Santa Fe was founded. It was built for the Indian slaves that the Spaniards had brought with them from Mexico. 

And the Lorreto chapel where we joined others who marvelled at the 'impossible' staircase built at the behest of the nuns, with two complete 360 degree turns but without nails or any means of support by a fabled carpenter who disappeared without being paid. Malc pondered over that artistic marvel and spiritual mystery for a good few minutes!

We ventured inside La Fonda, the original building is documented in1822, but has been remodelled and is now a good example of 'Adobe Deco' or so we're told. Here Zsa Zsa Gabor married one of her husbands, whilst other noted guests incuded Erroll Flynn and James Stewart. Don't know if I'd rely on their postal service though! 

Gill this was another place for you; 250 galleries or so, wonderful art everywhere you turn, on street corners in gallery gardens...a feast for the eyes.
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