Saturday, October 12, 2013

Santa Fe, New Mexico - Part I

Headed out of Tucson for a 4 hour drive to Las Cruces, NM.  We took our time and arrived at the place we were staying around 5:45 p.m.  Homeowners, Lee and Emily, came out to greet us and help us take in our luggage.  What great folks.  Lee is a U.S. Army veteran who served several  tours in Iraq with the 1st Armored Division.

Lee asked if we wanted to dinner together and we went to one of their favorite Mexican restaurants - Andele.  I had the all meat burrito that was out of this world.  Main treat was their green chili they put over their items.  A big hit.  When we got home we sat around the fire pit and talked, had a few drinks and looked at each other's pictures.  We had a wonderful stay with Lee and Emily, they are some of the best folks we've met in our travels.  

Lee & Emily's beautiful home
Las Cruces, NM

View of mountains from neighborhood

Lee, John and Captain Morgan
Mixing up cocktails

Out by fire pit
Beautiful Emily, one of the sweetest gals I've met

Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the United States.  The history is fascinating with such strong ties to native Americans and Mexico and today it still is very multi-cultural.

Spent Wednesday night in Santa Fe in a hotel.  Went in the hot tub and met a great lady named DiAnn.  We had such a great conversation and fun talking.  I also got to visit with her husband who was a nice guy.  It was so weird but I felt like I had known her from somewhere, sometime.  She told me about the Albuquerque Balloon Festival that was coming up on the weekend for a week long balloon fest.  I had always wanted to see this and could not believe the timing.  I gave her our card and she did contact me.  So I'm sure we will keep in touch.

Thursday - Santa Fe, arrived and met Ann and Jim and their dogs, Chaco and Misa.  A huge, beautiful home with lots of windows and views of the mountains that are lovely.  I think we will see some great sunsets here. We settled in and dinner was served.  We visited for awhile and then it was bed time.

Chaco on left and Misa
Dining room window looking for rabbits

Bark, bark, look what we found

Friday, up early and headed out to Plaza area downtown to see some sites and to let Ann and Jim get packed.  We got to see the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

And almost next door was the Loretto Chapel, famous for its mysterious staircase.

The famous staircase mystery

Loretto Chapel, built 1878

Got home and Jim heated up some delicious home made pazole, along with guacamole, salsa fresca and a margarita.  A very good dinner that we appreciated.

Next day, up at 6:45 a.m., housekeeper comes for day at 7:00 a.m. and the dogs eat and go out at 7:00. Jim and Ann took off for Colorado around 8:00 a.m.   John and I unpacked the car and set up our computers. We just lazed around and later went to the store to get some food items.

Sunday, up 6:45 to feed the "kids" and let them out.  Then back to bed for a little more sleep.  This will be our two week routine.  Later in the day drove out to the Santa Fe Opera house since many people told us it was quite beautiful.  It is a bit out of town and in a beautiful setting.  Opened in 1957, it is an outdoor venue. They have an opera season and other events throughout the year.

Outside view of Opera House

Drove through Tesuque Village where there is a foundry and art galleries.  Some pretty abode homes, interesting fences and it is quite remote.  I think it is sort of a "hip" artist area.

Trees are changing - winter is on the way

On Monday, took a ride along Hyde Park Road to Santa Fe Ski Basin and Hyde Memorial State Park. One of the most beautiful drives ever and a perfect day.  I hiked up Waterfall Trail, very uphill, rocky and rough especially when the elevation was about 9,500 feet.  The aspens were spectacular with yellow and a bit of orange.  We had a little picnic along the way.  A day I will never forget and just in case I do I've got probably 100 photos to refresh my memory.

The colors were spectacular

A short, but very uphill and rough trail
I only fell down once

Big hike for tiny waterfall, but
at least some water was coming down

Tuesday breakfast out at The Pantry.  Boise friends will crack up because The Pantry is my favorite hamburger place there, but this is Mexican food.  Had a carne adovada burrito (I had my red sauce on the side) and John had a chili relleno burrito with green chili sauce.  Wonderful breakfast.

John wanted to go to Harrell House of Natural Oddities and Bug Museum and he had a great time.  The owner was there and gave him a personal tour - even asked if he wanted to hold a scorpion or tarantula, to which he answered no thanks.  We seem to be having our own little spider battle here at the house as the weather is getting cold and some pretty big spiders are coming in.

We then took a drive up to Old Fort Marcy Park, built in  1846 when the Americans were at war with Mexico and were worried about the native Mexican people revolting. Also saw the Cross of the Martyrs erected in 1920 to commemorate the Franciscans killed during the Pueblo Rebellion of 1680.

View of all of Santa Fe from the Fort

Wednesday was balloon festival in Albuquerque.  Up 3:00 a.m. and had a marvelous day.  I did an entire separate blog on that event with many photographs.  It was a dream of a lifetime.

A day to remember

Oh I've fallen behind and can't keep track of all we've done, so I'll just list things and hope I can remember the details later.

Thursday stopped by chocolatier Smith Chocolate and got some white choc bark lemon/lavender  It was perfect. John got the dark choc. with chili/pistachio.  Cost was out of this world, but a special treat.

Friday, went down Canyon Road and checked out a few galleries.  Met some nice women in the gold/silver shop.  Other galleries with paintings/sculpture has a few nice things, but some were so crazy the dogs we are taking care of could have created them.  I can't understand why "art" that I could paint/make/create can be art and sell starting at $500 - $50,000.  Some of the stuff really made me just crack up.  The real joke is the people who buy some of this crap.  Needed energy boost so stopped at  Kakawa for Mexican chocolate drink.  Not like our American cocoa, thick, yummy.  I had almond/vanilla and John had chili.  Got a few candies too.  Cost was in outer space, but again special treat.

Tiny cup $3.25

Met for dinner with our friend George.  We met him in Cancun two years ago.  He suggested Tomasita's  on Friday night at 6:00 p.m.  The place was SRO, packed.  We did get a place at the bar and actually ate there. Best margaritas and the food was worth waiting for.  Been in Santa Fe over 45 years.  So good, so good.  I had 3 tacos with rice and John had 2 tamales and an enchilada with rice and beans.  John is going to be eating veggies for 3 days to make up for this dinner.  So good to see our friend and we hope we'll have another chance to get together and to also see his wife Alicia.

A good place end for now.  So much to write about.  I am going to try to write less next blog entry.  Santa Fe is a dream city, highly recommended.  I have fallen in love with it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Balloon Festival - Albequrque, NM 10/9/13

Up at 3:00 a.m. to get ready for a quick drive to Albuquerque for the Mass  Ascension.

We went on Wednesday, mid week, to hopefully avoid crowds which we did.  Got parked, got ticket, shuttle to field, timely balloons, shuttle back and we were on our way back to Santa Fe.  Lucky we're not into shopping, so we avoided getting more "stuff" and spending money.  A very reasonable price, parking $10.00 and our tickets were $8.00 each -- can't beat that.  Wind was perfect.  If it is too windy the balloons can't go up -- especially the huge and oddly shaped character balloons.  Just the best ballooning conditions and we were so lucky to see them all.

Theme this year was "Enchanted Sunrise" and it sure was.  The world's largest ballooning event has more than 550 hot air balloons, including more than 90 special shapes, representing more than 18 countries. Albuquerque's population swells by 500,000 visitors enjoying the world's most-photographed event.

Not much needs to be said, so I'm just posting some photos.  Hope you enjoy................

Bundled up, it was a cold morning
We all could get right up to the balloons

The balloons were so close

Darth Vader

Hum, a pink elephant??

Wave after wave launching
Over 550 balloons

See the plane trail over balloon
Many planes were flying around
I imagine their view was fantastic

This got blown up, but didn't make it off the ground.  
They actually had a "back up" black and
white regular balloon they were able to launch

Color, color, color
Had to change batteries in my camera and the SD card

There were some great character balloons.  Things were going up so fast
I'd look up and there would be new creatures.

Even an angry bird made the scene

Love the happy face balloon

Due to trademark - this big
guy is called "Aaron", but we
know who he really is

Is this spider piggy bank?

The 3  bees all took off together
and we thought they were one balloon

Cutest bees

Beautiful colorful hummingbird

Evil looking hornet

Balloon from England

The sky was so full of balloons

All bundled up, it was chilly

The End of a fabulous morning we 
will never forget.  Cross this off the
Bucket List