I had mentioned in one of my previous posts that Santa Fe would be a city I wouldn't mind living in. So thought I'd do a post on this artistic city.
Raghav had a conference there last year and I went along because I had some time off. So while he was busy indoors, I explored on foot and visited several of the art galleries and small museums scattered all over the city center.
Walking around in Santa Fe is like wandering around in an art museum. The city exudes art. This is mainly due to a decision by the city planners to impose a unified building style in the city. All buildings have to have the Spanish Pueblo Revival look, with earth-toned, adobe walls, rounded corners, subdued lighting, and flat roofs.
A bonus was that it had snowed the day before we arrived, and the beautiful adobe buildings framed with fresh fallen snow made them look absolutely dreamy.
The pink and brown buildings have bright colored windows and there are interesting sculptures scattered all over the city.
There were little artistic touches everywhere. Murals on the walls ... even the arrows leading to the restrooms in the little mall in the city center were creative!
There was a street market of local Native American artists and potters in the morning one day. They had just spread out their wares on the sidewalk, and were in business! I bought a small fridge magnet from one lady. The piece is very small (only about 2 inches long), with lovely, intricate brushwork. She collects the clay from her land and makes these pieces with natural dyes.
In the past, after harvest in the late summer and early fall large chile peppers were strung to dry so that chile would be available for cooking year round. These bunches of chile pepper pods are called ristras. Today they are also displayed in this manner for decoration, and can be found all over the city - looking bright and spicy.
Santa Fe is also home to the oldest church in the United States, the El San Miguel Mission. The church was built in 1610, the year the city of Santa Fe was founded.
We were there in January, and Christmas lights and decorations still adorned some homes and the big local church. It was beautifully lit at night.
A short drive from Santa Fe is the Bandelier National Monument. A pleasant, short walk here takes you into the Frijoles Canyon, which contains a number of ancestral pueblo homes and cave dwellings carved out of the soft rock cliffs. Very dramatic and beautiful site. Will save the story of that visit for another post! What I wanted to include here is the entrance sign to the monument. Even this sign deviates from the norm and is charmingly decorated with traditional little motifs!
On the drive back to the airport, we had some stunning views of snow covered open land.
And so by the end of this short visit, I had fallen completely in love with Santa Fe!