Christmas in Santa Fe

Santa came to Santa Fe Friday riding on the back of a vintage 1934 fire engine.  He entered the Plaza and took to his temporary house there to listen to youngsters recite their wish lists.  The Santa Fe Brass serenaded the crowd with Christmas songs as people milled about awaiting the official lighting ceremony.

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My first trip to The City Different was Christmas week 2006.  This time I’m witnessing the beginning of the city’s famous holiday extravaganza.  Santa Fe is famous for its Christmas tourism and downtown comes alive with farolitos (we call them luminaries) all along the adobe rooftops.  A large ice sculpture will appear in the Plaza as the holiday gets closer and the weather colder.

The weather has been nice since I arrived with afternoon highs between 55 and 60 degrees.  Combined with their 300 days of sunshine a year this has meant the odd sensation of listening to Christmas music on the radio while driving in short sleeves with a window down.

The cathedral of St. Francis of Assissi, the patron saint of Santa Fe for whom the city was named, sits a block off the Plaza and its bells ring out calling its faithful to mass.  Down the street is the Chapel of Loretto where a mysterious carpenter showed up one day and constructed a magical circular staircase with no center support.

Area Girl Scouts opened Friday’s festivities and others of their organization sold hot chocolate and hot cider.  The Santa Fe Brass, a five member ensemble, played Christmas music until the official lighting ceremony.  I wasn’t able to wait for that as I had reservations for dinner with friends from our Democratic Talk Radio Facebook page.  Here are my pictures and video, enjoy the music.

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Click “there’s more” for the rest of the pictures and video.

Flutist:

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The palace of the Governors is the oldest continuously used government building in the country:

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The Trip

I got up early (very early) Saturday morning to catch my 6AM flight out of Allentown and flew west to Chicago.  From there I caught a 757 to Houston and then another jet to Albuquerque where I arrived at 12:36PM local time.  Mountain time is a two hour difference and it’ll take me about a week to adjust.  Meanwhile I’m heading to bed around 8 and getting up at 4:30.  It’s a bummer until my body adjusts.  The United/Continental flights were very smooth and my layovers were spent getting from one terminal to another.  Houston/Bush International has a terminal train which swoops you from one to another.

Arriving in Albuquerque I headed east on Route 40 and caught the Turquoise Trail up to Santa Fe with a two hour stop in Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid) where the film Wild Hogs was shot.  This is an old west ghost town which was revived.  A lesbian couple opened a bar called The Mine Shaft and artists and crafters opened a couple of dozen shops selling western and Native American wares.  I picked up a few Christmas presents before heading back north on Rt. 14, the official name for the road.  The scenery along this route is unbelievable.  I couldn’t grab any photos while driving as it’s a narrow two lane section with no shoulders on which to park.

Sunday was spent at the famous Santa Fe Indian Market.  I’ve heard about this on all my previous trips but was never here in late August.  All of downtown Santa Fe is blocked off and 14 blocks are filled with booths filled with artwork, jewelry, leather goods, pottery, crafts, food and textiles.  The stage in the Plaza has Indian entertainment and I watched the 90th annual Indian Costume Contest.  One of the judges was designer Tom Ford who has a home here.  I got some great photos and will tag a few of them at the bottom of the article.  I had a corn bowl for lunch which was a concoction of corn chips, beans, onions, peppers, cheese and red sauce.  It was delicious.  I’ve grown a taste for New Mexico chili peppers from my previous trips and enjoy the red sauce.  Chilis are used to make either green or red sauce which is put on most everything.  

Not being on a computer for two entire days was different to say the least.  Today will be spent doing a few errands, going to the market for some food, picking up a few doggie treats for my little friend, etc.  We saw a coyote on our morning walk.  As we went out the gate it was just a few yards up the lane and went scampering off when Jodie growled at it.  What a brave little dog.  Chasing coyotes isn’t like chasing deer back in Pennsylvania!  This is my first time at my friend’s new home out here and it’s quite nice and comfortable.  We’re about 15 minutes north of Santa Fe.  I have a few day trips planned if my bad foot is up to it.  I’ve been nursing a bad Achilles tendon for a bit and it didn’t like all the walking I did yesterday.  I need to catch up on the news, I see momentous things are happening in Libya.