In the high deserts!
Santa Fe Travel Blog› entry 17 of 18 › view all entries
For the first time in all the trips that I have been on, I dont have an itenirary chalked out. I dont have a plan. I dont have print outs of all the bus routes. I dont have a visitors guide.
And for the first time on a trip, I'm just sitting in front of a church (supposedly the oldest church in the
The sun glaring down at me.. the chill in the breeze giving me goosebumps.. with little mud houses scattered all around in the background.. this trip to
I have to go back and apologise to Bhagwad.
My little room at the inn with walls of mud tends to get about 10 degrees cooler than the temperature outside. I didnt realise this when I checked in. The weather was nice and warm when I landed.. And I had almost begun to chide myself for having carried a sweater as well as my thick jacket. This didnt feel like a place I'd need either in! How I was mistaken! Less than two hours into bed, and I had to rush to put on warmer clothes and turn the heat up!!
The first day, I set out to explore the city.
Thanks to Wikitravel, I had some idea of the places to see in the city. They were either churches or museums. Ordinarily, I would not indulge in either. I'd want something to do. Something that requires activity. But in the spirit of this being a lazy vacation, I decided to go see what the churches and museums are all about. On the first day, all I did was walk. It being Thanksgiving, most shops and insitutions were closed. And so, I just trekked around.. getting a feel of the place.
In the afternoon, I hiked up to one of the closest Indian Pueblos. As I had been warned, I was not allowed to pull out my camera.. A small group of people.. living their lives in peace and harmony.. and quite ticked off with the idea that they were listed on the "must-see" section of every travel guide on
As the day came to an end, I headed back towards the inn. And I saw a glimpse of the most amazing sun set. I could see the skies turn golden.
I was on too low an elevation to capture the beauty of the sunset.. So I ran uphill... hoping to catch another angle before the sun slid behind the mountains. But no luck there either.
I returned to the inn, dejected at not having got a better view, but set on finding a strategic viewpoint from where to capture the slipping of the sun behind the mountains.
I googled relentlessly, but it was of no help. All the spots mentioned were far from the city and needed driving to. How I hate that I cant get to the best places in this country unless I have a car.
Anyways, Day 1 ended with some catching up with work and a nice long phone conversation. And a few glasses of this lovely warm Kaluha based drink at the
When I turned in at 2 in the morning, I knew I wouldnt be up in time for sun rise the next day!!
I woke up fairly early considering I had slept so late the previous night. By 8 a.m. I was washed and dressed and ready for breakfast. Immediately after breakfast, I set out - back towards the Plaza - the heart of the city.. (town, actually).
As I got closer, I heard that divine sound of church bells in the distance.. And I knew I had to go there. I spent the whole morning in churches. Three of them! AND.......I even attended Mass!!! I have to admit that this was only because it was in Latin! I had to know what it was like. And it was amazing. I didnt get a word of what was being said, but it sounded so beautiful! Then in one of the churches, there was a priest singing.
Anyway, I didnt go back in to record it again.
Instead, I went to what claims to be the oldest church in
You know, whenever I read about.. or watch a movie about the history of
And being in
This is their country. Their land. Its sad to see that now they have become a curiosity.. something out of the ages gone by.. something to publisize and make money out of.
We used to have debate competiotions at school. Topics that made it difficult to choose whether you should speak for or against... Colonisation was, unfortunately, never discussed. It would have made such a good debate. So much good has come of it, and yet... so much bad too.
Anyway, coming back to me and my plans for the day.
I had initially signed up for a tour to
And now, with three strong, yet delicious drinks down, I am quite high and happy!!
I intend to go lie down on the grass at the Plaza after this...
I didnt go lie down on the grass at the Plaza after all. I was so drowsy after all that drinking that I decided to walk it off. And before I knew where my feet were headed, I was back at the inn.. in my room.. flat on the bed! I have never had such a peaceful afternoon nap!
At 5 in the evening, I woke up with a start! The sun was going down. I had promised myself that I'll find an elevated spot to watch the sun slide into the horizon.. and so I dragged myself out of bed, rang the complimentary shuttle that the inn provided, and hurried to catch a sight of the sun as it slipped away...
After a tight race with the sun, I managed to get a few moments of beauty.
The skies turning golden.. the mountains turning to a shade of pink... and the silhouette of the bare branches of the trees obstucting my view...
It was all perfect!
I stayed there for quite a while after the sun went down.. just taking in the views.. and the breeze. And then it was time for the show!
The city's local troupe was performing for the Thanksgiving weekend and everyone was talking about the show. So I decided to go see what the fuss was all about. It was basically an acrobatics based show but they had kinda added a story line to it.. and lots of humor. So it was a good watch. Entertaining.
In my defense, I did wake up at 5 in the morning to go see the sun rising.
And so, that plan was dropped. And I snuggled under the blankets for a few hours more.
Saturday is the day the locals put out their famers and artists markets. And so, thats where I headed for breakfast. I just love the atmosphere of a farmers market. Bustling with activity.. everyone fresh and full of energy.. displaying their wares... Everything smells so clean and nice..
After some hot chocolate and a strange kind of burrito, I headed to the train depot to get on a train into the desert.
This city is referred to as the "high
So, I got onto the train.. and set off to see what they call the
I decided to go trekking into the desert. Now, the desert around
At first I didnt realise what everyone was doing there. And then I slowly figured it out.. There was a fire engine at the far side of the plaza.. with Santa Claus sitting atop it.. handing out gifts to little kids! And then there was music! A live band gathered on the stage and started off with Christmas Carols.. It was just such a nice festive mood and with songs like "Let it snow" and "Rudolph the red nose reindeer" being sung in the background, it was like Christmas was already here!
I sat on the grass for a couple of hours while the festivities lasted and then decided to head back to the inn.
As I was walking back, I heard some very very nice blues being played at one of the bars... I stood outside it for a while.. listening.. enjoying.. And then, as an afterthought, decided to step in.
I wasnt very comfortable initially.. I didnt want to draw any attention.. I didnt want anyone to come talk to me. I just wanted to listen to the music. And hoping that it would be just as I wanted to, I ordered some beer and sat down at one of the booths.
Two glasses later I realised that I had a 20 min walk ahead of me if I intended to get back to my hotel! And so, slightly unsteady on feet, I got ready to brace the cold night's air as I walked back to my warm and cozy room :)
Before I actually landed in
Anyways, we'll let bygones be bygones. The point basically is that I had more time on my hands than I had things to do.
And so, I decided to make this trip a most unusual one.
I went to museums. I spent hours and hours in churches. Even attended mass - twice! And I visited more pubs in these 3 days than I have visited in my entire tenure in the
(And like most of my recent writings, I left this one unfinished! To cut a long story short, it was a nice lazy vacation filled with food and wine J and lovely lovely sunsets.