Anyway, after taking on Roswell and Alamogordo, my husband and I drove up to the city of Santa Fe, which could have very well been on another planet. The towns we saw in southern New Mexico were working class, efficient, and had ties to the military. Santa Fe, however, has a high cost of living and is built around art, gourmet food, and tourism.
It's also distinguished by beautiful architecture, like its famous St. Francis Cathedral. Strangely, loitering ne'er-do-well teens like to hang out on its lawns. We asked if the church was cool with that and got a non-committal shrug, which I took to mean there wasn't much the church could do to stop it.
The inside was really beautiful too and simply filled with loitering tourists...
...who have apparently given the church some unwanted "donations" in the past.
Another of Santa Fe's most notable sites is the Palace of the Governors, a long building downtown where Native American artisans come out every day to sell jewelry and other crafts.
The food in Santa Fe is outstanding, and the Shed was probably one of the best restaurants we went to. It was recommended by my friend Amanda here, an old pal from western Michigan, who now lives in Santa Fe and was able to give us the insider secrets.
While in the area, we drove out to a museum in Los Alamos to learn about the Manhattan Project. We didn't get any pictures because Fat Man and Little Boy just don't get you that enthusiastic about photo-ops. Fortunately, there was some stunning scenery around the corner to get us excited again.
This is Bandelier National Monument, home to the ruins of an ancestral Pueblo settlement. There were ruins built straight into the ground like the shot above, as well as pueblos built into the cliffs. This is a picture taken from inside one of the cliff caves, looking out to the valley.
And it seems no matter where I go or how hard I try, I just can't get away from vampiric associations:
On our last day in Santa Fe, we decided to go on a walking tour of the city's sites. We later decided that's not such a smart idea on your last day in a place. By that point, we'd seen almost everything and were familiar with a lot of the history, much to the dismay of our tour guide...Pinky.
Pinky makes her living giving "wacky walking tours" of Santa Fe, telling the stories that "no one else will." I'm not convinced it was all that wacky, but then, I'm biased by Seattle's Underground Tour. I can say with certainty, however, that no other tour guide had wackier attire than Pinky, and she certainly knew her history. One place we hadn't visited yet was the Loretto Chapel.
You're probably thinking, "That's not a chapel, that's a staircase." It is a staircase--a miraculous one--inside the chapel. In fact, it's the chapel's claim to fame because it was allegedly built by a mysterious man who took no payment and created it in a way that "science" can't figure out. The wood is supposedly unidentifiable too, but I have a hard time believing that. Regardless, it's a beautiful structure and really is constructed in a cool way. Maybe it's alien, rather than angelic, technology, thus bringing us full circle in my vacation recap!
Because that's it! That was my New Mexico vacation, and believe me, it was needed. Since I work out of my home, I find that even if I'm not working, I feel like I'm still at work. That's no way to relieve stress. Book tours, while fun, are still work too, so it was high time I traveled somewhere with no writings, signings, or dressing up involved--and got to hang out with that guy I'm married to.
I'm home and back in the game again, right into the middle of Iron Crowned and Last Sacrifice edits. For those going to San Diego Comic-Con, I'll be there next week too, and my schedule is finally posted. If you're attending the con, I hope you'll come see me! Something cool's going to happen at my panel. My signing times are short, so if they're like some other cons I've been too, things may get so hectic that there are book limits and no posed pictures. We'll know more at the time.
Tomorrow: I have something awesome to post here, so be ready.