Christmas in Santa Fe, New Mexico! 🙂 Photo’s are at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/675udff972cg1bx/yqcrIgiuEZ (we also visited New Mexico in 2006, if you are interested in seeing what NM looks like in summer you can see those photo’s at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7bmms438cqdyc08/bG0WD5hmSM).
We weren’t quite sure what to expect of a desert state in winter but I was quite determined to spend at least a couple of days dragging Geoff around the endless number of world famous galleries in Santa Fe – none of which we had had time for the last time we came to NM for a summer vacation with friends – much to my chagrin!
However, as my carefully coordinated plan of activities came slowly into being we discovered (with some interest) that it had started snowing in the nearby mountains….so…..we watched the snow report for a few weeks before leaving and contemplated whether our gallery exploring/foodie dominated/relaxing week away avoiding the horrors of commercial Christmas again in Florida (there are only so many palm trees covered in twinkly lights and fake snow on our golf course development one can take in 77F !) may well turn into an early skiing vacation … 🙂
Needless to say – there was, in the final analysis, very little relaxation enjoyed and I still haven’t set foot inside a single art gallery in Santa Fe, much to Geoff’s relief 😉
Funnily enough, Christmas Eve was an unexpected delight for 2 hardened anti-commercial Christmas grinches. Just to set the scene (and make even us smile) it started snowing in town as we left the hotel bundled up for an arctic expedition to Canyon Road to see the farolito light displays. We don’t know how they have kept this event such a secret from the outside world – and are surprised it hasn’t been franchised and now available for sale in every Walmart store across the land 😉
Anyway – to explain – the town pedestrianizes the streets, turns off the street lights and lights literally thousands of candles in brown paper bags – they decorate the buildings, the pathways, gardens, plazas etc – they are basically precariously balanced on any and every wall and rooftop for miles. To add to the Christmassy magic (not something I usually say, I know!) there were impromptu gatherings of people around log fires on the street corners singing carols and sipping hot chocolate in the lightly falling snow……I guess this is what Christmas Eve is really supposed to be about…… we really loved it 🙂
To make it even better we woke to 8″ of perfect powder snow on Christmas Day – so that was that – nothing else mattered from then on 😉
Skiing was fab 🙂 Geoff totally surprised me by renting skis for the first time in years – as he is now an avid and irritating snowboarder! Depressingly, after a 12 year absence from skiing he was still way better than me (even on his first run) and he seemed to enjoy it so much, he’s even talking about returning to the fold and trading in his board for a pair of skis again!!!! 😉
Try as we (I !) might we never really made it into any of the galleries/interesting jewelers after that – so no late Christmas present for me! Happily, as big foodies, we did at least, manage to explore the very impressive restaurant scene which could rival any decent city around the world 🙂
We did find time to squeeze in a quick visit to a Japanese spa in the hills which was lovely – sitting in a boiling pool of people soup with snow all around and the smell of pine trees in the air…. Geoff thought he saw Robert Downey Jr head into the sauna – which I thought was pretty unlikely but I had to check it out of course 😉 – as this was undoubtedly going to be the only opportunity in my life where I could possibly sit stark naked within 2 feet of Mr D Jr …..I guess whoever it was might have been “somebody famous” as he did come with a naked Russian bodyguard who was running around following orders but tragically it most certainly wasn’t RD Jr…..sigh….. 😉 So much for Geoff’s LASIK eye surgery – it certainly didn’t come with celebrity spotting radar 😉
To make up for my disappointment I was treated to a foot massage (a bit crap) and to a far more exhilarating salt glow scrub by a rather enthusiastic masseur. I would definitely do this again – there’s nothing quite like being basted in warm oil, drizzled in salt and vigorously pummeled until the top layer of your skin is sand papered away onto the floor. Apparently this is very good for you. Geoff was a chicken and opted for the hour massage instead….what a girl!
In a further attempt to keep me away from the jewelry stores, Geoff decided we would do a road trip to Taos for lunch and revisit the Indian reservation at Taos Pueblo – a fascinating village of adobe houses – permanently inhabited in various forms for at least 1,000 years. Theoretically, this trip should have taken 1.5 hours on the scenic High Road (the slow route). After adding a side trip to a “bend in the river” somewhere near Abiquiu which I vaguely remembered from 6 years ago and HAD to see again in winter – without a map because we were too stupid to pack one – AND after endeavoring to locate the said High Road relying on vague memories and a totally useless electronic map on the iPad (which failed to assist in any way due to the fact we were way out in the boonies of New Mexico half way up a mountain pass without any cellphone signal) we eventually arrived there 5 hours later exhausted and starving! 😉
That is not to say that we had not enjoyed the various diversions in the meantime although there was a sticky moment where we almost got stuck in the snow in our crappy rental car (designed more for a little light interstate driving than skidding about on a snow covered mountain road). It was at this stage when we both conceded that perhaps we had missed our turn as it was very hard to believe that the most popular scenic drive in the state had been left so completely untended by snow plough 😉 So – we reversed back over the snowy, icy track (god knows where we were) for a good mile or 2, drove round in circles a bit more etc etc before finally stumbling across the correct road that we should have taken! 😉 Never again will we totally rely on technology alone to guide us safely through our travels despite Geoff’s protestations that technology is the way of the future and paper is dead 😉 Not on my watch I am afraid!
By far the safest option for the remainder of the vacation was to navigate the icy, slippery mountain pass to Santa Fe ski resort instead (why they fail to plough this I cannot imagine – I guess they can afford to lose a few skiers on the way up to the mountain without it affecting the bottom line much). In any event, it might have been hairy at times but at least we knew the way!
By this time I had been unexpectedly slammed by some horrible person’s disgusting cold but that wasn’t enough to deter us from skiing the lovely powdery slopes despite the sudden drop in temperature and icy winds to -24F. Perhaps not the best idea with a snotty cold as those temperatures tend to freeze your breath (and everything else) into icicles and deposit frost on your hair …but what the hell – you couldn’t beat the powder and it is simply weeks and weeks to go until we head out on our real skiing vacation in Colorado !;-) 🙂 Plenty of time to recover from the cold before heading out to more frozen climes once more 🙂