I got up bright and early this morning, had breakfast, and at 8:00 AM sharp I was at Taos Pueblo, where I was the first visitor of the day. I know this because the woman to whom I paid the admission fee had to log into the computer before she could accept my payment. As I paid my camera fee ($5 extra) she said that photographers usually come early, and to honor that, signs aren't put out by individuals selling things until after 9:00 AM. I loved that, and it was totally dumb luck, stumbling into that. Other advantages to arriving so early: the light was very beautiful, and there was hardly anyone out and about, other than quite a few dogs and a couple of other photographers.
By 9:00 I'd filled the memory card on my camera, so I changed that out and decided it was time to get on the road for Santa Fe. I'd decided to take the High Road down, as there were a number of stops on that route that I wanted to make on the way. I stopped at Las Trampas to visit and take some pics of the beautiful San Jose de Gracia church, built in 1760. People were working on it, but they cheerfully invited me to explore, which I did. I hope I got some decent pics to document this beautiful place.
A little further along the High Road, I stopped at the gorgeous shrine, El Santuario de Nuestro Senor de Esquipulas (the Shrine of Our Lord of Esquipulas), or simply El Santuario de Chimayo. This church, built in 1814 or 1816, reportedly attracts up to 30,000 people each year during Holy Week. Many people come because the dirt in the shrine is supposed to be holy, and capable of curing people of sickness There were many more places I could have stopped along the way, but when I got back on the road I drove straight through to Tesuque, because I wanted to be at the Shidoni Foundry by 1:00 for a bronze pour. I made it, and watching that was VERY cool. Actually, it was VERY hot, and very loud, but definitely something worth seeing, and I really really hope my pics turn out.
After that, I got back on the road and drove into Santa Fe, where my parking karma worked and I found a parking spot, with money in the meter, within a block of the beautiful LaFonda. I walked over and had a late lunch at La Plazuela: mango gazpacho (pureed mangos, cucumbers, roasted yellow bell peppers, and sliced green grapes), followed by duck quesadillas, a glass of ice tea and finally, my 60th birthday margarita. Very civilized.
Afterward, I walked outside, down the Old Santa Fe Trail to Loretto Chapel, where I hoped to take some pics of the amazing staircase. But the chapel was closed for the day for a wedding (at least that's an excellent reason for missing it).
So I got back in my car and drove back to Taos, through some very heavy rain and a bit of hail. As I came into town on NM 68, I couldn't resist stopping once again at my favorite church, San Francisco de Asis. I wanted to see how it looked in the rain, and the answer is: spectacular. The chocolate color of the wet adobe against the white trim was worth getting drenched and cold to see. Back in my room at the B&B, I warmed up by sitting in the steam shower for 20 minutes.