Thursday, August 11, 2011

Santa Fe

You guys remember how much I loved Astoria, Oregon and the surrounding area?  I'm pretty sure Santa Fe has it beat.  340 days of sunshine.  Average August highs of 85 degrees.  Snow in the winter.  Mountains.  Distinct seasons.  My sinuses haven't been this clear in years.  Great food.  Nice people.  Its perfect! 

But I digress.  After we hit up a Borders going out of business sale, we headed to downtown Santa Fe, or the Plaza area.  We took the Loretto Line tour around the district and would highly recommend anyone coming to Santa Fe to take a tour from these guys.  It was only $15 for adults ($12 for kids), and our guide was full of information about New Mexico history, the city, and even fun tidbits about residents.  He showed us his favorite spots along the way, which gave the tour a more personal feel.  It lasted about an hour and a half, but it let us see where everything was and we still had plenty of daylight left to go back and see what interested us along the way.

After the tour ended, we went to the Loretto Chapel, which is famous for its "Miraculous Staircase".  From the website:  "When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel.
Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers.
The stairway's carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today.
The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction.
Over the years many have flocked to the Loretto Chapel to see the Miraculous Staircase. The staircase has been the subject of many articles, TV specials, and movies including "Unsolved Mysteries" and the television movie titled "The Staircase." "

(I wanted to go up it, but we weren't allowed.)  

St. Francis of Assisi Basilica

1st and only Native American Saint

Palace of the Governors

Done by a blind sculptor

The arch is books with a child reading on top

Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Loretto Chapel

The Miraculous Staircase

we ate lunch there...good pizza, bad service

For Allison---its entirely beaded!

As for now, off to get buffalo burgers.  Tomorrow, Denver!

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