|September 2 – 5
The thing that is striking me about New Mexico are the colours. The buildings are in the main painted to fit in with the desert so they have a reddish brown and sometime pink hue to them. Occasionally there will be a white building with blue surrounds to break things up. The colours in the artwork are bright and vibrant reds, yellows, blues and greens and this goes onto the blankets, cushions and clothing as well.
Even the landscape is surprisingly pretty. Red mountains covered in green desert grass and bushes with beautiful yellow wild flowers all around. As I write this I look out on a freshly rain washed view that includes a red/orange hilltop that has the last rays of the sun reflecting off it. It’s really nice…
We have stopped in 3 towns so far, Taos, Santa Fe and Madrid and I’ve enjoyed all 3 greatly. The common theme is that each is strong in arts with plenty of galleries to see, along with jewellery and pottery. The architecture in Taos and Santa Fe is true to the old style Mexican building and delightful to see.
Taos is close to the Rio Grande and has a couple of hot spring spots right on the river. We chose the easiest one to get to and spend an hour or so relaxing in a hot spring pool and alternating that with a splash in the Rio Grande. I was not expecting this experience and am mighty grateful for it. This was definitely one of those “there’s nothing better than…” moments.
We took time on the Saturday walking through Taos getting a good feel of the town and also getting a massage. There is plenty to see and do and I found a particularly funky café to spend time in. There seems to be a happiness here that I have not found in too many places here.
Santa Fe again was great. A major centre in the history of New Mexico and a town that boasts both the oldest house in the USA and the oldest church. People have been living in and coming to this town for hundreds of years. The history is rich…
The town plaza was holding a market so part of the day was spent wondering through the market taking in the art, pottery and jewellery on offer. Time was also spent in buildings such as the Palace of the Governor’s and beautiful church with a staircase that does two 360 degree spirals without any centre support. This staircase is called the Miraculous Staircase because things like that are not meant to happen.
An afternoon thunderstorm interrupted our time at the market so we headed to a clothing optional spa called Ten Thousand Waves. There we spent time soaking in a hot tub, sweating in the sauna and relaxing in the meditation room. This spa has a Japanese design and is wonderful. For $25 you get treated exceptionally well and get to spend as much time as you want in the spa. Massages cost an over the top amount of money and were booked out for the day. For a fee you can also get time in the private pools which from the photos are very nice indeed.
If you are getting the feeling that our trip sometimes has a focus on naked hot springs and saunas then you are right. It’s great to get your gear off and relax in natural hot spring water, particularly when the pool is in the middle of nowhere or next to a major river that you can also jump naked into. Life is good so enjoy it when you can…
Our drive out of Santa Fe took us on a byway and straight into Madrid. We never saw this town coming and we had a blast. Very small in size however large in life. This town and the surrounding area has been the feature in many movies, the latest being Wild Hogs. The main building in the movie was a diner built for the movie and was left behind to be run as a souvenir shop.
This used to be a mining town and is now a centre for arts & crafts, cafes and a pub where the bikers hang out. Bright, warm and colourful is how I describe Madrid. Definitely put it on your trip planner…
As I said at the top, I’m really getting blown away by this area and the vividness of the colours and the places we are stopping. New Mexico was meant to be a place we took a breath and looked at where we went next. Where we went next was New Mexico.