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June 20, 2017

Sante Fe – the capital city

Santa Fe is the capitol of New Mexico, but as tourists we are not here for the politics - just some history.

Parking $30!, but it’s right downtown, walk to the Plaza.  OK, we’ve all paid less for FHU and this is just for a few hours of walking around, but the location is perfect!  The Basilica of St Francis is right there adjacent to the parking lot..  So we have to stop here on the way to the Visitor Center.

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Next to the Basilica is Cathedral Park, a nice green park that today was displaying the art from their art museum.
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The Plaza remains a crowded gathering place, with sellers and tourists lining the walls and the alcoves.  Today appeared to be a Spanish/local market.  A very Mexican border town feel … street vendors and bright colors.
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109 East Palace, this has to be the most famous of our ‘top secret’ addresses of World War II.  All Los Alamos scientists and employees were vetted here, all communication with their family, friends or the outside in general passed thru this office. 
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Along with the historic buildings are modern art pieces used to catch the tourist eye.
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But the reason to pay $30 just to park is the Loretto Chapel and its miraculous staircase.
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There is no central support for the staircase and no nails, only wooden pegs.  Originally it did not include the railing, which was added a few years later for safety.  Rumor is St. Joseph himself built it, as the original builder disappeared without pay for his labor.
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Opposite the staircase is the alter, draped in white.
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For lunch we chose The Shed for its made-fresh chili sauce.  I ordered my enchiladas ‘Christmas style’ to sample both the red and green sauces, but hot is HOT – note to self … order medium next time.
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I have it on great authority (son Michael) the Chili Rellenos at the La Fonda hotel are killer.  That may have been a better choice …

Santa Fe is both the origin and the termination of the Santa Fe Trail, depending on the direction of travel and as part of the trade routes on the  Old Spanish Trail, .
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The San Miguel Church is the oldest church in the United States.
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The church bell was cast in 1356 in Spain.
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Santa Fe also boasts the oldest house in the present day US.  It’s an interesting 2 story adobe home (no faux-dobe here!), but it is without any truly original pieces.  The displays are ‘representative’ still an interesting and FREE stop!
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My wine notes on New Mexico’s ‘oldest winery’ La Chiripada … basically they need to grow up.  There is NO parking for an RV, not even for our itty-bitty unit.  The wines we tasted were all bottled too soon with a very tanic taste, tho they could age well, I’ll not be back to find out.
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Moving on up – to Taos (and a better winery choice) next

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