New Mexico: Day 2

While driving around New Mexico, I started thinking about how different cultures emerge often in response to the environment around them. HBL and I spent hours driving through New Mexico and Colorado, imagining what people outside of the major cities do during their days. It must be so different from the hustle and bustle I enjoy as a city dweller. Not only that, but it must be different than the upbringing I knew back East, with a grassy backyard and acres of lush forest to explore. Do kids just wander off into the arroyos and badlands like I did my own backyard?

It is kind of cool to think that ways of life differ so vastly in just one country- think about the multitude of ways of life in different countries. Do they vary by country, or is it more landscape? These ruminations, I think, nicely sum up why I feel the need to travel so badly. I have to find out!

ANYWAY, the day dawned bright and early with a visit to my FAVORITE breakfast place in the world, Tecolote Cafe. Although it isn’t the classiest establishment, they make absolutely fabulous breakfast dishes with a Southwestern flair.

I had my personal favorite, something I dream about between trips to Santa Fe, the Atole Pinon pancakes, made from blue corn and pine nuts, and cinnamon roles with real Mexican cinnamon.

After a breakfast fit for a king, we went to Los Alamos, also known as Atomic City. Not only is this the home to the atomic bomb, it’s a huge testing site for satellites. It makes sense, too, when you see the wide open spaces that surround the city. We stopped at an overlook in the middle of town and stayed for several hours (not an exaggeration) just looking out at the great beyond. We met a local there who told us you can even see Colorado, 120 miles away, from the overlook!

We tore ourselves away to visit Bandolier National Monument. You have to park at the visitor’s center and take a shuttle bus down a canyon to the actual site, which was annoying at first, but it makes sense considering how many government sites you pass on the way (not to mention how little parking there actually is). The Monument is actually a huge canyon full of Anasazi cliff dwellings.

All those holes you see at the base of the canyon were homes 600 years ago!

We explored the canyon for hours, climbing in and out of caves people made from stone tools in the side of the cliffs. I even climbed 147 vertical feet to get to the tallest dwelling, which I thought I would be too afraid to do!

By the time we got back to Santa Fe, it was nearing dark, so we took some photos of the city at dusk.

The shops in downtown Santa Fe have the most interesting artwork using all kinds of mediums, including…raptor teeth?

Then, we jumped in the car and headed home, but not before we got some good pictures of the sunset- and a few of us being silly- on back country roads where you can see cars coming from miles away.

Who wouldn’t dance on such a long, straight, empty road?! Back to reality tomorrow. Not looking forward to it after this magical weekend.


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