On Thursday, we all arrived at the Albuquerque airport, rented a car, and made the hour drive to Santa Fe. We checked into our condo, which was really cute - it was a two story, two bedroom, 2.5 bathroom place with a kitchen and living area. We went out to dinner at Tomasita's, which was a restaurant Jeff and I had wanted to try when we were there in 2015 but ran out of time. Dinner was good and came with sopapillas for dessert - honey and butter on hot fried dough? Yes please! Afterward, we drove to a grocery store to get some snacks, drinks, and something to cook at the condo for dinner the next night, as we'd been told that the town would be shutting down in the afternoon for the Zozobra festival.
On Friday morning, we made the one mile walk from the condo down to Tia Sophia's for breakfast - the weather was spectacular, just a little bit on the cool side, but sunny and - get this - very low humidity, ahhhhh! Jeff and I had eaten there last time were were in Santa Fe and loved it, so naturally I encouraged my group to go there, and it did not disappoint:
I had huevos rancheros with red sauce, potatoes, and a side of bacon - YUM.
After breakfast, we visited two museums on the plaza - the New Mexico History Museum, where we made a point to visit their press area, as Cindi has a letterpress and makes handprinted items:
Cindi was in her element here!
This area was small but very interesting. They had cards and books for sale that they'd printed right there, and also had some items regarding freedom of the press that they gave us for free, as long as we promised to display them. Here's one that we all brought home:
Now, more than ever.
We played around in the courtyard:
Just Cindi and my mom, hanging out in an old truck...
And visited the rest of the museum, which was quite interesting. Santa Fe is a very old city, and they are still digging up Indian artifacts - the museum's floors had a couple areas cut away, with plexiglass over the holes, where we could see how they were still finding items. They also had a temporary exhibit titled Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest, or as my brother and I called it, our childhood, LOL. I joke, but so much of what they had on display was what we grew up seeing, living in California.
New Mexico Museum of Art, which was so interesting! Every room was painted a different, vibrant color, which made the art on display pop beautifully. There were a couple pieces that I loved and wished there would have been a small poster or card replica to purchase in the gift shop, but no such luck, so I had to settle for taking a picture of them:
Indian Village by William Lumpkins, circa 1934.
Dark Mesas by Cady Wells, circa 1933.
The courtyard at the museum was so pretty - we took a lot of pictures there:
Artsy shot my brother took of the flags through the hanging chili peppers; me standing with flowers that were taller than I was; Cindi with the aforementioned chili peppers.
Me and my brother.
After the museums, we shopped around the plaza a little, then decided we needed some refreshments:
Margaritas, lemonade, iced tea, and guacamole, which seemed to be a necessary item every day of the trip!
When we were finished, we treated my mom to her first Uber ride back to the condo - and naturally, it had to be one of the weirdest experiences ever. We could have walked back, but the condo is near the top of a very steep hill and it was sunny, hot, and with the altitude, we figured Uber was the way to go. However, many roads were closed because of the Zozobra festival, and our driver was not using the Uber map, and it didn't end up convincing my mom that Uber was a good thing, LOL. But we made it back and there was a party atmosphere at the condo - people were milling around outside and one couple asked to come in and see the finishes on our place, as they'd just purchased one and were trying to decide on countertops and lights and all that. They were staying with a friend in her condo, and it turned out that she was from Bryan/College Station! Small world.
We cooked our dinner and around 9:30, went outside and climbed some stairs to the top of the condo property, where we could look out to the park and watch Zozobra burn. It was the 93rd burning of Zozobra, aka Old Man Gloom, which was started by artist Will Shuster after a summer of gloom - he had a party in his backyard, built a six-foot tall puppet, and he and his friends burned it to get rid of their troubles. This has evolved into a huge event, where 60,000 people gathered in Fort Marcy park to watch the now 50-foot tall Zozobra burn. We were quite a distance away, but could still see him:
Zooming in on Zozobra
No zoom - this was how far away we were - maybe a mile?
There's an entire ritual, where children dance around him, and then his arms start waving, and his head was turning, and he started moaning. The crowd started yelling BURN HIM, which they eventually did. It was pretty crazy to watch! They also had a spectacular fireworks show:
Old Man Gloom, going up in flames.
We were glad we got to see the show, but equally glad we were able to do it away from the crowds. Once most of the fireworks had stopped we went back to the condo, where we heard helicopters overhead for several hours afterward - not sure if that was for crowd control or watching for fire danger, but it was a noisy night.
Next up, Canyon Road art galleries, Mariachi Extravaganza, and our dinner with a celebrity!