Monday, June 20, 2011

The Way of Taos

We have gone to Taos on every single trip we have made to Santa Fe.  Who doesn't love the beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains  (even if the name leaves something to be desired.  For my money, mountains should  named after sweet things and not the blood of Christ)?  This time, however, after a brief shopping excursion to the John Dunn Shops off the main square where there is a lovely independent bookstore and a good leather bag shop, we decided to head out to the Taos Pueblo which we had never visited.
View of Sangre de Cristo from Taos

First however we needed sustenance so we set off in search of lunch.  Our first effort took us to a place recommended by the girl in the bookstore--Orlando's New Mexican Cafe.  Unfortunately Orlando's was closed for a private graduation party so I pulled out the smartphone and clicked on Yelp.  We found a nearby breakfast/lunch place called Gutiz  which is described as Latin-French fusion and had an average 5 rating on Yelp.  It was definitely a good find.  I had the vegetarian tartine that was delicious and virtuous, although probably not low cal.  The decor was sweet and we were seated by a blond young girl about 10 years old who I hope was a relative of the owner.

Interior of Gutiz

Taos Pueblo was a short drive from the restaurant and a long way from the "scene" of  Taos.  The tribal management charged a camera fee of $6 for each of us as well as $10 admission fee.  As my husband said, it contributes to the upkeep of the Pueblo tribal community, which lives with tourists gaping and clicking at the homestead on a daily basis.

The Taos Pueblo is a World Heritage Site as the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States, with evidence that the ancestors of the current inhabitants lived there 1000 years ago.  The base of the pueblo buildings were built between 550-1000 years ago and the current multistory structures look much like they did 500 years ago.  The Pueblo also contains a beautiful church (Roman Catholic but with the Native American twist- unfortunately no photos allowed of the inside) with  a great view of the mountains from the church courtyard through the entry gate. Most of the buildings contained shops run by members of the tribe (called variously the Taos Pueblo people, the Tiwa or Tewa people, or the Red Willow people perhaps the latter name is related to the Red Willow creek which runs through the Pueblo. We bought a few of the crafts--in particular a clay sculpted  storyteller,  which was a grandmother telling children stories of the past.  We also watched drummers and a wonderful dog swimming in the creek.
Artisan shop in Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo north

Red Willow Creek

Red Willow Creek with view of San Geronimo Church

Drummers of Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo south
San Geronimo Church

View from San Geronimo courtyard

Our last stop of the day in Taos was the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, which we had visited previously but one of us had forgotten the last trip.  I found the walk across the bridge to be as terrifying as the last time but the scenery is quite fascinating.  The sky also filled up with white clouds that are perfect as a cloud template for photoshop, if you are into that sort of thing.  I just like looking at the clouds in contrast to the deep blue sky over the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

Rio Grande Gorge
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Clouds over Sangre de Cristo Mountains

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