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We were on the eighth day of Sherman’s march to the sea and staying at the Kirtland AFB FamCamp. Our seventh day had been spent taking in the sights around Albuquerque (see previous post) and today, the eighth, would be devoted to Santa Fe and some shopping.

I’m not a shopper. I do enjoy strolling through flea markets and consignment stores, but aside from that, I can think of several other pastimes I had rather pursue. Helen (adorable wife) feels much the same…unless there’s a sale going on somewhere. Nevertheless, there was a purpose for this shopping excursion.

We were told that Santa Fe was the center of the universe when it came to southwestern jewelry. Easin’ Along readers may recall an article posted last year about the remarkable southwestern style turquoise and sterling jewelry that my friend Jack crafted as a labor of love once he entered retirement. I was fascinated with the beauty of the pieces Jack designed and assembled and wanted to see some of the pieces created by the Native American craftsmen from this area. Helen was equally interested in the works of pottery that also emanated from nearby.

As on our previous day, we had given Sherman (our Cruise America RV) the day off and traveled by rental car. The drive north from Albuquerque along I-25 took a little more than an hour and time passed quickly. To our right or east were the Sandia Peaks we had visited the day before. To the west, everything was basically flat. The earth was sandy and tan and dotted with the scrub brush. Occasionally, a small village would break up the landscape. Santa Fe soon came into view.
This was a busy day in Santa Fe. We finally found a place to park along a street that was several blocks away from the square and I took a picture of the street sign in order to remember where the car was located (I’m subject to suffering a senior moment at any time). We walked toward the square.

The AAA Guidebooks had pointed out several of the churches and cathedrals as points of interest and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi was nearby. This became our first stop. The St. Francis Cathedral was built in 1886 and served as the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. A Lenten service was underway when we arrived and therefore we could not enter, but took several pictures of the impressive exterior and of the statue dedicated to St. Francis. (See Picture Gallery – www.easingalong.com)

The square is where everything happens, and there was a lot happening this day. We walked into the center around 11:00 am and the shops were full as were many of the eating (and drinking) establishments around the square. Again, I’m not a shopper, but the uniqueness of the items sold here made for some fun browsing. After all, how many steer skulls and red hot chili peppers does one see in my native home of Tennessee? We shopped our way to the street vendors to look at some jewelry.

Helen was looking for something for our granddaughters and perused several of the displays along one side of the square. Eventually, she spotted some very interesting necklaces being offered by a pleasant lady with a big smile. A young girl about the age of our oldest granddaughter was intrigued by a couple of pieces for sale. Helen almost pulled the trigger but decided that we had better find a spot for lunch so she could think about it. The Burrito Company gave us that opportunity.

This place was hoppin’. Fortunately, we arrived just ahead of the crush and avoided an even longer wait, but any wait was worth it. Just look at the Carne Asada Burrito plate pictured here and you’ll see what I mean. I am a big fan of Mexican food and this was served just the way I enjoy it most – hot. A lunch of this magnitude cannot be allowed to settle for long, and we needed to walk this one off…quickly. We returned to shopping on the square.

Under the balcony of a long building at the edge of the square sat a line of street vendors who had brought their wares to display. The crowd had continued to build and the bargain hunting was well underway by the time we walked up. Helen continued to look for children’s gifts but was soon attracted to some turquoise earrings at one of the last vendor displays.

After much deliberation (and husband encouragement) she bought them from the lady who made them, a member of the Santa Domingo Pueblo tribe. She said she priced them lower than usual because it had been a slow day. I thought the earrings were pretty and made a great souvenir of our trip but, to be very honest, I saw little offered that day that was any more beautiful or stunning than the jewelry made by my friend Jack. I encourage readers to go to the link to his website, Sporting Treasures, in the sidebar of the Easin' Along website (link below).

After buying earrings, we walked back to the lady with the necklaces and purchased three for the granddaughters. The lady who made them agreed to have her picture taken holding them.

I hope my precious granddaughters don’t peek. It is a long way to Christmas. Besides, we’re still shopping for our grandson and he’s not the necklace type.

So, by now being burrito-stuffed and well past my tolerance level for shopping, I begged for a quick departure to join Sherman back in the campground. Permission granted, but as we neared the car, I walked away for a few minutes to listen to a lovely flute player (see Easin’ Along YouTube page) and, when I came back to look for Helen, she had disappeared. I held in place for a spell and suddenly heard her calling from across the street. She had been approached by Joseph, a beautician who wanted her to try the latest in baggy eye treatment. She relented and, when Joseph finished with her, I asked if he could do anything for my tired eyes. He jumped at the chance.

Helen took a picture as Joseph worked his magic while explaining that he had just finished his tour of duty with the Israeli Army before moving to the US. He was a lot of fun but fell short of selling me his potion made from truffles and priced at $300 for a small jar even though the stuff worked miracles on my eyes. This was a senior shopping moment of another dimension.
It was time to be Easin’ Along…but my baggy eyes sure looked good.

Next week—Dead Horse Ranch near Cottonwood, AZ.

Note: All pictures and links referenced above can be seen by visiting: http://www.easingalong.com/fun/shopping-day-in-santa-fe-nm

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