We woke up to the most marvelous vista in our AirBnB. We were staying in the middle of nowhere, sort of near Santa Fe. And it was just beautiful.
Today was the day to Taos.
Our first stop on our trip was the Sanctuary of Chimayo. This ever growing sanctuary is home to sacred healing dirt. It’s actually quite lovely. As we parked in their parking lot, we passed all the different offerings that people have left including rosaries and very large crosses. Multiple shrines mark the way. At the gift shop, you can buy a little container to put the dirt in.
To access the sacred dirt, you enter through a side door of the sanctuary. The antechamber to the dirt is filled with even more offerings, notably a wall of crutches, and many pictures of loved ones on the walls. It was such a beautiful and moving display of faith and love. The room that contains the dirt is small; only three people can be in there at a time. When it’s’ your turn, you can use a container to take some of this special dirt.
The actual sanctuary is quite beautiful and seemingly old. It’s not as ornate as some of the churches I’ve seen in Latin America but it seemed to have the right tone for the area.
Nearby, we bought some ristras, strings of peppers, from a truck and little charms for healing purposes. We also stopped at another church, Santo Niño Chapel, dedicated to children. It also had a room filled with offerings for the health of children, which was even more sobering and touching than the Sanctuary of Chimayo.
We then continued on our way to Taos, taking the high road. IT only confirmed what I knew from the day before. New Mexico is really pretty. We stopped by a little cemetery flanked by the mountains. We appreciated people’s displays of devotion and faith with bright colored flowers and more.
At some point, we passed a pine forest area and decided to go off the highway into the forest for a short hike. The area we were in had recently seen fire; the trees and stumps showed evidence of soot. It was quiet; we saw no other people nor much animals. We learned about some trees with orange coloring called “pumpkin trees” that smelled of vanilla.
Later in the afternoon, we made it to Taos, an artist/ski colony. It was towards the end of the working day so we rushed to the Kit Carson Home and Museum, since my husband was a big fan. Kit Carson was an explorer who helped in the Western expansion of the US…so a bit of a complicated figure. It’s a small museum with various knick knacks including a buffalo head. Nearby, there was the Kit Carson park and graveyard, where he was buried.
The town reminded me a little bit of Vence since it was filled to the brim with art galleries. We even went to two art openings that night. One show was a group show of students and the other was a oil painter. At another gallery, I bought a small rug that had been made by Afghani refugees employed the shop.
Dinner was at a wonderful restaurant called Doc Martin that was the fanciest place we ate on the trip. I had a pork chop that was astonishingly good; it was thick and juicy accompanied by squash. Perfection. For dessert, my husband tried a green chile cheesecake, which was interesting but not our favorite.
We drove back to our Airbnb on the low road. The sun had sadly set so we could not see the beautiful vistas around us. But it was a good day, nonetheless.