Friday, October 18, 2013

New Mexico Part 5: Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo gave me mixed feelings.

So, you get to the Pueblo and check in at the visitor center where you pay admission, and also pay to take your camera in. The rules and restrictions posted at the entrance is long. Stay in the public areas, don't enter private residences. Don't take pictures of residents without asking permission (and if you do, you are supposed to tip them.) It boils down to, "Remember, people live here, it's not an amusement park."

You couldn't ask to live in a more beautiful setting. The Sangre de Cristo mountains form a perfect natural backdrop for the pueblo.

And this is living history. This apartment building is estimated to be 1000 years old, and it is still occupied.

The traditional adobe homes and stores have no air conditioning. In fact they have no electricity or running water.

Water comes from a stream that runs through the pueblo.

Cooking is done in outdoor hearths.

One of the few architectural changes over the years is the addition of doors to the homes. Hundreds of years ago, residents used ladders to climb up into their dwellings. This was a means of protection...if enemies show up, simply pull up the ladders.

There wasn't a lot of activity in the pueblo when we visited. I read later that about 150 people live in the pueblo, but some of them have second homes and only stay in the pueblo during ceremonial times.

I was surprised to learn that most of the community is Catholic. But it is a form of Catholicism combined with their own indigenous traditions, the details of which are not revealed to outsiders.

The reason they are kept secret because of persecution over the years. Sad.

The Taos Pueblo has been the site of a great deal of conflict. In 1847, when New Mexico became a state, Taos leaders rebelled and killed the governor. American troops came to the Pueblo and burned down the rebels inside their church. The remains of the church stand in what is now the Pueblo cemetery.  Sad.

So our trip to Taos Pueblo included both beauty and sadness. It was definitely educational. It felt a little strange to be walking around taking pictures of a place where people live, but it was also cool to be able to see this unique site firsthand and learn its history.

When we made our itinerary, we planned to start driving back towards home after seeing Taos, but we liked Santa Fe so much that we decided to spend another night there. So we checked back into our hotel and walked over to the Plaza for dinner at The Shed. A frosty margarita was just what I needed after a day of strong emotions.

Tony started with cool, spicy gazpacho.

All entrees at The Shed come with complimentary garlic bread. A little weird for a Mexican restaurant, but you know what?  I'm on board with this decision. I totally prefer garlic bread to beans and rice.

The Shed only serves their cheese enchiladas with red chile sauce, so I never did get my Christmas enchiladas that I was looking for. But oh my goodness, this red chile sauce...there are no words. I would marry these enchiladas.  Best sauce ever, so rich, with just the right amount of heat.

Sadly, I could not stay in Santa Fe and eat these enchiladas every night for the rest of my life. Tomorrow, homeward bound...with a stop at Carlsbad Caverns.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing adobe apartment building. And, thank you for the rich history lesson. I think my favorite part of your meal was your gazpacho - I've always loved it.