Sunday, November 20, 2011

Westward American Road Diary: The High Road to Taos, New Mexico

After breakfast quesadillas, it was off to take the "High Road to Taos," stopping along little villages before reaching the Taos Pueblo.

El Santuario de Nuestro Senor de Esquipulas (the Shrine of Our Lord Esquipulas), known as "El Santuario de Chimayo." Thousands of pilgrims have come here since its construction between 1814-1816. The earth in the anteroom beside the alter is said to have healing powers, and for $2, a small container is yours. Crutches line the exit, and stories of people who have been healed. Believe what you will about the soil, one wonders about the role the mind has over body in healing and the power of prayer.

A cross of pinecone in the courtyard.

The three cultures statue.

A friendly horse. See the crosses along the fence?

I couldn't help be saddened by the fact our country was founded on principles of freedom of religion which our pilgrims sailed across an ocean for, yet a faith was imposed upon others. Just like other basic principles we consider now universal rights (voting and land ownership), it was freedom of religion - for some.

Lunch at Rancho de Chimayo Restaurante, highly recommended in Frommer's. A little touristy but good. The vegetarian plate with a soy cheese enchilada and black bean taco, with sopapillas (recipe here) with honey, and a frozen prickly pear lemonade.

Natillas, a vanilla milk custard pudding with whipped cream and cinnamon. Think rice pudding without the rice.

Admiring the weaving Chimayo is known for. Here a stunning image of the Tree of Life.

The landscape here had a hushed feeling.

Horses enjoying a moment we humans know too little of - peace and quiet.

The small village of Cordova is famed for its wood carvings. We stopped in a little shop of Sabinita Lopez Ortiz admiring these wood carvings. These larger pieces were more than I could afford, so I left with some very small individual birds.

We spent so much time enjoying our leisurely pace, we were short for time and rain soaked at the Taos Pueblo, a community with no electricity or running water. Admission was $10 and I paid the $8 fee to take photos. Some, maybe even most, would consider life here primitive, but there's a beauty too.

Hardly a soul was about, and I'll never forget a woman who waved me and Steve into her home inviting us to take off our rain-drenched coats and warm ourselves by her fire. I could have just about stayed by that cozy fire forever. We saw the kitchen and her living room and it was small but just as fine as a home as I'd ever been in. I think of most American homes (and I include my own in this) and how much stuff we have and how lost we all are without electricity for a few days.

Off to cross the border for more American exploration. Colorado, here we come.


  1. I have that pueblo on my list of places to visit! I can't believe you got to go inside. Some of those homes have been there for centuries, no? So fabulous. :)

  2. Their site says they've been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years. Will our homes survive anything close to that? It was a true honor to be invited in.

  3. parisbreakfastsNovember 24, 2011

    More WOW!
    I couls use a little more electricity at the moment or an open fire (even better).
    I would be a complete wuss under those conditions, but who knows?
    Your trip is enthralling. On to the next one!!
    any recipes for frozen prickly pear lemonade?

  4. I found these, now just have to get some prickly pears or juice! I'd never even heard of a prickly pear until this trip:

    I don't know if I could live that way either.