September 11, 2006

Honeymoon in Santa Fe

Fuzzy and Erica

So on Monday morning after the wedding we got up madrugada* and got on a plane to sunny New Mexico. Well, cloudy New Mexico. My coworker Mary had kindly loaned us the Frommer's New Mexico and there's the NOAA site and there are a million things we could have researched ahead of time. And we did not. We had it stuck in our little heads that we were going to the "desert" and that that equaled "sunny" and so we packed nothing but shorts and t-shirts. A) Sante Fe is the "high desert", which means that it gets pretty cool at night and B) it was the rainy season. Oops. But actually it worked out well -- it was a lot better weather at 85° and occasional showers in Santa Fe than the 110° and 300% humidity we were leaving behind in Chicago.


The main thing we were in New Mexico to do was relax. We had spa treatments arranged at the spa-hotel were staying in for the first half of the week. But from the moment we were in line at the Southwest check-in, people kept asking if, since we were going to Sante Fe, we were planning on going to Ten Thousand Waves**. Even the staff at the first spa suggested we go there. So we made an appointment.

The best individual treatment we had was a milk-and-honey wrap that Erica had at Loretto, but Ten Thousand Waves was the hands-down overall relaxation winner. We got the 'Buddha Treat' which meant we got to soak for an hour in an outdoor private hot-tub, take some sauna time, then an herbal wrap, full body massage, and then salt rub. Four hours later we emerged, blinking and relaxed out of our brains. Jealous? Well, get married and then you can go on a honeymoon.

Our second hotel was also a nighttime spa, and when they heard that we were honeymooning they gave us free hot tub time. The tub was on the top floor of the hotel and the roof pulled back, so we got to soak under the Sante Fe sky. I'm not sure that by that time in the week we could get any more relaxed, but we took our best shot at it.


I'm unreasonably proud of the fact that we ate at a different restaurant for every meal (but one) in New Mexico. When we landed in Albuquerque we were pretty hungry. We were thinking of just eating any old fast-food place, but decided to take a quick shot at finding somewhere nice. Erica pulled out the Frommer's and it fell open to "Northeast Albuquerque" and a highlighted*** entry -- the Range Cafe in Bernalillo. The food turned out to be great and we were off to a week of wonderful eating.

Once we were in Santa Fe, our main restaurant resource was the recently-published Santa Fe Reporter's Best of Sante Fe 2006 issue. We worked that thing like a checklist and we didn't have a bad meal the whole week. I just we could have had a few more chiles.

Everything Else

I'm a huge history buff -- I'll stop and read a historical marker at the drop of a hat. But our governing principal for this trip was rest. So we looked at making a couple of day trips (we had lost the Frommer's in the car for most of the week, but the Mary-supplied Guestlife New Mexico (2001/2002 edition) -- one of those big glossy magazines they give away in hotels, that are mostly ads -- proved to be a great resource for quick trips in the area) but in the end we only made it out to Bandelier National Monument just as it was closing for dusk. The guide boasted that Bandelier has archeological sites within 400 yards of the visitors center, so we hiked that 400 yards, saw a kiva and village ruins, and then turned around to watch the sunset on the way back into town.

We also did plenty of shopping (if only Santa Fe had more art and trinkets). And I took lots of pictures. Oh, and we went golfing (Erica for the first time), which was an event for our friends' wedding...

We capped off the week by going our friends Dale and Stef's wedding. It was, in fact, why we had picked Santa Fe in the first place. How romantic, to finish off celebrating our own wedding, by celebrating someone elses. Whee!

* My favorite Portuguese word which means, as I understand it, "way too early".
** For Chicagoans, no relation to Thousand Waves.
*** On the trip we were giving Mary credit for the fortuitous highlighting, but it turned out to be a previous borrower of the book.