Santa Fe, New Mexico – An Historical and Cultural Brew

Sometimes I forget how young the United States really is. Traces of our historical past rarely go back more than one or two centuries, and those traces tend to congregate in the 13 colony pockets along the East Coast.

But head Southwest and even older traces predating the United States are bountiful, and layers of civilizations mingle, a cultural-historical brew of pre-Colombian Olmec ruins and pottery, Native American pueblos, Spanish conquistadors, and Mexican revolutionaries.

New Mexico is awash in reminders that long before the United States came into being, a frontier community staked out a precarious existence among a landscape already peopled by even older communities, some tracing their roots back a thousand years. The Navajo already roamed the desert plateaus, raising sheep and raiding neighboring communities. Pueblos dotted the Rio Grande River and lush mountain valleys, civilizations which built multi-story apartment-style buildings and irrigated a desert to raise crops.

And in 1610, a group of Spanish soldiers, settlers, and priests trekked north from New Spain and founded Santa Fe, the capital of the New Mexico colony and the far, lonely edge of the Spanish frontier in the Americas.

Today Santa Fe and the surrounding region are full of visible reminders of this past – old mission churches, the 17th century Palace of the Governors, Spanish-era irrigation canals called acequias still in active use, and 18 Pueblo communities, including Taos Pueblo which still maintains their 1,000-year-old adobe pueblo.

To view my photo slide show of Santa Fe, click on the link: Santa Fe, New Mexico -May 2015

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About chronictraveler

Chronic Traveler starts as a dream, one that I thought I had lost, but that has slowly changed into a mission to realize and live that dream every day. In December 2007 I became seriously ill and the doctors did not know what was causing my illness. I had to stop teaching as my life tumbled into a never-ending nightmare of doctors, hospitals and tests. Finally, in May 2008 I was diagnosed with a chronic condition - fibromyalgia. I was only 26 years old at the time. I have had to give up teaching, and now work part-time at a performing arts center as I learn how to manage my condition and improve my quality of life. What helped me through the months of uncertainty and sickness, and continues to inspire me, was a new focus on what truly mattered to me: family, friends, gardening, the arts, and especially travel. I have always fed my soul by traveling, ever since I first stepped off the plane at age 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal to help with an orphanage's building project. Meeting new people and experiencing how they live and how they view the world infuses my life with a richness I was so afraid I would lose when the doctor first said, "You have fibromyalgia". This blog is my story, as I begin to forge a new path. I am embracing my life as it is, with the fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and learning to do what I love regardless. It may mean I have to go slower and take more naps or breaks! But I am determined to learn how to travel and experience the world, and hopefully what I learn will help others like me who believe their medical condition stands in the way of their travel dreams.
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