We enjoyed shopping in front of the Governor’s Palace. Apparently, Native (Indian) people have been selling their handicrafts there for centuries. Today they still gather to sell handmade jewelery. It was lots of fun to browse through all the different stuff for sale and actually meet the people who made it. It’s nice to know that your souvenir is actually made in the place you’ve visited rather than in some factory on the other side of the world!
We also visited the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum ($10 for those over 18). It’s not a huge collection and it only took us about 30 min. to tour the whole gallery. Still, we enjoyed it and it’s apparently the largest collection of her work. It’s right downtown (about a 5 min stroll from the plaza) so it’s conveniently located.
We visited the St. Francis Cathedral. Built from 1869 to 1886, it sits about a 1 minute walk from the plaza. On the way there you’ll pass La Fonda’s Creperie (La Fonda is a 4 star hotel right off the plaza). The crepes were fabulous! We ordered lunch crepes to go (Ian had ham and cheese and I had ratatouille – approximately $7-$8/each. We also tried their dessert crepes – Ian had the apricot – not that good since the apricots weren’t fresh – and I had the strawberry and Nutella – fabulous!) and ate in the park right next to the Cathedral. There are benches and lots of trees plus plenty of grass – it made for a lovely shady picnic spot. The cathedral is pleasant and pretty, but certainly doesn’t compare to the great cathedrals we’ve seen in Europe.
We also checked out the Loretto Chapel, $3. The first day we walked over there only to find it closed for a wedding. The next day it was back open, again. It’s home to a spiral staircase that’s supposed to have been built miraculously in response to the nuns’ prayers. We don’t know about the miraculous bit, but it’s a nice staircase and a pretty little chapel. Again it’s a 2 minute stroll from the plaza, so it’s easy to visit.
Our second day there we got lunch at one of the little carts in the Plaza. Ian had beef fajitas that weren’t great. I had a chile relleno burrito – yes, you read that right. Well, chile relleno (large hot pepper stuffed with cheese battered, fried and served in a tomato sauce) I like, but this was like no chile relleno I’ve ever had. There was very little cheese, no tomato sauce and it just wasn’t very good. Washing it all down with some cold lemonade on a shady park bench in the plaza, however, was very nice!
We enjoyed strolling around and shopping in the many, many art galleries and jewelery stores. People were friendly and laid-back and it was very relaxing.