Day 22! Santa Fe

Before I forget …. again, just wanted to say that we do try to reply to all of your comments but you may not be aware of this. You wouldn’t automatically be advised unless you tick the relevant box.

Another thing I’ve been meaning to say and I may be teaching ‘grandma to suck eggs’ here, but if you click on the picture it will open larger in a new window. After viewing just click the ‘back’ button and you will return to the blog.

Today has been a rest day but we did make a trip into the town. We’ve been here twice before and so have visited most of the historical sites already but have included a few pictures for you to enjoy.

Santa Fe, 7000 feet above sea level, has a long history going back to 1610. In 1821 William Becknel came to Santa Fe and discovered rich business opportunities which had previously been exclusively Spanish. A torrent of Americans and Europeans followed and the Santa Fe Trail was born. It was a rowdy place known for saloons, gambling parlours and brothels!!

Now this is a bit of a long read but it’s well worth it.

Loretto chapel 1aOne of the places of interest is the Loretto Chapel that houses the “Miraculous Staircase”. In 1873 the Chapel, fashioned after Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, was built to serve the Loretto Academy, operated by the Sisters of Loretto.

Believed to be the first Gothic structure west of the Mississippi, the Chapel had one design flaw; there was no way to get to the choir loft from the chapel! Many carpenters were called in for advice, but all came up with the same answer: because of the height of the loft, a conventional staircase would take up too much room in the chapel below.  It was a question of using a ladder or re-building the balcony.

In 1879, seeking divine guidance, the Sisters made a Novena (Novena, meaning nine, is an institutional act of religious pious devotion in the Roman Catholic Church, often consisting of private or public prayers repeated for nine successive days in belief of obtaining special intercessory graces) to their patron saint, Saint Joseph the Carpenter.

Legend has it, on the ninth and final day, a mysterious capenter arrived on his donkey asking if he might help the Sisters by building  a stairway.  He came with just a saw, carpenter’s square, a hammer and tubs in which to soak the wood.  For the next six months his “miraculous staircase” containing 33 steps in two full 360-degree turns was built using only the tools he had brought with him. The staircase has no center support, nor is it held from its sides and the entire weight is on the base and hangs with no visible support. It was put together only with wooden pegs – there’s not a nail in it.

When Mother Magdalen went to pay him for his work he had vanished.  She went to the local lumber yard to pay for the wood but they knew nothing about it.  To this day there is no record stating that the job was ever paid for and experts have been unable to identify the wood used and how a man using only primitive tools could carve something like the staircase has never been explained. How it is still standing over a hundred and thirty years later is a mystery in itself.

StaircaseIt was originally built with no banisters but the Sisters found it very difficult to climb the stairs so they were added later. 

It’s a wonderful sight to see and of course, the mystery just adds to its fascination.

A colourful shop entrance.

A colourful shop entrance.

A man with his parrot!

A man with his parrot!

Just to finish off, here are a couple of pictures taken in town today and a couple Si took last night of a beautiful sunset and me enjoying a beverage or two!!

Sandra enjoying a beverage...or two!

Sandra enjoying a beverage…or two!

A beautiful sunset from our terrace.

A beautiful sunset from our terrace.

6 thoughts on “Day 22! Santa Fe

  1. HI story of staircase very good flowers at shop look nice no pictures of Simon eating calf fries then there all waiting back here speak to you later

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    • No, they don’t have calf fries here, they only seem to be in Texas but we will be on the look out for them. x

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  2. Great story about the staircase. Really enjoy your informative blogs!
    You will be pleased to know you are regularly mentioned in dispatches in the back row of the spinning class. Sandra I am looking after your bike in your absence!
    John

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    • Hi John, pleased you are enjoying the blog. We are having a fantastic time. The first three weeks have flown by. Nice to know that we are not forgotten. Pleased to hear you are keeping my saddle warm. At least I don’t have to worry knowing my bike is in safe hands.

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  3. That stair case is an engineering marvel. Someone has had to figure out what type of wood was used and how it is still standing. I see the area roped off so no one can walk on it (not that I would, of course). You look nice and relaxed Sandra (did you buy that suit case yet?) and the photo of the sunset is beautiful. I think it would be a nice addition to my Simon Barrett collection!

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  4. We still only have the one extra suitcase Dot and I’m not buying another one! Si’s pleased you like the sunset.

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