There was no rush today, with full two days to see the sights of Santa Fe. The breakfast selection at the hostel was mind boggling. In a good way! The hostel gets a regular delivery of food from Whole Foods, usually consisting of short-dated items. Talking to the slightly maverick owner of the hostel, he explained that with the hostel having some sort of non-profit and educational status, it receives food donations. I asked whether I was eating food that should perhaps go to someone needier but he assured me that the homeless shelters and refuges also get similar donations. Therefore for breakfast I enjoyed an organic poached egg on artisan bread, followed by banana bread and accompanied by some high quality apple juice. This was the best I’ve eaten for months. Whole Foods is a high-end supermarket and its prices certainly reflect this. I noticed that among the food that arrived today, there was a gluten-free apple pie, usually sold for $14.99.
My hostel duty today was mopping out the shower. It wasn’t an especially taxing task. After this was all done I headed off on a pleasant walk into town. Santa Fe is quite compact and easy to stroll around. Plenty of others also seemed to be doing this. The city is really nice looking both with the natural scenery of the surrounding mountains, as well as in architectural terms. Santa Fe was a major city dating back to the times of the Spanish Empire, so by USA standards it has a long history. Many older buildings have been well preserved. As with the Art Deco part of Miami Beach, modern structures are required to maintain architectural integrity. It was also nice to see that the state capital building isn’t the bog standard dome design. Santa Fe certainly appears to be quite a classy sort of place with plenty of high-end hotels, antique shops, gourmet restaurants and spas. There’s also a big local art and opera scene for those of that persuasion. If Albuquerque is the main metropolis of New Mexico(or as much as there can be), Santa Fe is its more quaint and refined relative.
My travel references, namely Wikitravel and the Rough Guide to the Southwest USA both mention Santa Fe having a diverse population. This includes descendants of Native Americans and Hispanics who have lived in the area for years, artisan and new age types, retirees and celebrities. I couldn’t find any sort of definitive list of famous Santa Fe residents but someone at the hostel told me that George RR Martin (writer of the Game of Thrones books) lives locally. When the historic Jean Cocteau Cinema was threatened with closure he bought it. Apparently they have Game Of Thrones screenings there, with people (dressed up as characters from the show) queuing around the block to get in.