Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sightseeing by Train!: New Mexico Rail Runner

When animals make graffiti:  

"Who you callin' ... SQUIRREL!!!"

Belen, New Mexico

Right after I told someone there were no frogs in the desert.

Los Lunas, New Mexico

We took the train! I love public transportation, and light rail is exciting! Rio Metro Regional Transit is actually a network of transportation options, the most fun of which is the train from Belen to Santa Fe (and back). $11 bought me a day pass of rail travel. If you're 62+, you'll get that same fun for $8 - all zones, all day. We stopped first in Albuquerque for a 45 minute "layover."

"Hey! There's a discreet ... "

Thanks for being a gigantic buzzkill, Albuquerque.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Next we were off again riding the rails to Santa Fe.

"Urban Accessories" ... a stump ... get it?

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

I wanted to see the Loretto Chapel, and so I did. I had questions, so I played lightning round with the docent.

"How many steps are there?"
"How many years was Jesus on earth?"

I won that round, and then I asked him about the possibility of Frenchy Rochas building the staircase. Here is his explanation, more or less, give or take, add or take away some words:

Sister Magdalena, of the Sisters of Loretto, was acquainted with Frenchy.
When questioned by the Mother Superior, she claimed not to know the identity of the mysterious carpenter.
Lying is a nun no-no.
Frenchy's obituary credited him with the staircase construction, but no one fact-checks obituaries.
Frenchy did build a staircase for the school.
This blog adds a few more details. 

I only know of one of you who has an opinion, so Betty, you can add the counterpoint.

I have been craving Thai food, and so I was treated to a birthday lunch at Thai Cafe. Yay! Yum!

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Evie said...

Mom and I rode the Rail Runner three weeks ago. Although we didn't get off in Sante Fe we had fun. You take great pictures, love seeing things through your eyes.
Thanks for the ride.

Anonymous said...

Kewl pix! I really like the ones of the train signal and the sunlight filtered through stained glass.

Anonymous said...

You do take marvelous photos.

JO said...

Your pictures are so darn good all the time. Good eye. I really have to do NM this summer its a must

Rojo said...

Great post. thanks

Spotted Dog Ranch: said...

Hey, I was in that church once, though I don't remember it real well. I think I'd had a few beers.

No, wait, that was my sister who had a few beers. She was feeling penitent, even though we're not Catholic. Or maybe she was feeling penitent that we weren't Catholic. In any case, we were there, feeling all penitent over something or other and I know that because that would be the only time we ever went into churches.

Oh shoots, never mind, but great photos.

John Abert said...

So many beautiful things to see around there! We'll be passing through Taos, Sante Fe and Albuquerque next fall on our way from Gunnison to Las Cruces. I wasn't aware of the train, but now we can add that to our list of things to do! BTW, on I did some graphics work on their posts from Santa Fe, and did something special with their pics of the St. Francis Cathedral. The blog is no longer kept up, but they have some great pics of that area, from her point of view and also his. It's worth a look!

Spotted Dog Ranch: said...

And I would like to add that the world would be a much better place with more animal graffiti.

George Yates said...

Excellent pics as usual and a Happy Birthday!
Good deal on the LRT.
May 20th is my birthday as well.

Jodee Gravel said...

You always find the best signs - OMG the buzzkill......! Interesting that I took a photo of that same metal sculpture in Santa Fe two years ago - and it didn't have the raven on the circle. Perhaps a work in progress..... Love the interior of the church, and the staircase is even better with the story pieces :-)

Kimbopolo said...

I want you to have a lot more birthdays.

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

I definitely have to visit the library bar and grill:))

rhondalyn said...

Gorgeous pix, as ever, Roxi. What a lovely birthday treat!

tstda62 said...

"Did the carpenter come as an answer to prayers? I believe so. Was the construction of the stairs divinely inspired? I would agree.

"However, as to the identity of the mystery carpenter, I tend to agree with historian Mary J. Straw Cook in her book, 'Loretto: The Sisters and Their Santa Fe Chapel.' The carpenter, according to her, was Francois-Jean Rochas. He was a member of 'les compagnon,' a French guild of celibate and secretive craftsmen.

"Cook researched the matter for seven years and made seven trips to France. Part of her evidence is an 1895 article in The New Mexican, in which the chapel's contractor, Quintus Monier, names Rochas as the staircase's builder. There is also an 1881 entry in the sisters' daybook that indicates a Mr. Rochas was paid $150 'for wood.' There is a freight slip for wood delivered by ship from France.

"It is a beautiful staircase and indeed miraculously built. It may not have been made directly by the hands of angels or saints (Rochas was allegedly a bit of a rascal and died a mysterious death), but God does answer prayers by placing the right individuals at the right place and at the right time to accomplish his tasks. That should serve as an inspiration to all of us. You never know when God is using you to answer someone else's prayers."
Mary Straw Cook had a wonderfully written article in the New Mexico Magazine about 9 or 10 years ago about her findings connecting Frenchie and the starcase. They had found his tools and the work on the staircase matched the print his tools made on the wood. Just like having a signature. Betty

Good Luck Duck said...

Thanks, Betty! Nicely done.

Good Luck Duck said...

Thanks, you guys, for birthday wishes and compliments. :o)

John, I'll check out that blog.

Chinle, obviously the circumstances blurred your memory.

Bill said...

What a great post. Glimpses of a funky part of the world. The Library Bar and Grill concept is brilliant.

Peter + Beatrix said...

Wonderful pictures!