It’s my first Sunday back in Santa Fe from Ukraine, and after a restful Friday evening and lazy Saturday, I woke up on Sunday raring to do our Sunday “thing” – walk down to the Plaza, stop and have brunch at Domenic’s Café near Sanbucca and spend a leisurely few hours, just walking, listening to music and chatting.  We debated, given the weather forecast whether we would hit rain, and my response was that neither of us was sweet enough to melt if we did.  Of course, if it rained, our walk would be considerably different than what we had planned, since part of it takes us through the arroyo, which in a storm can turn into a raging river.

The hiking trail certainly makes a huge difference in how we get around in Santa Fe.  When we first got the condo (is it only 3 years?) and I was adventurous enough to want to walk downtown, the walk felt endless.  That was probably because it took almost 2 ½ hours to get there.  We walked up a huge hill, which led to a barely paved path, crossed one of the busiest streets (St. Michael’s) and then once past the hospital, zig-zagged through the streets until we got downtown.  The walk though, was beautiful.  Lots of old streets, old adobe houses, gorgeous gardens.  Now the walk is slightly less scenic, much less physically taxing (no huge hill) and is all either trail or paved sidewalks.  It is considerably less dangerous than the old walk.

The trail has undergone at least two renovations since we got here, both due to things having to do with the railroad.  There is now a commuter rail system that goes to Albuquerque – three cars, very cute, as well as the larger train.  The trail goes along the train tracks.  Of course, my recent trip is never far from my mind, and as we walked along the tracks, my thoughts took a giant leap – thousands of miles and sixty years – and I blurted out “I guess sometimes a train track and  railroad cars are just a train track and railroad cars.”

Railroad tracks in Santa Fe

Railroad tracks in Santa Fe

Julia had commented either on the video or when she and I were talking, about the tracks leading up to the Camps in Poland.  Until I was there, I don’t think I really understood what a wide-spread rail system there actually is – the trains must connect every little village and hamlet in Europe, and provide major transportation hubs in all the big cities.  The train station in Lvov was beautiful outside – I opted not to go in it.  It reminded me of Grand Central Station, but I suppose that is only because of the color of the stone and that I was looking for something familiar in the beautiful structure.

The dust of the high desert is so different from the green of Ukraine.  It’s very beautiful here, but it takes getting used to in order to see past the starkness of the dusty trails.  The flowers are exceptional and in contrast to the lushness of Ukraine or even NY, they stand in stark relief again the beige of the sand.  We arrived at Domenic’s without hitting any rain, but the summer temperatures were starting to climb and we were both very hot and sweaty and ready to sit down for a cold iced tea.  After we ate, we walked around, stopping briefly at a shop that has beautifully colored skirts and tops hanging outside on sale racks.  We stop there every week, and I always take time to sort through the light summer-y fabrics and the bright colors, but not unexpectedly, don’t buy anything.  Robert always teases me about that, but there are so many choices, that, rather than having to select something (each item is $20 on these racks) I prefer to pass them all up!  Go figure.  I think, though, after the trip, it is easier to distinguish between want and need.  Right now, I neither want nor need anything – I just like to look.  Oh, let me amend that – when we passed the Hagen-Dasz place, I wanted and needed that dark chocolate peanut butter cone.  Really, I did.

Doing what we always do, we walked past the Native American vendors selling jewelry and pottery under the portico, and past the woman selling the freshly roasted pinon nuts.  There is a world of difference between those you buy in the stores and these, but today we didn’t buy any.  In Kiev, there is a street that Myroslav and I walked down (actually it was probably up) – it was a twisty, winding street, very narrow, and had lots of vendors there – at the time, I couldn’t distinguish between what was worth buying and what was just junk.  I never got back there for a second look.  It was an incredibly picturesque street and although I didn’t comment on it at the time, it reminded me of when I was very young and my dad worked in lower Manhattan.  Occasionally we would all go into his office on the weekend and I would fool with a switchboard (told you I was very young then) while he took care of some work.  Then we would walk around the vendors selling things from pushcarts, and over to Canal Street.  I remember when the small old buildings in the area were beginning to give way to the monsters of today – it was so exciting watching “sky-scrapers” being built.  Now, I am grateful that in spite of the grace of many of the newer buildings, that so many of the beautiful old structures remain.