Tag Archives: downtown tucson

Day 2, Part 1: San Xavier del Bac, Hotel Congress, Barrio Viejo

16 Apr


DAY 2, Part 1
I awoke at the Arizona Inn and my very first thought upon arising was were the hell am I? Does that ever happen to you, when you sleep in a new bed for the first time? You wake up and have no idea where you are. After realizing that I was in Arizona, safe and sound, and at a very beautiful hotel no less, I felt calm and I was able to take in the gorgeous scene. I was in a huge room, with a gorgeous fireplace in a plush white bed. There was a breeze wafting in the open window and I could hear birds chirping. It was a very peaceful way to wake up indeed, especially after sleeping like a rock the night before. I swear, by the end of day 1, I was seeing spots from all the excitement, driving and lack of sleep- I felt like a zombie! Rachel and I could barely speak to each other through dinner and were  asleep by 830pm.
After lounging around for a few hours, writing and sipping coffee, we packed up our luggage (which takes 5 hours between the two of us with all of our outfits, shoes, computers, cords, cameras, purses, yoga mats and other special things we have decided to lug across America with us) we headed out to explore Tucson.
Our first stop was San Xavier del Bac, which is a historic (dates back to 1797) Spanish Catholic mission 10 miles outside of Tucson. I wasn’t expecting to be as taken with it as I was. It literally took my breath away- the white mission against the backdrop of oatmeal colored rolling hills and a turquoise colored sky made me  feel as if I was standing in a painting. I stood in front of it for a moment while the breeze whipped at my skirt and wondered if every day and everything would feel like this while on this journey. Everything felt so vivid and I felt so alive.
Rachel and I wandered around the mission soaking in its beauty while snapping pictures of everything we came across. I was very taken with this altar that we found…creeped out and fascinated at the same time. It’s not often one sees this many Jesus’s and lives to tell the story.
After the mission we went to the The Historic Hotel Congress to explore…Rachel had been there many times before (from her days at The University of Arizona) and was excited to show me around. I was surprised to learn that The Hotel Congress dates back to 1919 and is where bank robber John Dillinger was caught in 1934! If those walls could talk, as the saying goes. After my American history lesson, we sat down at Cup Cafe, the hotel’s restaurant to grab brunch- an omelette for me and huevos rancheros for Rachel…both dishes were beyond tasty and our plates were cleaned.
At that point it was noon and we were already behind schedule but we both wanted to make one last stop before booking it out of Tucson. So we stopped to see the brightly colored doors and windows of Barrio Viejo which is one of Tucson’s oldest neighborhoods. I had never seen color combinations like these- so vibrant!
At that point, we were riding high on life and it was only 1pm.
We said our goodbyes to Tucson and hit the road for White Sands, New Mexico.
Or so we thought.
Enter in the black hole
Day 2, Part 2 to come…
(photos by One Part Gypsy)
See Rachel’s take here!

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