The Peace and Power of Gong Meditation and Sound Therapy

I’m usually blogging about journeys of the physical kind… food, cities, states or countries that require the movement of the self from one geography to the next.  Today however I experienced a journey of the mind and spirit thanks to “BLISS” a twice weekly restorative yoga class  at The Sanctuary Yoga Room (www.sanctuaryyogaroom.com) that featured gong sound meditation.

Kenny Kolter

Kenny Kolter

My virgin voyage with sound therapy was in 2014 in a private session with Melanie Currie Adams (www.amelelani.com) and her crystal singing bowls. I learned that there is growing research that sound therapy has a positive effect on our health and well-being…reducing stress and even having healing properties.   I remember thinking, hours after the session,  that I felt as if my body had been massaged without ever being touched.  It had a lingering effect.  Later, while in Santa Fe,  I tried in vain to secure a spot on Christmas Eve for my husband and I to experience a  “Gong Bath” session at The Gong Studio (www.gongstudio.com).  I spoke with the owner who told me that the sessions always fill up weeks in advance and they were booked for the week.  Who knew? Obviously people were on to something and I wanted in!  But it was not to be…until today.

I’m not a stranger to Sunday “BLISS” at the Yoga Sanctuary Room. The 3pm time slot makes it a perfect  week-end restorative yoga class,  bringing a peaceful close to one week,  while preparing the mind, body and spirit for the challenges of a new one.    The class is dreamy in every way, from the serene, nurturing, creative space to Dena Walker’s peaceful voice that take us on a journey through asanas specifically designed to allow the body to surrender and relax.   Throughout class, towels scented with essential oils are placed over our eyes to block out the the light and to soothe our senses and our usually very overstimulated selves. It’s a gift.

Tibetan Bowls

Rest and Relaxation

Rest and Relaxation

Today’s BLISS class led by Rebecca Butler with Dena’s assistance, reflected on the effects of the tonight’s Blood Moon and lunar eclipse and offered a variety of relaxing and grounding asanas.  Featured in class today was Kenny Kolter (www.gongmeditation.com) whose skill  and ample collection of gongs, drums, and Tibetan singing bowls were meant to  move us  to an even deeper state of relaxation.  Well…Mission Accomplished!  I LOVED  the extra long Savasana while bathing in the sound and vibration of the gongs.   It was truly divine, mystical and magical. Many words come to mind to describe it but like so many of life’s great events this is one to be experienced to be appreciated.

I asked Kenny about the OM sound I thought was emanating from the gong.  It was a rich, beautiful and penetrating sound. Kenny said that it was his voice, combined with the gong.  He then explained “Toning” and how ” The gong acts as a resonator that makes one voice sound like many”.  I asked a few of the students about their personal experience.  One described the session as hypnotic and her face feeling as though it was tingling.  Another thought it  “a lovely moment of transcendence in a short period of time”.  For me, it was the deep tonal sound of the gong that went right to the core of my being, taking me on my little journey, similar in some ways to the Yoga Nidra experience where you are not asleep,  but rather you are transported!  I was “gonged” In a word….BLISS!

DISCLAIMER:  Gonging may be addictive.  Can’t wait for the next session! xoxoxo

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White Sands National Monument…Never Underestimate the Desert!

White Sands National Monument is just a 1.25 hour drive from Ruidoso, New Mexico.   From the first moment I read about it  I knew it was a place I had to visit.  We set off on our road trip through the austerely beautiful New Mexican landscape to experience one of the most beautiful, extraordinary, and unusual places I have ever seen.

Dune Boardwalk

Dune Boardwalk

We arrived in time for the daily 11am  “Tent Talk” on the dune boardwalk led by  a monument volunteer.  Walking toward the tent  it looked and felt as if we were approaching the sea,  but in fact we were in the Sonoran Desert in what is 275 square miles of landscape unlike any other on earth…geologically speaking.  We learned so many fun, interesting,  and geeky facts…there are 220 species of birds and 53 species of mammals most of whom  are nocturnal and have adapted their color to “white” to fit in with the gypsum sand as an act of survival in this extremely harsh environment. The dunes are “on the move” due to the constant prevailing wind and move around 12-18 feet a  year.  You can read more about the history of the monument here: http://www.nps.gov/whsa/index.htm.

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Looks like the ripples of sand under the sea…but it isn’t !

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Sand Plow…sand on roads needs to be plowed just like snow!

Our visit was a bit tainted by the deaths just last week of two French tourists who were visiting the monument with their 9 year old son.   It seems they went for a hike on the Alkali Flats Trail with limited provisions, may have lost their way,  and succumbed to heat and dehydration.   Our hearts broke when we heard this news, thinking about this family,  like any other on their summer vacation, unfortunately with  a very tragic ending.  Luckily their son survived thanks to their efforts to hydrate him more than themselves.

We literally hiked in their footsteps which made for a more somber visit than we might have had otherwise.  After we wrote a makeshift memorial message in the “Trail Log” we offered a blessing for their souls and for the life of the 9 year old they left behind.  We thought of them on every step of our hike and it inspired us to appreciate even more the beauty of the location and to “be present” on our journey.

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Trail Register

Trail Register

Words in remembrance...

Words in remembrance…

If you do visit,  remember not to underestimate the desert … bring a minimum of 1 gallon of water per person for the hike, wear sunscreen, a large brimmed hat and protective clothing.

I loved this ultra modern picnic tables!

I loved these ultra modern picnic tables!

Beginning of trail, marked by sticks in the sand.

Beginning of the Alkali Flats Trail

Yoga on the dunes

Yoga on the dunes

Namaste

Namaste

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Other visitors "sledding"

Other visitors “sledding”

You know how song lyrics can just pop into your head and stay there? The entire time I was on the dunes the lyrics to the Kansas classic Dust in the Wind were playing over and over in my head…’I close my eyes only for a moment, and the moment’s gone. All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity. Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind”.  I felt exactly like the tiny speck that I am in this universe.  It was humbling.

Besides hiking, you can rent sleds to ride the dunes, take a sunset tour , a  full moon tour and in winter there are tours of Lake Lucero which is on the premises and plays a critical role in the formation and ecosystem of the monument.  This is such an awesome place!  Yes the desert is harsh and unforgiving, but it is simultaneously  a place of spirituality, beauty and extreme serenity.  It is  so worth the trip and should not be missed should you find yourself out here in the American Southwest.  Happy trails. xo

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Wild horses couldn’t drag me away! In search of wildlife in the Sierra Blanca Range of Lincoln National Forest.

I keep dreaming of my National Geographic moment, the time when I will witness a great feat of nature, be part of a once in a lifetime wildlife experience. Something safe and not too disturbing of course, but something big… a bald eagle scooping up it’s prey, or observing a bear and her cubs.  But these creatures are very elusive and for me this has been trending.  In 2011 on a horseback riding vacation to the T Cross Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming in the middle of the Shoshone National Forest, famous for its moose, elk and deer all I saw was a single chipmunk.  No joke. We then drove to Jackson Hole, Wyoming via the Teton National Park and saw some very outrageous scenery … but not one moose.

But I can be patient, and my enthusiasm hasn’t waned, so we set off this morning for Ski Apache (elevation 10,000 feet) the winter ski resort in the Lincoln National Forest in   Ruidoso.  It is home to wild mustangs, bear, elk, deer…all of the usual suspects. Happily and gratefully, within the first 3 miles we saw the wild mustangs nonchalantly eating on the side of the road not at all intimidated by me, my camera or the car.  It made me smile to see them  wild and free.

Wild horses of Ruidoso

Wild horses of Ruidoso

The 12 mile drive up the mountain from Ruidoso takes a while because of the many hairpin turns.  I  endured the scary, endless switchbacks, and steep drop offs , with too few guardrails for my liking, anticipating the moment when an elk would surprise me with an impromptu visit. Not today, but hope springs eternal.

Overall a GREAT day in the neighborhood… a very comfortable 70 degrees and my vision was blessed with beautiful wildflowers and fallen trees that looked like haunting natural sculptures and the reward of a most spectacular view at the top!

But not one hairy beast!

Wildflowers in Lincoln National Forest

Wildflowers in Lincoln National Forest

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Love this view! Ride to Ski Apache in Lincoln National Forest.

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On the road again to Ruidoso, New Mexico!

We always end up leaving late, the planned 6am blast off absolutely did not happen but we were only an hour behind, not bad for our first long road trip with the dogs! We were inspired by the story of a man and his dog that was profiled on the evening news.   Long story short… owner of dog with a terminal illness takes said dog on a road trip,  kind of a doggie “bucket list” trip, documenting it all with photos of course.  We loved the story! Our dogs are old (14 and 10) with all the requisite ailments of older dogs so we decided to make it a “family” adventure.  Fort Worth to Ruidoso is an 8.5 hour drive which seemed very daunting, as long drives always seem to me…the woman with the 3 hour driving limit! But I live in Texas.  Texas is the size of France and Switzerland combined…you can hardly be anywhere in 3 hours.  So we packed Harley and Scout into their crate (along with their bowls, bed, blanket, harnesses, and a bag of “special diet for old dogs” food!) and headed west to the “Land of Enchantment”.

Wind farms north of Midland, Texas

Wind farms north of Midland, Texas

Love the open road!

Love the open road!

Branching out from our usual Santa Fe/Taos addiction we decided it was time to see Ruidoso. Described on Trip Advisor as, “Situated ideally at the center between the Lincoln National Forest to the south and the northeast and the Valley of Fires State Park to the northwest, Ruidoso is a still-sleepy mountain town despite its recent growth and popularity with tourists.”

For us it is always the call of mother nature,  perfect weather, green chile on everything and the smell of piñon that brings us back to New Mexico again and again.  Oh and of course the STARS!

Junk shop in Snyder, Texas

Junk shop in Snyder, Texas

Talk about a changing landscape! Horses, cattle, cotton fields, pumpjacks (the oil pumping machines that dot the west Texas landscape), wind farms, mountains, valleys, green and dry land, pine trees and the ever present big blue New Mexico sky dotted with clouds that appear to be waiting to be touched or painted…all made for a beautiful drive.  All of that, along with some good tunes and conversation, the time flew by and we arrived safe and sound.  Looking forward to the days ahead.  Nature is beckoning…

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First wildlife sighting.

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Beautiful sunset.

View from our deck

View from our deck

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All things Navy!! Annapolis…so many sites, so little time!

In May we met up  with family members from Chile for a long weekend in Annapolis, Maryland.  This was their first trip to the Chesapeake Bay area.  At first I was disappointed that our weekend coincided with “Commissioning Week” at the United States Naval Academy as all I could think about was how crowded it was going to be blah blah blah.  I once again learned the lesson of keeping your mind and heart open to the universe because it turned out to be the PERFECT time to be there.  Yes there were more people, however everyone was there for a time of joyful celebration so the mood was one of energy, accomplishment and the pride that comes with it.  The cadets, all wearing their starchy white and I must say, fabulously tailored uniforms,  were so happy  with the anticipation of the upcoming festivities.  So our week was filled with glorious food, history and nature and joy.  We were happy to be a part of the celebration. First stop, Middleton Tavern,  a fixture on the waterfront since the days of the American Revolution.  Oysters and crab cakes were pretty good too! The Blue Angels, part of the Naval Academy’s graduation celebration did not disappoint. We had a waterside view for a performance that lasted about 45 minutes and it was breathtaking!  For me it is always interesting to see the USA through the eyes of foreign visitors and to mark their observations.  Our family was in awe of the natural beauty of the area, the professionalism of the young cadets, the organization of the weeklong events and the skills, courage and daring of those amazing pilots.

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Boats in Annapolis Harbor

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Blue Angels over the US Naval Academy

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Annapolis

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Installation of birds by various artists sprinkled throughout Annapolis!

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Baskets filled with Maryland crabs!

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We loved the birds!

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I originally balked at going to the Antietam National Battlefield, not for lack of curiosity, but seeing how I am usually landlocked in North Texas I just wanted to stay near the coast enjoying the Chesapeake in all its glory!  I was, however, so glad I went as this place is a must see for so many reasons. Antietam is the site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War where 23,000 Americans were killed in one day on a beautiful stretch of Maryland farmland. It was so  hard to imagine all of that blood being shed in such a pastoral, peaceful and beautiful space. The  National  Park is 3200 acres of sad history and immense natural beauty. We were fortunate to arrive in time for a 20 minute lecture on the history of the battle and then spent hours walking thru the park, especially at the Burnside Bridge and around the cornfields, the sites of the most horrific battles.  It was nice to learn that the government leases the land to farmers so it remains as it was  at the time of the Civil War. 

Antietam National Park

Antietam National Park

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Antietam Burnside Bridge

The Civil War Medical Museum brought us through the lovely and lively town of Frederick, Maryland.  Considering our group consisted of 2 doctors, a nurse and a medical device professional this was a great place for us…we were in awe of the collection of antique medical instruments, civil war memorabilia and history of conditions for medical care during the Civil War. IMG_1041 IMG_1024 The streets in Frederick were chock full of quaint antique shops housed in old buildings… I was in heaven! But fair warning, get there before 5 as everything was closing which is what usual happens when you jam packed your day with fun adventures.  We topped off our day trip with dinner at Firestone’s Restaurant which was randomly chosen by the menu choices and the number of people inside, but we lucked out as the food, and the ambience, which was high energy and  modern, still had the feel of a cozy neighborhood tavern!  http://firestonesrestaurant.com/2012/

Steak Salad at Firestone's

Steak Salad at Firestone’s

IMG_1033 Head on over to St. Michaels for a taste of another coastal town.  It’s about an hours drive from Annapolis, but worth it for the bridges on the journey and the charm of St. Michaels.

Main street in St. Michaels

Main street in St. Michaels

Crab cakes with a view!

Crab cakes with a view!

Hard to go wrong with crab cakes and oysters anywhere in the Chesapeake, at least that was our experience.  Heading home via Ronald Reagan Airport we passed Arlington National Cemetery, very fitting as it was Memorial Day Weekend. Thank you Maryland… we had a blast!

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery

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Palo Duro Canyon, Texas

I am sooooo not a camper, but when my husband tried to lure me to spend a night in the cabins at Palo Duro Canyon State Park it was the promise of a starlit sky that lured me into agreeing with him.  I still had beautiful memories of the two other places where I was overwhelmed by the stars, Yosemite National Park and on a sailboat anchored in the middle of the ocean near the British West Indies.  At the time this did seem like the perfect place to stop for the night to break up the 10 hour drive from Fort Worth, Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Unfortunately for us, we read the email sent to us by the park months ago just prior to arriving at the park…just a bit too late… as we didn’t bring the pillows, blankets, sheets, and towels needed for the cabin.  Luckily the park rangers had some clean supplies.

Since we arrived at the Cow Camp cabin after dark we were unable to see the landscape as we descended to the base of the canyon. It was very dark and very cold.  I knew I was in trouble when Benjamin, after the first trip from the car to the cabin, looked me in the eye an said the cabin was, “very basic”.  Made me laugh so hard…I know he thought I was going to scream out loud when I saw it.  But I had seen photos of the 1930′ stone cabins and they seemed clean enough and after all, I knew we were in  a beautiful place even though I hadn’t seen it yet. photo 1

 

 

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, according to the park rangers, is the most popular state park in Texas and the canyon itself, though much smaller,  is second in size to the Grand Canyon…so how bad could it be???  Basic was an understatement, but what it lacked in comfort it made up for in laughs, and memory making, and the absolute awesome beauty of the canyon that we were finally able to see at sunrise! It was worth roughing it!

I continually reminded Benjamin that he absolutely knew I was NOT a camper when he met me and he appreciated the sense of humor that masked my fear, at least for a little while, until the sounds from the metal garbage can being bounced around scared me near to death. Did I mention that the park rangers said there were bobcats in the park?

I didn’t sleep much, didn’t drink any water so I didn’t have to go out to the bathrooms until daylight for fear of running into whatever wonderful wildlife was out there and I didn’t see any stars due to cloud cover but I would still do it again, albeit differently…like staying in the local hotel and visiting the canyon during the day! However, if you are a camper and want to visit the park you must reserve early (we reserved at least 4 months in advance and only the camp cabins were available) so you can get one of the cabins up on the rim that are still basic, but have great views. You can bring your horses or rent them during the summer months to see the canyon from an entirely different and I assume very awesome perspective. You will love the park rangers, they are so nice and warm and helpful, and the canyon is truly a site to see.  Be sure to eat breakfast at the Ranch House Cafe 810 23rd Street, Canyon, Texas, very local and everything is made from scratch including the green chile sauce.  Happy Camping!

http://www.palodurocanyon.com

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Cows on farm outside of the canyon

Outside Ranch House Cafe, Canyon, Texas

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Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River

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When inspiration strikes…

I’ve been lamenting the fact that I haven’t blogged in quite some time, that I miss writing, and questioning why I allow so many things get in the way of the things I love to do.  I’ve had plenty of things to write about and traveled to some fun locations this year…A great visit to Toronto, my first time ever in Canada visiting good friends and loved it!  Another trip  NYC to attend an “oh so interesting” day session with Dr. Brian Weiss (and 2000 other curious types), a splendid wedding in Atlanta, a very special trip as we know the groom since he was a child, and a Seane Corn Yoga Detox in Hudson, Ohio the home of another great friend and yogi.  So what has kept me from writing?  I’ll have to explore that.  In the meantime…

Today I drew my inspiration from a local source. We had lunch at Cane Rosso a branch of the Dallas based  restaurant in the ever-growing, and wonderfully diverse Magnolia Avenue neighborhood of Fort Worth.

 

Tiled Pizza Oven

Tiled Pizza Oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A meal of fresh pizza and salad is one of my favorite combos but the choices in Fort Worth, in my opinion,  have been lacking till now!!!

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Menu cover…the sea salt in the dough is delicious.

The menu reads, “Cane Rosso serves internationally certified Neapolitan pizza by our Italian trained pizzaioli.  We use fresh, house-made fior di latte mozzarella and our sauce is created by hand crushing San Marzano tomatoes.  Our dough is prepared over two days using imported “double zero” Italian flour and fired in our 900 degree wood burning oven for just 1 minute”.  That description was enough to get us there and we were not disappointed.

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Tray of rising dough.

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Glass reads, “Made in Texas by Texans”

 

Great pizza dough, fluffy, soft, slightly crispy, a touch of sea salt…yummy.  The flavor of the fresh ingredients on our choice, the “Cassie” was just perfect… basil, mushrooms, sopressata.    Oh and I loved the beer glasses used to serve the Fort Worth based  Martin House Brewing Company beer.  Inscribed was “Made in Texas, by Texans” ….which of course is soooooo Texan! xoxo

 

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New York City…Veggie Inspiration from the concrete jungle

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Union Square Farmers Market

NYC is always inspiring!  I get hyper just thinking about all of the options… the fashion, the shops, the green spaces, art galleries, the farmers markets, restaurants, the food trucks, the museums.  There are so many things to do and see, you can suffer from sensory overload for sure.  On my most recent visit last week the places  that inspired me most for my own lifestyle and lifestyle aspirations were the Union Square Farmers Market and the Westville restaurant in Chelsea (one of 4 NYC locations: http://www.westvillenyc.com).

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My friend and I were roaming the neighborhood and just happened upon the inviting location, filled to capacity long after the traditional lunch hour had passed.  It was one of those intimate neighborhood places, a small and inviting space filled with the chatter of friends, that always draws me in to a place. It’s not a vegetarian restaurant as all sorts of good things grace their menu but it sure seemed to be a specialty if one was to judge from the platters of veggies and large salads on everyone’s table.

I could easily be a vegetarian.  I already eat way more veggies than most, but I don’t think I am as inventive as I know I could be with my recipes.  I’m the person who loves when veggies and salads are prepared for me…I know, it doesn’t make sense.

Four years ago while attending my yoga teacher training at Lalita, a retreat in Acebo, Spain  (western Spain close to Portugal), I lived on a vegetarian diet for 3 weeks. I loved it!  Till this day I love to eat tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and some crusty bread for breakfast as that was our daily breakfast meal.   I vowed and tried to continue the diet when I returned  home, but my repertoire of recipes and well… laziness I guess… kept me from exploring what I know to be are amazing vegetarian meal options.

So as we sat down to lunch at Westville to eat our delicious Moroccan carrots, beets with goat cheese, quinoa salad and carrot/lentil salad with some great bread my interest was renewed. So I rushed off to the Cowtown Farmers Market in Fort Worth upon my return. (I still can’t believe I live in a place they nickname Cowtown…another story for another day), and bought some baby eggplant, baby zucchini, fresh bread from the Artisan Baking Co. (www.artisan-baking-company.com)  and started my now weeklong journey into the preparation of vegetarian dishes that closely mimic my Westville experience..zucchini tarts, roasted eggplant with pine nuts, my own version of the Moroccan carrots with lemon, cumin, honey and mint!  I so wish we had a Westville  here in “Cowtown” but until then I am hoping to keep up the momentum inspired by my trip.

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My version of Westville’s Moroccan carrots!

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Zucchini tarts in puff pastry

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Roasted eggplant with pine nuts, cumin and olive oil

Fun, delicious, healthy, easy!  I even ordered a new version of the “Moosewood Cookbook” one of my first sources of good vegetarian meals from the 1970’s on ebay.  Now where are my earth shoes?…Don’t make fun, you know you had a pair!

xo

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Ojo Caliente, New Mexico

About 1 hour north of Santa Fe\ via US 285N is the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa (http://ojospa.com) and it so well worth the drive.  Archeologists date the springs back  thousands of years and you can easily imagine Native Americans and then the Spaniards in the 1500’s enjoying the healing properties of the mineral springs.  The place is beautiful in the way of New Mexico…arid, rugged and above all spiritual and peaceful.

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Entrance to Ojo Caliente Resort and Spa

Scenic drive to Ojo Caliente

ImageI had never been to mineral springs like this before, or had any idea for example that there were arsenic pools let alone that bathing in them is  good for arthritis, stomach ulcers or healing a variety of skin conditions.

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Scary that they need a sign telling people not to get into the mud pot! Just thinking of that makes me laugh!

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The drying mud near my mouth makes me look like a vampire.

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There is a “whisper” policy at the spa…and it is amazing how much better it is when it is enforced…you can hear the breeze and the birds.

Our favorite was the mud bath.  Before you “mud up” you need to shower, then slather yourself with mud from the mud pot and then bake in the hot sun until the mud hardens.  When  you feel as dry as the desert air it’s time to rinse off in another pool…but you’ll need to shower to get all of the mud off.  NOTE:  Wear a dark colored swimsuit if you can.  The whole process left our skin baby soft.  I’m sorry to say that the treatments at the spa were underwhelming.  I had a reflexology treatment and B had a massage and we both thought they were just OK.  There was a fabulous gift shop with all sorts of oils, and smudge sticks (herbs bundled together and burned, often used to purify or bless people and places), and a great selection of bathing suits and clothing including Eileen Fisher! All in all we’d go back again in a minute to enjoy the springs and the serenity of this very spiritual place. Next time we would be better prepared…remember sunscreen, check out the yoga schedule (I unfortunately did not… ) if you want to take the  a class in the yurt.  Bring a bag for your wet clothing etc. etc.  We pride ourselves on our spur of the moment jaunts but a little bit of planning goes a long way.  xoImage

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Shopping Experiences in Istanbul

Sights of Istanbul

Sights of Istanbul

You can’t go to Istanbul without visiting the Grand Bazaar or the Spice Bazaar.  Its a participation in history and  quite an experience if you can deal with the crowds and the hawkers.  I LOVE textiles but just didn’t feel comfortable purchasing one in Istanbul.  I went into a couple of shops just for the experience and it is an experience.  You enter a stall/shop and there are no price tags on the rugs, it is mandatory that you sit down, drink tea, and have a vendor show you carpet by carpet for the style of your choice.  I didn’t like it for two reasons, it is very time consuming process and I never felt as though  I could trust the value of the carpet beyond whether I liked it or not.  In one shop the carpet started out at $3000 and was less than $1500 as I was walking out the door.  Nothing about the experience instilled confidence.  P1030841

I loved the Spice Bazaar,  it is part of the architecture of the New Mosque built in the 1600’s.  It has grown to include more than spices over the years, but still a major center for spice trade and a prime destination for local shopping.  So much energy!

Typical booth in spice bazaar

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Locals and tourists in Istanbuls Spice Bazaar

Locals and tourists in Istanbuls Spice Bazaar

I must say that globalization has ruined part of the travel experience to some degree as so many things are now available in our own backyard.  Why carry home all of the spices I can now find at Whole Foods, or Central Market right here in Texas??

My favorite store (Denizler Kitabeva http://www.denizlerkitabevi.com, on Istiklal Caddessi 199a, Beyoglu, Istanbul) of the all that I saw on this visit  was a beautiful, old fashioned storefront selling old books, maps, engravings and samples of local art.

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Its the kind of place you could spend time in as there was so much to see.  The lovely woman who helped us had once moved from Istanbul to Santa Fe, New Mexico, one of my favorite places, but can’t image that was easy for her! Just down the road is a Nike Store and even a Krispy Creme, how awful is that?  So when I find local gems like this store it is fun to just linger! We purchased one of the pottery pieces of the Ottomon Kaftans similar to those worn by the Ottomon Sultans made by a local artist Seyda Aksu (http://seydaaksu.com/duvaraksesuar.html) as our anniversary gift for this year.    These were just beautifully made and painted.  We chose one that was covered in pomegranates (similar to the one fourth from left on the bottom shelf of the display below) as they are native to this part of the world.  Such delicious memories!  Thank you Istanbul!

Denizler Kitabevi on Istiklal Caddesi

Denizler Kitabevi on Istiklal Caddesi

Pottery replicas of Ottomon Era Clothing

Pottery replica of Ottoman Kaftans (similar to those worn by Ottoman Sultans) made by a local artist.

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