This weekend was spent in the colonial city of Guanajuato. (Wah-na-WHA-toh)
I left on Friday afternoon using a Primera Plus bus. This costs 207 MXN or $15. The bus seats are very comfortable with a nice leg rest and reclining chair.They also provide snacks and entertainment. The feature presentations included Dumbo and Grown Ups. They also provide headsets to listen to the radio. I shamelessly jammed out to Nicki Minaj and Florida Georgia Line. 😀The ride from Querétaro to Guanajuato is 3 hours.
The countryside of Guanajuato was full of farmland and the clouds were absolutely breathtaking.
I stayed at Hostal Guanajuato. The hostal costs 120 MXN or $9 each night and includes continental breakfast of coffee, tea and fresh pastries.The best part about the hostal were the guests. I met two guys traveling from Israel, two girls from France and a woman traveling from Cozumel. We all sat out on the patio Friday night to discuss our travels and different cultures over a few beers. The conversations would keep changing from English to Spanish to French and Hebrew. The guys had just finished serving in the military and planned on backpacking around Central America until next June. They knew of Milwaukee because of That 70’s show. The girls had met each other while volunteering in Canada and decided to travel together to Mexico. The woman in Cozumel is a snorkeling instructor and took off two weeks for vacation. On Saturday, Yair from Israel made me a nice cup of tea with cinnamon and we watched You’ve Got Mail. They were a nice group of people and a hostal is always a great way to meet people when traveling solo.
Public transportation in Mexico is always an adventure. I call it the cheapest ticket to Six Flags. For less than 50 cents, you can experience the thrill of riding a roller coaster. HAH. The only difference is that you don’t wear a seat belt and you’re lucky if they wait for you to sit down before they start moving. My suggestion: PLANT YOUR FEET. BEND YOUR KNEES SLIGHTLY. HOLD ON TIGHT.Likewise, getting around the city of Guanajuato on foot is also an adventure. The cobblestone streets are a maze-like network of small alleyways that add to the mystery and allure of the city.The city was originally a mining town and was the number one producer of silver for 250 years. The city was not designed for modern day transportation. To solve this problem, they created a series of tunnels underneath the city for transportation. This keeps those small streets free of traffic and helps the town maintain it’s colonial charm.
Alleyway of the Kiss
A romantic alcove created by two balconies where lovers from feuding families would meet to hold hands. A story that ended tragically, similar to Romeo and Juliet.Many people were taking pictures with their lover at this historic site. I stopped to snap a picture and moved on. No smooching with randos, thank you very much. HAH.
Rando= an unpredictable, awkward and often creepy individual. They sit in corners and lurk in the shadows of others.
Breathtaking ride where you can observe of a bird’s-eye-view of this vibrant city. AMAZING! LOVED IT!
This monument was built in honor of Juan Jose de los Reyes Martinez,nick-named “El Pípila.” He heroically burned down the door of the Spanish fortress during a major battle in the Mexican War of Independence.
Jardín de la Unión
A triangular-shaped park in the center of the city.
The market was built in 1910. They sell souvenirs, crafts and all types of regional cuisine.The crafts seemed a little junky to me and I was told to look elsewhere for a decent meal, so I moved on.
Plaza of Peace
This plaza dedicated to peace is framed on its three sides by some of the city’s most beautiful buildings. In the center of the plaza is a bronze monument with a base of limestone and marble, built to commemorate the end of the Mexican War of Independence.
University of Guanajuato
This famous theater opened in 1903. It is one of the most attractive theaters in the country and known worldwide for its architecture. The facade has twelve green stone columns finished off with capitals of brass and on the roof are sculptures of eight of the nine muses.The interior of the theatre is in Moorish style, with arabesque balconies, boxes and panels.
Diego Rivera Museum
Diego Rivera is one of the most famous Mexican painters of all time. Rivera was born in this house on December 8 of 1886. In the year of 1971, the project to transform the house into museum began. This was a tribute to the illustrious Mexican muralist in his native city. The museum has 175 original works of Diego Rivera. This collection is one of the most important of the country, because it represents the artist’s diverse creative stages.I loved the murals painted by Diego Rivera in Mexico City and the artwork at this museum showcased a very diverse collection of paintings, drawings, and watercolors; however, pictures were not allowed.
Alhóndiga de Granaditas Museum
The Alhóndiga de Granaditas was completed in 1809 and originally used as a warehouse. It was the scene for the heroic act of El Pípila as well. The permanent exhibitions are organized in four main sections: archaeology, history, ethnography and art.Artist José Chávez Morado painted the murals in the staircase of the building.
Don Quixote Iconographic Museum
This museum is considered the most important in the world in its category, with a collection of more than 800 pieces. Don Quixote is the fictional character in a Spanish novel by Miguel Cervantes and it is considered the best literary work ever written. It has been written in more languages than any other book next to the Bible.
On Saturday, I went on a tour to visit Cristo Rey. The tour costs 150 MXN or $11. It took 45 minutes to journey from city to the mountain where the statue is seated. Cristo Rey or the Shrine of Christ the King crowns the mountain Cerro del Cubilete, 8,530 feet above sea level. It is one of Mexico’s most important religious monuments. This gigantic statue measures 75 feet tall and weighs 80 tons. Inside, an altar sits on a circular platform of three steps. A symbolic royal crown hangs above the altar, suspended in a large polished metal dome.There were 10 other people on my tour. There was a cute old couple from Los Angeles, California. The man kept complaining about being hungry. He said he was eating air at the moment and about to eat his ticket. Hah. There was also two couples from Monterrey. The only other single traveler was a man from Mexico City. The whole tour was in Spanish and the tourists spoke Spanish as well. For half the tour, the others didn’t realize that I was alone. They thought that the man was my husband. HAH. They were all very sweet and told me that I now have friends in Monterrey if I ever want to visit. My tour guide was pretty comical. He asked if there were any reasons for taking a vacation. Any birthdays, divorces or sex changes? HAH. I laughed mostly, because I actually understood what he was saying!After 3 hours, I assumed our tour was over. NOPE! We stopped at a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant on our way down the mountain. They offered regional specialties like molcajete, which was a grilled variety of steak, chicken, cactus and beans. All were served with fresh sliced avocado, queso fresco and blue corn tortillas. They also offered deep fried chiles full of cheese. After filling up, we watched a local craftsmen create artisan pots from clay. Looks like somebody is getting a mug. 😉Guanjuato also has some weird fascination with zombies and mummies. They have a museum dedicated to mummies and the craft store even had this zombie statue. Hah! We left the store just as the sun was starting to set. Absolutely gorgeous!
Ex Hacienda San Gabriel
At the end of the 17th century, Captain Gabriel de la Barrera founded the Barrera family dynasty, and with it, a series of haciendas and ore-concentrating mills that would carry the family name, including Hacienda San Gabriel. The inside of the hacienda is divided into three parts: the first was formerly the house proper, the second was where religious services were held, and the third section was a work area, including aqueducts, water wheels, tanks, and horse stables. Outside areas, once used for ore extraction, have been replaced with seventeen unique gardens.
This was by far my FAVORITE part of the trip. I call it a hidden gem. It is tucked away from the city and very tranquil. The hacienda smelled like fresh flowers and you could hear birds chirping in the trees as you walked through the gardens. After all was said and done, I was so HAPPY to return home to a nice warm shower and my bed. I had a lot of lesson planning to do for the week. I have been collecting pictures of school projects thus far and I hope to share them with you all in the next blog. Until then!