Querétaro Daily: Decorative Calaveras and Delectable Cabezas

I’m back! 😀img_5594Querétaro looks even more beautiful than when I left it.tt17tt17I have returned to Mexico just in time for the important celebration of Día de Muertos.

Día de Muertos or Day of the Dead is an important tradition where family members prepare altars in honor of their loved ones that have passed. Additionally, patrons bring offerings to those altars in order for the deceased to partake in food and drink that they previously enjoyed during their lifetime.  Important symbols for Day of the Dead include colorfully decorated CALAVERAS or skulls and marigolds.
In the Plaza de Armas, they created altars in order to honor local legends of Querétaro. tt6Even one of my 5th graders brought me a colorfully decorated calavera as a gift. So sweet. 🙂img_5690My students had been doing well while I was gone, but they were glad I returned. I received 25 hugs on Monday with cheering. 😀

This week we were able to share scary stories that the students had been working on. All of the stories were incredibly creepy. I thought I would share one. 🙂tt5During our spooky session, the kids were able to taste gross Jelly Beans I brought for them as souvenirs. Some of the 6th graders were actually in tears from laughing after trying the soap and vomit-flavored candy. So revolting! Yuck! They loved it! 😀

To fully immerse myself in the customs and traditions here, I decided to take a historic tour regarding the legends and myths of Querétaro.tt7tt18The tour was only $8 and we were able to visit various historic houses in the city and learn about infamous legends like Don Bartolo, El Marqués, La Carambada, and La Zacatecana. The tour group retold the stories of these local legends through theatrical performance. We were guided by lit torches on a journey through the city and back in time. I thought the actors did a great job interacting with the group and even added some humor with a few cheap tricks, like jump-out scares. :ptt10Even if you don’t like history stories, being out in the city streets at night is a real treat. The classic colonial architecture combined with the glistening city lights makes you feel transported to a different era.img_5598img_5642img_5646In other news, this week I also moved into a new apartment closer to the city center.
I have four new roommates. The owner of the house, Alejandro, works as an engineer. All of them are very nice and also ride Harleys. 🙂tt3Alejandro’s parents built the house and used to live in this room, but then moved and gave the house to Alejandro. They must have moved out a LONG time ago, because I found money in the bedroom drawer that isn’t even in circulation.img_5566Anyway, I LOVE this location and moving here has helped me to see more of Querétaro. I am close to the Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez Auditorium, where they host performances and music concerts.img_5490Across the street is Plaza las Américas, which is a giant outdoor mall that has many shops, restaurants and a cinema. I was able to visit The Italian Coffee Company there, which is a popular coffee shop franchise in Mexico.
img_5649A few blocks from this neighborhood is the beautiful Alameada Hiladgo, which is a park and marketplace.img_5522I am also very close to a fitness center and decided to take a Zumba class this week. 🙂

My instructor reminded me of a Mexican Richard Simmons. Hah. So much energy!tt9This area of the city is vibrant and eclectic.tt2While wandering the streets, I found some gorgeous graffiti art as well.img_5480After a long week of reacquainting myself with the city, I left to explore the magic town of Cadereyta de Montes.

While on the bus, I began talking with the guy sitting next to me. He is a Charro that works with horses and just returned from a trip to Utah, where he was working on a ranch. After we arrived in Cadereyta, he invited me for tacos and offered me a tour of the city. 🙂

We went to Rica Pancita Don Poncho and I ordered TACOS DE CABEZA. ice-cream-lip-tacos-0221These tacos are made with slow-roasted goat head. They are served with onions, cilantro, salsa verde and lime. YUM!!!

On this locally guided tour, I visited three important churches in Cadereyta: San Pedro y San Pablo Parish Church, La Soledad (Solitude) Church and the Santa Escala (Holy Stairs) Church.tt15tt14img_5672tt13tt11From there, we visited the regional botanical gardens. The state of Querétaro is extremely biodiverse with various forests and terrain. In an effort to preserve this biodiversity, they created a botanical garden and plant nursery, which currently houses almost 300 varieties of plant life.img_5656It was beautiful strolling though the garden.tt19img_5665That was, until we realized that we were not alone. Dun-dun-dun!img_5664My tour guide quickly became my defender and guardian against any webs lying in our path. After a while, we were completely surrounded.img_5666I mean, seriously?? That thing needs a leash. It is big enough to be someone’s pet.

I kept telling myself, “they are more afraid of me than I am of them,” as I quickly and stealthily escaped from the garden.

After barely surviving that traumatic encounter, we felt that we deserved some ice cream. 😀img_56771Daniel took me to a heladeria in the city center to try cactus ice cream.tt12It was delicious sweet treat made from water, cactus and sugar. Cadereyta is a beautiful town and it feels great to be back in the state of Querétaro. With Day of the Dead quickly approaching, there are sure to be many spectacles and events in the week ahead. Until then. 🙂

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