Pueblos Mágicos of Guanajuato: Dolores Hidalgo and Yuriria

Greetings everyone and happy Monday!

This past week has been quite eventful. Let me bring you up to speed. 🙂

For starters, I moved into a new apartment!
It’s a fantastic apartment complex in a gated community with four pools. Score!IMG_8223_zpsa197408510893560_10103853868114287_1764450991_n_zps700ea65110904732_10103855337045537_475232971_n_zps7832bf09My old roommates started smoking cigarettes in the house, so I decided to pack my things and move on. Yuck! No secondhand smoke for me! 🙂 Anyway, now I live with Fernando, a 28-year-old businessman, and his chubby pug named Chrome. 😛10904826_10103853869780947_832924971_n_zps3fd116ddHe dresses Chrome in a mustache sweater, which is hilarious because I don’t think he needs any more insulation, but he does look pretty adorable in it. 🙂

This apartment is very modern and tidy, plus it has a fantastic kitchen! On the menu this week I made a delicious stir fry of cactus, tomatoes, onion, cilantro and lime.10532566_10103890965800227_8646234689832260257_n_zpsd54c69edIn other news, the kids started school last week. We have spent most of the time reviewing, since they had forgotten a few things over break, and their next quiz is right around the corner. Aside from that, I’m really looking forward to the television series I plan to introduce into the 6th grade classroom this bi-mester. Weekly, we will begin watching segments of Boy Meets World. I think it will be a great way to get the students interested in the English language and American culture. I thought the show was also age appropriate and the main character Corey has strong moral values, so we will be able to reflect upon his life decisions after each episode. 🙂unnamedBy the end of the week, I was eager to get out of the city and explore. 🙂 I got a few ideas from a magazine I had picked up earlier all about the best Pueblos Mágicos of 2015.img_20150112_182230_708

Pueblos Mágicos or Magical Villages are symbolic towns in Mexico based on their preservation of culture and historic significance.

After perusing my options, I settled on two pueblos in the state of Guanajuato: Dolores Hidalgo and Yuriria

 Dolores Hidalgo

IMG_8230_zps3713a652This town is best known as the birthplace of Mexican independence, where in 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Castillo planned a revolt against the oppressive Spanish government by breaking into their jailhouse to liberate the prisoners and form an army of followers. On September 16th, 1810, he would utter the famous “Grito” or cry of independence which marked the beginning of the War of Independence and the end of tyranny from Spanish rule.IMG_8279_zps1ad5a983While in Dolores Hidalgo, I was able to visit the Museum of Miguel Hidalgo, which attempts to replicate a typical 19th century house during his life.IMG_8266_zps137c8321 (1)IMG_8271_zps433b3ff3 (1)IMG_8281_zpsa6ffe8c8IMG_8288_zpse009fa40I was also able to visit the Museum of Independence, which was the site of the original 19th century jailhouse, where Miguel Hidalgo liberated the prisoners. Artifacts include the original prison doors and jail bars.IMG_8276_zps4be89a02IMG_8295_zpse5ac07f3IMG_8296_zpsfa92a137Aside from Miguel Hidalgo, another former resident of this town was Jose Alfredo Jimenez, a famous singer, who defined Ranchera music in Mexico.IMG_8294_zpsf01ebfd5In honor of his life, they constructed an impressive mausoleum for his final resting place.

Courtesy of Google images:
guan9554EGHHere is some of his music to enjoy while you continue reading. 🙂

Aside from it’s famous occupants, Dolores Hidalgo is an incredibly quaint pueblo with gorgeous architecture and small-town charm.IMG_8305_zps795e7246IMG_8257_zps504c08e1Most impressive are the Cathedral of our Sister Dolores, Cathedral of Asuncion, and the Calvario temple.img_8233img_8237img_8236img_8238IMG_8303_zps3cc31bb4IMG_8250_zps00140fdbIMG_8261_zpsa8cf8f15After a day of sightseeing, the best place to relax is the city center, where you can enjoy their famous homemade ice creams. My co-workers told me all about their bizarre flavors, including pork skin, tequila, beer and mole.IMG_8298_zpsd22aac99After much deliberation, I decided on avocado. 🙂IMG_8299_zps99d468b5It was light and slightly savory. Delicious! What better way to enjoy strange-flavored ice cream than surrounded by some unique company. 😛 Hah.
IMG_8306_zps2c3c3c0dAnother day well-spent. 🙂

Yuriria

On Sunday, I left bright and early to explore the magic town of Yuriria. Part of my New Years Resolution was to finally give up on instant coffee and purchase a coffee maker. Life is too short to drink bad coffee. 🙂IMG_8217_zpsa3622cafThis morning I had a cup of Veracruz-style coffee accompanied by buñuelos, which were a gift from my student.IMG_8220_zpsa873e81aThese crispy discs reminded me of pie crust. They weren’t very satisfying and also made me wish I had some pumpkin pie filling to scoop up with them. 😛

Anyway, after a few hours on the bus, I arrived in Yuriria.IMG_8349_zpsdaaa6707The name Yuriria comes from the pre-Colombian Purépecha phrase, Yuririhapundaro, meaning “place of the bloody lake.” No worries. This name is not as gruesome as it sounds. In fact, Yuriria lies on the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt and the occasional deep red coloring of the lake was due to the seismic activity below.IMG_8338_zps423c2655Now-a-days, this lake is a great place to fish, boat or relax on a bench of the marina boardwalk.IMG_8342_zps3e056a32Without a doubt, the most iconic symbol of Yuriria is the Ex-Convent of San Agustín.IMG_8321_zps6f4dc6daTowering above all other structures in the town, this massive piece of Spanish architecture is absolutely jaw-dropping.IMG_8315_zps60b80859IMG_8317_zpsaf748956Trust me, it is WAY more impressive in person! 😀IMG_8310_zps0f2d6b53IMG_8369_zps8d317135It is no coincidence that this 16th century convent closely resembles a medieval fortress. For at that time, when the Spaniards were trying to convert many native tribes to Christianity, they were met with strong opposition. Violent attacks were not uncommon, and the convent became a place of worship and protection.

After a bit of sightseeing, I took a walk around the neighborhood to get a feel for the city.

Unlike Dolores Hidalgo, Yuriria appeared more modern, since their main plaza had WiFi and there were kids break dancing to hip hop in the gazebo. 🙂IMG_8350_zpsde4fa286That being said, Yuriria is still very charming with old-world architecture.IMG_8361_zps8bd6d8caIMG_8347_zpscffa0411IMG_8329_zpsa81f91e0There is a definite Ranchera influence in this region, which is evident in the clothing style. Most people wear cowboy hats, plaid shirts and tall leather boots. Overall, this is very practical and modest attire; HOWEVER, I did spot these showstoppers! Nothing practical or modest about them. 🙂IMG_8363_zps1b0562cbSometimes trends are so ugly, that they’re cute. I don’t think this is one of those cases. Hah.

While walking the streets, I was also able to pick up some appetizing produce for the next week. Yum. So colorful!
IMG_8355_zpsa51fd2eb

Although these two towns are not top tourist attractions, they were a great way to get an inside look at small town life in central Mexico.

Additionally, the bus ride there was a great way for me to catch up on some reading and enjoy some Spanish films. Highlights this weekend included Charlotte’s Webb and Tad, the Lost Explorer. I recommend both films to watch with your kids, plus the language level was perfect for my intermediate knowledge of Spanish. 😉

Overall, a leisurely weekend of exploring. Now I’m looking forward to a great week ahead! Enjoy your night. Until next time. 🙂

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