Monday March 4 – Saturday March 9, 2013
Welcome to my new favorite city in Mexico despite the fact Scott and I spent very little time actually exploring this absolutely GORGEOUS citidad. We did, however, become intimately connected to our hotel room where we spent three of the five days of Guanajuato in bed battling la gripe. Okay, Scott had a head start on me the previous weekend in San Miguel (he was very ill last Sat and Sun), and I dutifully caught up to him on Monday, the day we bussed it to Guanajuato. That topping my most miserable bus ride ever. About la gripe, this is the sickest either of us have been since we’ve been with each other, nine years. Thank goodness for comfy beds (note the plural – we each had our own bed), room service, HBO, and onion soup.
Our fifth and final leg of this journey: Guanajuato
Guanajuato, birthplace of Diego Rivera, is the capital city of the state of Guanajuato. Located in a well of a valley, many of its streets are too narrow for cars despite the fact taxis will still drive on those streets (as witnessed by yours truly). Many of its actual roadways (for cars) are beneath the city. Another colonial city chock full of plazas, cafes, churches and homes built from the pinkish sandstone prevalent in the area.
At one point, 2/3’s of the world’s silver came from Guanajuato making it a very prosperous city during colonial times/16thcentury. To learn more about this oh-so-very-awesome city, click here.
Yep. We spent Monday-Wednesday in bed. Well, Scott managed to get out on Tuesday and find me some cough medicine. I finally gave up trying the natural way of healing (all my good homeopathic stuff was at home in Sayulita anyway) and broke down guzzling copious amounts of Food Dye Red40. While the horrific side effects of the cough syrup were dizziness, nausea and a general delirium, it did stop the coughing giving me a chance to have sound sleep. By Wednesday, the fever went from nearly 103 to 101, and I was ready to venture out of the room and get some fresh air.
We found a natural health food store where a very very sweet woman helped me find some bronchial medicine that didn’t taste like nuclear waste. Then a stop off for water at a local market and a darling guy who was eager to speak with us and who enthusiastically gave us a little map while proudly sharing info about Guanajuato. The taxi driver from the bus station, too, was enthusiastic and happy to talk about his city. Is it possible that the people in Guanajuato are friendlier than those in Sayulita? They really seem to love their city. After about an hour of that going outside nonsense, I slinked back to bed and hid under the covers for another 12 hours or so.
Thursday. Too tired to walk to the Centro yet feeling too good to lay in bed all day, we took a taxi downtown. But because there was some big road rally in town, the driver had to detour all around the city taking about 15 minutes to arrive at a place that is less than 2 miles by walking.
What a tour! We saw the panoramic view of this beautiful city. Walled in by spiked mountains and resting in the depth of a beautiful valley, Guanajuato is one of the most interesting cities I’ve ever seen. There are pedestrian walkways everywhere, because the city is essentially built on a series of tunnels that lead to different stops. Thus, much of the driving happens beneath the city. Only, if you’re taking the bus, there is no actual map of stops, so you have to tell the bus driver where you want to go so s/he knows to stop at that place. Our taxi driver this evening was like Mario Andretti. He was zipping around corners and down into the tunnels like a pro. This ride felt like we were on a Space Mountain roller coaster without the 100 foot drop. It was like spelunking in a car. With only the car lights and the occasional tunnel light, we were zipping around in the dark, jerking left and right until we emerged from the tunnel on what might be the narrowest road I’ve ever seen. Scott called it Lombard street with walls, only it wasn’t actually walls but buildings. This was intense. Because it was incredibly curvy, we couldn’t see far enough in front of us to know where we were going. I found myself gripping Scott’s hand, white knuckled. I wish I had a photo, but I was too paralyzed with fear to pull out my camera.
When we got to the Centro, I involuntarily exhaled three minutes of held breath. We had dinner at Casa Valadez. I had a Greek salad and another onion soup – sin queso of course. My appetite had been nonexistent all week, so eating was still a necessity instead of a pleasure.
Friday. Finally! I felt like moving, and move we did for several hours. Still unbalanced and a bit dizzy, I embraced the beautiful day. One of many experiences I wanted to have here was to see the Diego Rivera museo (also his first childhood home). It was fantabuloso with a galleria on the second and third floors showing works spanning his 60-year career. There was a piece he did at age 12 – amazing.
Guanajuato. If we hadn’t settled on San Miguel, I would want to live here. I LOVE this city. It is a city with the youthful vibe of a university town and the “chill” energy of old world Europe. It’s sophisticated and earthy. It has curious architecture, ever-winding streets, and all the pleasures of a city but with the tranquility of a small pueblo. I’ve never experienced anything like this place and am having difficulty describing its unique character.
It’s like the old and rocky part of Vieste, the modern downtown of Lisbon, the historic centro of Porto, and the roads of Sintra, Portugal all wrapped into one beautiful Mexican package. Friday night was lovely. We went back into town after a short rest. The first thing we saw when entering town was (wait for it, wait for it), a parade. It was a parade of Paz (peace) and I think it was for National Women’s Day. Children walked by laughing, hugging, waving peace signs, and handing out flowers. We went back to the plaza, and it was abuzz with people of all ages. A band was playing with an attentive audience applauding and cheering. Young, old, families, all enjoying the crisp evening air.
We had cena at an open-air cafe with the most adorable staff ever. But because of my post-fever haze, I don’t remember the restaurant’s name. Aztec soup and spinach salad with french fries summed up my food consumption for the day. University students crowded the stairs leading up to the main campus building. Sitting there and watching an outdoor movie. All of this right in the middle of the city. So many smiling people!
We shall return to Guanajuato. Still so much to experience – the funicular, a multitude of museos including Museo de las Momias (mummy museum) and the Don Quixote Museo, several templos, galleries, and so much much more!
On Saturday, we made it back to Sayulita after 12+ hours on two different buses. With this lovely trip behind us, we have just a short wait before Jaime’s visit next week. Life is good.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
~ Dr. Seuss
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This is Mexico Post #9, to see the other Mexico posts, click click click away
Mexico Post #1, Me and My Trimalleolar go to Mexico with my Husband and our Pooch
Mexico Post #2, Dos Americanos y Su Perro en Mexico
Mexico Post #3, Feliz Ano Nuevo 2013
Mexico Post #4, Ballenas, Ballenas Hermosas
Mexico Post #5, Una Visita Morelia
Mexico Post #6, Mariposas Monarcas!
Mexico Post #7, Los Pueblos de Patzcuaro, Paracho, y Tzintzuntzan
Mexico Post #8, La pintoresca ciudad de San Miguel de Allende
Mexico Post #9, Guanajuato, Guanajuato
Mexico Post #10, Back to Sayulita and Jaime Visits!
Mexico Post #11, Semana Santa y Semana Pasqua
Mexico Post #12, Semana de Animales
Mexico Post #13, Semana de Amigos y Amigas
Mexico Post #14, Frida y Diego
Mexico Post #15, Adiós Sayulita
Mexico Post #16, Living and Grinning in San Miguel de Allende
Mexico Post #17, Puddle Jumping in San Miguel de Allende
Mexico Post #18, Guanajuato International Film Festival
Mexico Post #19, Ciudad de Mexico/Mexico City: Colonia Condesa, Colonia Coyoacán, y La Casa Azul
Mexico Post #20, Ciudad de Mexico/Mexico City: Chapultapec y Centro Historico
Mexico Post #21, Ciudad de Mexico/Mexico City: Museo Nacional de Antropologia y Templo Mayor
Mexico Post #22, Living the Dream in San Miguel de Allende
Mexico Post #23, Viva la Independencia!
Mexico Post #24, Adios San Miguel
Mexico Post #25, Valle de Bravo y Teploztlán
Mexico Post #26, Ciudad de Oaxaca
Mexico Post #27, 50 Shades of Green: On the road from Oaxaca to Chiapas
Mexico Post #28, San Cristóbal de las Casas
Mexico Post #29, Almost Halloween Ed.: Dark Mountains, Foggy Cliffs, Witches, Jungles & Shamans
Mexico Post #30, Veracruz, Tampico y Estados Unidos