Sunday, June 26, 2005
Yesterday we drove to Guanajuato. Today I hope to purchase a new vehicle insurance policy because there is absolutely NO WAY we can leave this area. Due to the way that we drove through the mainland, Morelia “feels” so far away but is actually within a short day’s drive from here. It is so hard to believe; we have done so many months of traveling and are almost in the same area we started.
We chose a route that was a “yellow” road - supposed to be secondary to the slow and circuitous “red” libre roads. We found that after Dolores Hidalgo, it was actually a better road than the “red” road. We drove down around a dammed river making Presa Ignacio Allende. Not a pretty looking water, but with the surrounding area and sky it was magnificient. Jamie was driving (for the first time in Mexico) and it was wonderful to take in the scenery and shoot photos. The landscape was incredibly reminiscient of the wine country of California and we felt absolutely at home. It was a good and wide road and we were quickly at the outskirts of Guanajuato.
It was SO nice not to lug the trailer through an unfamiliar town; even more so as this town is notorious for its narrow cobblestone streets. There are even signs for urban buses in town directing them around narrow areas. The town looks to have a sort of medieval wall surrounding parts of it but it could simply be old walls protecting it from the now dry riverbed. There was a horrible flood in 1905 and afterwards the river was diverted.
This town is simply indescribable. While San Miguel de Allende is an absolutely gorgeous town, it feels like a Hollywood representation of Guanajuato. Guanajuato is real. Peeling paint and dirt but homes clinging to hillsides and “streets” almost too narrow to pass through with a large backpack. In the touristy part of town the callones (little streets) are clean and bright. We parked by the railroad station (this is the first town we’ve found with parking lots - and they are necessary as most exploration must be done on foot) and headed to a lovely park we’d seen earlier. There was a festival going on - the fiesta de San Juan and plants, flowers and all things horticultural were for sale. The kids found some swings and I was able to bribe them away with their first snowcones. I had tamarindo flavor and everyone else had fresa (strawberry). Just not adventurous enough for the vanilla or limon. Later, we had aguas frescas (not sure how to translate this, but most are a kind of tea but with fruit sometimes) and everyone had fresa and I had tamarindo. They had alfalfa available, but I wasn’t adventurous enough.
We eventually wound our way around the to municipal market and were rewarded with a wonderful clean mercado. We found the larges guayabas we’ve seen yet in Mexico and of course, had to get some. Strawberries are grown locally and we got some of those too. First time since Baja that they’ve been reasonable enough to purchase. The same fruit stand had lovely nectarines but coming from California, they were 30 pesos/kilo (for California, reasonsable price but for Mexico, HIGH on the chart). I rarely pay more than 20 pesos/kilo for any fruit and most is around 10 pesos/kilo. That way, we are always eating in season. We bought lots of little goodies for the kids, some borrachines (liquor candy and it was STRONG) for Jamie and me and wandered and wandered until it was soon almost 7pm.
We stopped for dinner at a downtown taqueria and paid 101 pesos for 7 glasses of agua fresca, 14 tacos, 1 burrito and 1 quesadilla. Cheapest yet. We’ve decided to stay in the area for another week, I’ll order contacts from Costco in Ceyala, we’ll stay in a downtown hotel in Guanajuato for a couple nights, we’ll explore the area more, I’ll stay FAR AWAY from the fabricas of Talavera pottery (NOT!) and Jamie will ride and ride the beautiful mountains. We’ll then head to San Luis Potosi and spend a few nights there and then to Zacatecas. Not sure how long we’ll be in Zacatecas but it shouldn’t matter as the next vehicle policy we get will be a YEAR long one. Not making a short time mistake again. It will also cover us when we come back next winter.
Today we were going to visit some local balnearios but the kids have really needed a long morning just playing and not going anywhere, so Jamie is riding and we’ll meet him in San Miguel de Allende. I’m taking the opportunity to copy “A Short History of the World” and “Tom Sawyer” to CD and then to tape for traveling.