Monday, July 17, 2006

Down to the final goal, Zacatecas vs. Guanajuato

I drove into Zacatecas (or rather, around Zacatecas, as driving through the middle would have brought us a large fine) fully expecting to fall in love. I felt somewhat guilty, betraying my beloved Guanajuato, but all I’d read prepared me to fall head over heels. We rolled up and up and up the libramiento through the late afternoon, winding around the flat hills of Zacatecas. While the famous Bufa and Gallilo (right?) hills that rise above the gorge that is Zacatecas old town are large mountains, the surrounding mountains and hills just don’t have the same glory that Guanajuato has. We are higher, but the mountains seem flatter. After dropping the trailer and getting dinner, Jamie and I found we had the same feeling of let-down; the drive around Zacatecas was not sufficient to sway us from our beloved Guanajuato.

Yesterday we decided we HAD to find out what everyone raved about and headed into town. It is truly, a very picturesque city. I don’t understand why it is supposed to be less “touristy” than many other towns, it actually seems MORE touristy than Guanajuato. It is certainly prettier, with many more colonial aspects and definitely less crowded, as it sprawls much further than Guanajuato. I’m certainly not dissapointed, but Guanajuato reins supreme for me. Jamie has gone over to the dark side; he loves the less crowded Zacatecas and the incredible colonial buildings. And the buildings and churches are indescribably gorgeous. But little (by comparison) Guanajuato, with only 2 streets reserved for cars; the rest too tiny and steep for even the smallest of clown cars, still has my heart.

We began the day at the El Eden mine; named by the Spaniards (in English? maybe my translation isn’t so good) as a paradise after discovering the silver and gold it contained. We dropped down to the 5th level of the mine and were able to walk through and gaze up at the massive holes picked and shoveled by the Chichimeca enslaved by the Spaniards. The entire mine, and we were 326 feet down, had been excavated by hand until 1900 when they began to use explosives. There is a monument to the laborers in the form of a tool, early into the mine. It was a little difficult to translate; I wish the guide had slowed down a bit so I could have gotten more, but it was a good experience for all. Everyone else on the tour was Mexican; many on vacation, proving that we are deep into the Mexican vacation month.

We managed to simultaneously starve the children and wander the old town of Zacatecas before finding the only reasonable restaurant open on a Sunday. This town takes its Sunday rest very seriously and almost each and every shop was closed down tight. The kids are dying to take the teleferico (goldola) across the two peaks, and there are a couple museums they’re dying to get dragged around to, protesting the injustice of it all the entire way.

No comments:

Post a Comment