Saturday, January 8, 2011
Guanajuato 2nd January 2011
On the way out of town stopped off in Guadeloupe to see the convent which had a rather impressive side chapel and rich rose stone exterior. Heading on we made the mistake of finding ourselves on the pay road that may go straight and true but is also expensive. On the way to Guanajuato we did about 50 miles and it cost us 186 Pesos. It's still the Christmas holidays until the 6/1/11 so the road were crowded with overstuffed cars (number of people) and luggage tied on the roof with a blue flapping tarpaulin over. Nancy purred along and covered the 200 odd miles without missing a beat. Guanajuato is an interesting city. It has no traffic lights and lots of tunnels, some running on the path of old river beds. It is like Durango and Zacatecas in that it was built on the wealth of it's silver and gold mines but unlike the 2 former places it still has working mines on the outskirts of the city. The downside of having lots of tunnels is that it is so easy to get lost. Gertie the GPS has given up the ability to find anything and on entering a tunnel you can exit in a totally different universe, or that is what it seemed at the time. We drove round and round looking for a place to lay our heads that could also accommodate Nancy's needs and although there were plenty of Hotels none had secure parking. We eventually ended up about a mile out of the centre in the La Abadia, opposite the Templo San Javier, an expensive (800 pesos a night) sterile hotel. It seems that the more you pay the less characterful the place has. It costs money to make something bland looking and feeling like every other hotel in that price range. We wandered into town to get something to eat and it started to pour with rain, the first rain we had seen since entering Mexico. Streets were awash and everybody suddenly seemed to vanish as we trudged back to the hotel rather sodden. The next day all had been forgiven and the sun was out again. Guanajuato is much warmer than Zacatecas which makes it a more pleasant temperature to wander about, and there is a lot to see. The university, the Templo de la Compaňia de Jesus, the Basilica de Nuestra Seňora de Guanajuato interior and exterior from the Plaza de la Paz. the magnificent Colonial architecture the templo de San Diego next door to the Teatro Juarez with the sirens on the roof. Courtyards with stained glass roofs, Plazas with fountains alleyways and decorative toilets befitting of a world heritage site. Statues on top of hills to mark the revolution giving beautiful views of the city once the funicular had been ascended. The Mercado Hidalgo bustling with activity and the beautifully painted interior of Templo de Belén while underneath it all is the secret life of the tunnels. The next morning we checked out of the hotel and drove around the Panorámica ring road past the working gold mine Mina de Rayas, distant views of the city, parks with big snakes in, then getting lost in more tunnels, before finding our way out of town and the 60 mile ride towards Dolores Hidalgo and San Miguel de Allende.