I left Zacatecas pretty late in the day – right around noon. I didn’t have that many miles to go before I got to my next target – Guanajuato. The day was pretty uneventful until I turned off to Guanajuato. I was in a several mile long traffic jam. They were paving the road, so cars ahead were kicking up a big chunks of asphalt and gravel. I had to keep my facemask closed to keep from getting one in the eye, and I was only going about 30 MPH, so it was damned hot. I only did about 200 miles, if that much, but it was enough.
Coming into Guanajuato was pretty confusing. It’s a city surrounded by tall hills (mountains?) on both sides, with the city running down the middle. To make my introduction worse was the fact that they have a large number of streets that run underground. They paved the old river beds and have used them to funnel traffic through the city. None of the roads go in a straight line, most of them are one way, and I didn’t see one stop light while I was there. Come to find out, it’s a World Heritage City, which means that the city has to be very careful in making any changes, and I think stoplights were part of the changes that were discouraged.
As usual, I can’t find a place to park with my Moto. So after driving the length of the city a couple of times, I decided to head back to a hotel I found earlier. I can’t find it, but I did see a hotel with parking, so I pull up on the sidewalk. I’m tired and kind of annoyed, but the hotel – Hotel Santa Fe seems pretty nice, if a bit expensive. It’s approximately $65/us a night. That’s more than I’m supposed to be spending on this cheap trip through Mexico, but it’s a nice enough place, built circa 1862, and right on the zocalo. For that price they threw in breakfast, a drink in the bar and taxes. I decided to stay for two nights before I’d even parked my bike.
The bed was very nice (king sized) and lovely, lovely, pillows. My room wasn’t on the main square, but on the other size of the hotel, off a somewhat busy street. This wasn’t a problem, as the hotel had the best, quietest (most sound deadining) sliding glass door I’ve ever heard. It shut the noise out completely. Guanajuato, as with most of the places I’ve been since I entered Montana, was pretty high up – it’s 2008 meters, or 6,587 feet.
This was unlike any town I’ve seen in Mexico. It looks a lot like a town that should be in Spain, or France. The Rough Guide says it was “for centuries the wealthiest town in Mexico.” They also say there is more to do here than any city of it’s size in the world. Those are big words, and probably true ones. Diego Rivera was born here, but wasn’t really recognized until after his birth. This was (is?) a conservative town, and Rivera, a Socialist and Marxist wasn’t very popular. He has a small museum, but it’s not one of the largest. There are a ton of museums, so many that I didn’t even try to get even a fraction of them. I think one could spend a week here without seeing everything.
This town was in the Mexican colonial style, as were many of the old mining town in Central Mexico. It made the place beautiful, and since it’s a world heritage city, it’s going to stay that way. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a college town, and the University building itself looks like it could belong to Hogwarts.
The hotel had cable TV, which was pretty nice, since they had a lot of English language movies on. That’s something I’m coming to enjoy. There were a couple of odd movies on TV. One had Shirley Mclaine with a young boy who was a spelling bee champion that would only dress like a girl. Ms. Mclaine has fallen pretty far. They also had Harry Potter on the morning I woke up. I wasn’t able to watch it since it’s a couple of hours long, but I wish I could have. One thing they had that I enjoyed immensely was Olympic bloopers. The first night was funny – it had high divers taking bad dives. The next two nights weren’t so funny. One was guys doing the clean and jerk, where you lift a huge amount of weight over your head. I think the last guy might have broken his hip. I also found out, on free TV, that what we call strippers in America are called ballerina exotic’ in Mexico. Think what that would do for their self esteem? On TV one night they were having, essential, a strip off, as a segment on a variety show. And it looked like all the girls had high self esteem, since they weren’t strippers, they were ballerina exotics.
One thing that is odd, but cool, about Guanajuato is a fascination with Cervantes. Yup, that Cervantes. They have an International Cervantes Festival every year, and the coolest part is year round, the students from the University will dress up as Cervantes era minstrels and perform in troupes. They do it without the slightest bit of pretense or embarrassment. It’s pretty neat – one of the neater things I’ve seen since I’ve been here. And of course, they have a Cervantes museum and statue.
I can’t really describe the town as well as I can show it to you. Please take a look at the pictures, and if you’re ever close – go. You probably won’t be, so I’d even say it’s worth a trip on it’s own. If you visit, you’ll be glad you did.
Follow this LINK for more pictures. Some are duplicates. I’m trying to get this whole thing under control.