Friday, November 16, 2012


Our next stop, Zacatecas, another of the colonial/silver cities nestled in amongst the mountains. Never pre-determine what something is going to be. I was expecting another city like what we had experienced in Morelia and Guanajuato. It was and it wasn't. Here it was more architecturally invigorating and far less activities oriented. We saw very little in the way of free cultural events but then we were only there for 3 days.

We took a local bus in from the bus station rather than a taxi this time. Very easy, very cheap and an interesting ride through the new and the old. Our bus driver was obviously babysitting as his young daughter stood at the front of the bus, looking very bored. She was braiding and unbraiding a strand of her hair. 

Our hostal was located somewhere behind the cathedral. Where? We sure couldn't tell from the online directions. So we stopped the Tourist Police and the two women actually walked us to it. We would never have found it through the various twists and turns and yes, in behind the cathedral, through a connecting walkway.

 with a very unusual altar although the rest was typical
 and towers built many years apart

A day trip was in order here and we opted to go to Guadalupe, a suburb yet an independent city, on the outskirts of Zacatecas and on the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. Yes, the same road that went all the way to Santa Fe, NM, USA and which took somewhere around 1 1/2 years to travel it's length. Again the bus trip was easy, well easy after we finally found the bus stop. After many turns, many streets and multiple questions for directions, with a stop here and there, we finally found it.  Danny trying one of the local venders of honey mead along the route
Here we toured the one and only major tourist site - the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  This is not only a cathedral but a museum. Unfortunately, after we had paid our entrance fee, we discovered that various parts of the multi-focal museum were closed. We did however, get to see the fabulous murals depicting St Francis of Assisi's life 
as well as the cathedral itself.
 is this not reminiscent of the various missions in the US?
 wouldn't this make a wonderful quilting motif?

Touring the city, we saw a multitude of different, yet similar architecture as well as statues:
 compare this theatre with the one in Guanajuato


 love the locally mined pink stone

 flying buttresses but with a twist - some of these have been filled in to make extra rooms in a now defunct church.

 this aqueduct had flying buttresses attached to it as well.
 the city water tap was actually at the base of this statue. Now, what did that guide say about the significance of the stance of the horse? I can't remember!

 many examples of what is called Mexican Baroque

 modern art in the park

 and what would a "Silver City" be without a silver mine? Zacatecas, like Guanajuato, has a mine right within the confines of the city and we thought that we could walk to it as the map indicated only a few streets away. Yes, well, that was true if only we had realized that only the major streets were on the map and that the area that we were going to was all uphill.  And when we found ourselves where we wanted to go, we had to turn around and go down many flights to get to the mine.
 a museum and a tour in a non-working mine

  tour transportation

 old miner greeting the visitors - rub his belly for good luck they say (sounds a lot like what you do with Buddha)

There were many dioramas telling the story 

 down in the mine

 and they weren't shy about displaying the bad along with the good.
But the most amazing thing was what else was there, down in the mine - a discotheque with a glass (?plexiglass) floor over an open mining shaft/pit and a "conjugal room" rented by the hour with a bed carved out of the rock.

Food - have I talked about food yet? Oh yes, I mentioned the walking tacos but ... here in Zacatecas we probably had the best gourmet meal that we have had since Europe. The restaurant was a small one, tucked away on a side street, with food to die for. Lucky Luciano's is a feast for the eyes as well as for the taste buds. Juan, the chef, was trained in Belgium and he brought that continental flair back with him. He originally worked out of the Cancun restaurant, going all over the world but has now come home to stay in Zacatecas. As for the eyes, there is more than the wonder of the food - Juan has been collecting art from around the world and has hung it all in his restaurant. Every conceivable inch is covered.

This was not one of my favorite cities but I can't tell you why. Will Querétaro (I am having a very hard time pronouncing this) be different? We shall see ...