Colonial Cities, Part 1

After two pleasantly cool nights with just a few mosquitoes, we set off for the second largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara. We settled into a nice, green RV Park on the edge of the city and took the bus into the center, where there are ever so many big, beautiful buildings and public squares with fountains. The atmosphere as we walked around was surprisingly relaxed, but riding in the buses, in contrast, was quite exciting.  The bus drivers race along the narrow one-way streets, and you can only recognize the bus stops by the groups of people waiting there. If you ask the driver about the stop you want to get off at, he looks around uncertainly as if that might now even be along his route. We got the impression that the drivers often didn’t know exactly what quarter they were driving in. Even the people at the tourist information booths seemed to have no idea about all the different lines and destinations. With enough common sense, we found our way to where we wanted to go anyway.
Picture gallery of Guadalajara:

Of course, we couldn’t resist a visit to the nearby city of Tequila, which certainly deserves (and will get) its own report. After that, we spent one more day in Guadalajara before we headed north to Zacatecas, an old silver city with lots of colonial buildings located at an altitude of 8,200 feet (2500m). For the children (and also for us), there were so many highlights. The first day there, we visited the old silver mine “El Eden“, whose amazing abundance of precious metals helped the city to great prosperity between 1586 and 1960. Meanwhile, it hosts, in addition to the old mine galleries, a museum with lots of precious stones from all over the world, and part of the mine serves as a disco on weekends. Then we took the funicular (teleferico) from the hill on one side of the city over to the somewhat higher Cerro de la Bufa on the other side. From there, we had a terrific view of the countless angular houses and narrow streets in the city. The next day, we took a bus tour and continued to discover the city on foot. We were so lucky because it just happened to be the week of the 12th International Festival of Street Theater, so we were able to see a fantastic artistic performance in the lovely evening sun which was also very suspense-packed for the children. Although the city was apparently very well visited, we didn’t notice it. We enjoyed a private tour for the visit to the mine, as well as for the bus tour since there weren’t any other people who joined in. Even at the Cerro de Bufo, there were few open stands, and we slowly got the impression that we were always traveling in the low season in Mexico or that tourism there is suffering drastically.
Picture gallery of Zacatecas:

Along the streets in the cities, there are enormous ficus trees, which are actually familiar in living rooms in Germany, where they are famous for losing their leaves. Baby carriages and buggies are hardly ever seen since babies are always carried and covered with a warm blanket and wear wool hats at temperatures below 77°F (25°C). It’s no wonder that Mexicans always say that Germany is too cold for them. Our children are running around in t-shirts while the little Mexicans are already packed in warm winter jackets.

For almost a week, we have been in San Luis Potosi, where we have been invited to stay with friends. At first, we planned to spend just a few days here, but our friend Robert has organized a language course for us at his house, so Max and I can learn Spanish three hours a day a week long. The children are going to daycare while we have lessons, a whole new experience for them, and they are enjoying it. Of course, we have also been able to see a lot of the city, which has very little tourism and is typically Mexican. We had a very special experience with a drink called Pulque last Sunday, which you will read about in a special report. This coming weekend, with more advanced skills in Spanish, we will travel on to more adventures.

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