To get from Bernal to Guanajuato we had to drive through Queretaro and then San Miguel Allende – which were the next stops on our trip. You can’t see Queretaro downtown from the highway, only the new town. which is endless, but you can see San Miguel from a high point:
The whole drive was about 190 km, a little over 100 miles. It took us 4 h. On the way we stopped in Dolores Hidalgo, a small town with a big church, as usual here:
From this town their hero priest Hidalgo started his fight against Spanish oppressors. He is shown in monuments and frescoes in Mexico, everywhere. But Dolores was not his first name, as it can be mistakenly assumed.
We got to Guanajuato not so late, before 4 pm. But it was Saturday and so many cars in the hotel parking lot, hardly found a spot…They told us that lots of Mexicans come to Guanajuato on weekends, because the town is so cute. So we settled in hotel Socavon (highly recommend, but better on weekdays):
Speaking about hotel Socavon – it has a good restaurant . You get breakfast there and also you can come and order good dinner. The rooms are also nice and comfortable, it has that inner garden with lots of plants and morning doves, which are not my favorites :-). The only shortcoming is that the walls are thin. So Saturday eve was not so quiet – Mexicans travel with lots of kids and it is normal for them to make noise. But on Sundays they leave and it is very quiet and peaceful. I have to mention. too, that we noticed very very few tourists like us. It seems that the weather is the best to go to the Colonial Heartland in winter. Who knows why…
The first evening we went for a walk without preparation. By that I mean we just walked to the direction of downtown, which seemed already there and instead of turning left we turned right. And that made a big difference, which is strange. Guanajuato is like in the bottom of a goblet. All surrounded with naked hills or mountains, that are not high. You just feel that they are around because you are in the bottom and see colorful houses climbing on their slopes. But that afternoon was cloudy, plus – so many sad and tired people going home and waiting for buses in the center, nothing very special on that right side of town and those tunnels with their scary dark openings also here and there. There is an entire underground tunnel world built by engineers at some point in the last century using the natural riverbed. In this way the town doesn’t have a single traffic light. Luckily, our hotel was on the right side of the town so we didn’t need to drive into them. Books tell not to stick our noses there so we didn’t. But people go, park their cars there, wait for buses also down there…
In conclusion that evening for me was disappointing. I thought – why did we come here. As I read – Guanajuato used to be a mining town, therefore it’s architecture is rich. Maybe the clouds and accumulating tiredness added to our disappointment at first glance . There was even a strong but short rain that night. Luckily the next day was almost sunny and once we took the left direction – the beauty of the town unfolded in full:
This is the university – pretty high stairs the students have to climb every day. We were too lazy…
The nice aspect of Guanajuato is that it has many museums. We were running through them like crazy, but managed to see only 5. Still – 5 was a lot. First we saw the museum in the Fortress, where there is Indian art, Colonial art and also memorials to their heroes. Bustos – an artist who was painting small but very detailed and atmospheric portraits was my favorite. Also – there were some ex-votos -the primitive paintings done in case of someone got healed, etc., the ones that Frida and Diego were collecting. here is am example how they look:
Then the Pueblo museum which had folk art, tiny tiny and also lots of Colonial art and contemporary, too:
Last was Don Quixote Iconography museum, which started from some Spanish man who gave his collection of art depicting Don Quixote, and now the collection grows. It is pleasant, impressive enough and worth visiting. The only disappointment -books say that there should be one painting by Dali and one by Picasso – none of them were there…
With whatever energy we had left in us we walked up the narrow lanes and streets and took pictures. Up to the “Beso” lane – ” A Kiss” -which has some strange legend about it and it is really narrow. This seemed to be the most crowded lane,too:
The town has a very beautiful Theater. They say there are good concerts and plays there, but we were short of time. So I would suggest to stay longer in Guanajuato than 1 day, but maybe not longer that 3. It is a photographer’s paradise, it is a wanderer’s Eden.
Here are the fruits boiled in a lot of sugar, very sweet, too sweet, but limes had the citrus flavor so they were the best:
One more peculiar thing: in the main Cathedral there is a statue of Madonna, and it is stationed on a silver pedestal – hard to see behind the glass, but still. Silver was the main mineral mined in surrounding hills, so here it is: