Mexico 2014 – Hot Springs and Mining towns

All things come to an end, we left Queretaro and headed again towards Tequisquapan, where we have already been. This time we were heading past T. to hot springs El Geiser?? – they are not by the main road. We had to turn right and drive 30 km on a small very desolate road, no cars or villages, just big cacti. Very big and impressive, and baren hills around, until we reached a valley and drove down into its bottom -to a?? resort , which was?? several hotels surrounding a pool area, all nice and comfy, and the only geyser in Mexico – harnessed into two pipes and throwing hot water and steam. The price to enter is 100 pesos and you can stay that day and the next morning:WP_20141219_050

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The spaces around warm pools were dotted with tents! That was peculiar.?? Lots of Mexican families come to have fun there, they bring their foods and are permitted to put a tent for the night.They seemed to be very neat and tidy!:

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It is nice to see places in Mexico where locals are having fun and spending their vacations or weekends. Versus Gringos…as is by the sea where we went last time. I spent quite a while with them in the Geyser steam and enjoyed their companionship. Their kids were behaving rather well. The steam from the geyser comes in portions – it’s stronger shoot is followed?? by a weaker one, and you have to go back and forth while trying to keep the heat constant. If you go away from the steam – it gets cold in the air, if you stay deeper in the chambers built for that reason – you can get too hot, dangerous.?? The steam smelled sulfur a little, amazing!WP_20141219_038 - Copy

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After getting clean and healthy we drove?? app. 12 km to Tecozautla – a small town in that area, far from main roads. The hotel Aquazul we stayed at was new , spacious, but lacked furniture to put stuff on. Maybe because it was new. But that was not a problem. The problem was a dog behind our windows who was barking at night for maybe 2 hours straight…it is a sad story about dogs in Mexico. You see little Chihuahuas?? beloved and dressed up, and you see packs of breed dogs running with their stomachs empty and you see many dogs tied on ropes. This was the case in the yard by the hotel – a nice bulldog tied to a shot rope, how sad and desperate he gets. No one seemed to care about him…Tecozautla itself had a downtown, with a couple of restaurants and a couple of churches:WP_20141219_056

WP_20141219_060and a dancing doctor, advertising maybe the services of a doctor, we were not sure:

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But all in all – it is better to stay in one of the hotels by El Geiser and not drive to this town at all. Better not to take the road we took the next day to cut through faster towards Ixmilquiapan. First of all – it was very hard to find the road out of Tecozautla- GPS was confused and sent us to a dirt road and then to dead end. We tried to figure out by just going south and trying roads and we found even like a state park – a sanctuary of their flora:WP_20141220_002

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WP_20141220_005Most part of that road was cobbled stones…There was a part where we were not sure if we manage to pass, needless to say there we no other cars on it and we felt scared. It took us 1 h to drive 26 km without stopping – I didn’t feel safe enough to stop and walk around which would be wonderful among those cacti! At last we saw some villages which meant we were close to the main road:WP_20141220_006

WP_20141220_009Speaking about agave?? -they are big, and sometimes them , sometimes cacti are used as fences. And the product they make from them – is really cheap :-). But we didn’t see any drunk people while there…

Driving on a main road towards and past Ixmilquiapan was much easier. but the road is not tolled, which basically means that there are intersections and ‘topes” all along and you can’t have any speed. Worth mentioning that there are many Hot Springs along that road – Balnearios as they call in Spanish – on the north side of Ixm. But we had no time for them. Or next stop was Actopan – a town known for its big church and monastery. The church itself was nothing very special:WP_20141220_013 - Copybut by the side of it there was a big arch – and the frescoes on it were amazing!

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Here you can see Adam and Eve by a tree with the serpent, and the scenes of expulsion:

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After the short visit we again hit the road and drove to Pachuca, a mining area center and the capital of Hidalgo state:

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It is a big city, lots of traffic to get into the center and after working on our patience a lot to get through, we lost the battle and stopped in the nearest spot we managed to park. It was a block form the central square which has?? a Clock tower built by Big Ben builders:WP_20141221_004High above all buildings we saw a sign Hotel de los Banos – and went to see if they really have toilets :-). Because up till now on our trip “banos”ment “toilets”. While we checked it we figured out it is good enough for us and stayed the night. Just were too late to eat in their buffet – it seemed good , lots of happy people eating in the lobby, but we took care of the car first and were late. The good thing about Pachuca was that there was a Huapango dance festival. A [picture of dancers wouldn’t play any role, you’d have to see the dancers! I guess there was some sort of competition. there were judges and maybe three musical groups, because one would get too exhausted to sing and play for two days non stop! The dancers were some very young, some older, different groups and from different regions – based on the girl’s hairdo.?? Some had very long braids, some had no braids but hair all wrapped around their colorful “head-bagel”. All very colorful and very seriously trying to do their best. When you think – it was only one dance, but the audience was sitting like glued to their chairs for hours1 I was watching on and off for 8 hours?? – it didn’t end…I wanted to see who won, but had to resort to rest before they declared. the dance is very elaborate-?? it has two parts- one is slow and dancers walk or turn around each other sometimes with their noses touching. Then there is that very fast part when they they work very hard and fast with their feet, beating the floor and the rhythm is amazing! It can get you into a trance! They hit he floor so hard. that at some point the venue was stopped to change part of the floors, they broke the boards! The girls mostly were very colorful and their clothes were nice and national, but their make up…it was so much too much – especially the kid-girls. Their eyelashes were freaking long, their eye shadows were shining and bright colors from far away -that I haven’t seen before – like on some “super dolls”. But I hope they will learn :-).

So in between watching a walked a little in Pachuca, was not mesmerized by it as in other places we visited, but there were still spots of creativity:

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WP_20141221_002 - CopyThe last one is the nativity scene in our hotel – isn’t cute-?? baby Jesus is still not there, it was before Christmas, and a pig with a bunch of piglets sucking here in the fore front . Those Mexicans’ – they never stopped amusing me! Even in details :-).

The next morning the traffic jams were gone and after seeing the Mining museum in Pachuca (it is good and is the first museum I saw chemical formulas written under each mineral they had mined there) we drove up the mountains to see Mineral del Monte – or Real del Monte – it has two names.?? Books were recommending to see it-?? it is known not only for its mining past but also a Cornish community – they came all the way from England to work in the mines and introduced “Pastes”???? -baked cakes with different fillings, and Football. The real football game, when a ball is kicked with feet only, not this very strange fighting thing American socker. And from then on Mexico is having really good football teams. Not only that – I stopped to see what is there in a Museum of Pastes?? -the lady explained that once you enter – you make your own paste and while waiting for it to bake- you walk om an excursion about how its history here was, but the excursion was in Spanish…So I didn’t go. Just saw a big picture of Prince Charles and Camilla?? making pastes-?? evidently they visited this corner of Mexico just several weeks ago and visited the museum! I think it is peculiar that they visit places somehow connected to England – of all the places they have opportunities to visit. Somehow we didn’t take too many pictures of Mineral del Monte. I bet we were already tired of intensive sightseeing. So here is one:

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One more post is left – it will be about Teotichuacan -the Pyramids!

 

 

 

 

 

Mexico 2014 – Queretaro

Because those three cities are so close together, we didn’t rush in the morning to Queretaro, but still enjoyed San Miguel a little, drove to Aurora, then to see the hot springs, which are within 15 km distance. More famous La Gruta is by the highway. but it is tricky to notice t. we had to turn around for several times until we got there – GPS was of no help?? :-). The price is 110 pesos and there are some pools and that famous tunnel with the light coming from its roof and making the “underground’ river very blue. But the grounds seems not so big as the Escondido ones. The latter was maybe a mile or two from the highway. almost the same exit, right by a drive to Shangri La – a fancy resort. Escondido is a big park with ponds and ponds and one filled with water lilies and a lotus! They also have a small under-roof tunnel, but it didn’t appeal to us much . The price was 120 pesos. And there were people enjoying the healing waters, no hope for solitude :-). But the main goal for us on that drive was to see the sanctuary of Atotonilco, a previous monastery, now just a church. (you don’t need a car to get there – a micro bus runs from San Miguel). It has an interesting story and is known for its amazing frescoes. Highly recommend! But I will show here only the paintings on its doors, that are especially appealing to me:WP_20141217_025

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There is a perfect highway around San Miguel, we drove it on our way to Guanajuato. But no, our GPS lady set us through the center of town?? – through tiny streets, up steep hills, it was scary. Especially before joining the highway again – we are standing on a 60 degree angle by a busy highway and the “lady” screams to us – turn left! Sorry, we are not listening to you, “lady”, any more!

It is only 70 km to Queretaro. The drive was fine, but once we got to Queretaro – it is huge! – we again switched to GPS “lady” and again she betrayed us…She got us into small one way streets ways away from where we needed to go, and so we had to figure our where we were and “do it yourself” to the very center and?? to “our” the street 16 de Septembre. Luckily – there was a parking space in the street, close to the house or more exactly?? – to the gate. This time we also rented through Air B&B, her name is Grace Walker and she is also Feldencrais practitioner. It is her home, not a hotel, she just rents one room with a bathroom. A very comfortable one. The entrance is from the inner garden, as always. There was also the roof for sitting and looking – but the stairs run through her living quarters, so we didn’t use it:

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That same evening we went out for a walk and for a dinner, and enjoyed the lively city. It was the most elegant city we saw so far. As everywhere – lots of churches, but they looked a little different, especially this one:

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There were several sculptures, several colonial streets – as if like in San Miguel, but not at all:

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We passed several squares, with Christmas decorations( how without them?), though I would have wished there was none :-). Lots of colorful people, Natives and Spanish,?? all a very colorful crowd:

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Creativity is on every step and emanates even from some plastic chairs :

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Lots of music here and there, and clowns doing their shows on available spaces. Not so many restaurants as in San Miguel, but enough. Not so many “pastes” shops as in Mexico city. But we found two :-). Only two. We used pastes for breakfast. And here is the ultimate picture of Queretaro – so I called it:

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On our way we saw an interesting Theater – Cinema. There was an ad about an Expressive Dance concert tonight. So we tried to find out?? – where to buy tickets and are there still tickets left…No way, we couldn’t understand nothing whatsoever what they said to us – I even tried to show with my fingers and body that we want to come to the concert – will there be tickets?-?? I mean I played the scene, but they were turning their heads as if saying “no”…Maybe because I never studied drama. So we went home, rested a little and decided to go for a risk and come back to the theater just before the show – maybe someone can’t come and will sell us the tickets. But there was scarcely anybody. So we bought them and went in?? -very few people were waiting for the show to start – and then it started, it was something about wars or revolutions, they showed terrifying scenes from different wars and world miseries and then the movies ended and 5 girls danced very expressively, expressing?? pain and suffering, also friendship -?? the choreography was original, some movements not seen before, the girls were good, but it all lasted 20 min only. So we sat and waited for the second part – no more, that was it…Those other people in the hall were all friends and family of the girls :-). Well, another experience. On the way back we stopped in an exhibit opening – Poetica Urbana – but the artist was so modest, that I couldn’t see his name well and maybe I saw at some point or not – I forgot. He is a very good artist, quite different that the ones in the rich Aurora factory. In fact, I liked him so much that we spent a long time enjoying each painting and also?? the dashingly beautiful crowd of art lovers:

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Queretaro has a totally different atmosphere that the previous two cities. Having spent so little time there maybe it is not fair to judge, but it seemed more of a real Mexican city with lots of high culture, not oriented towards tourists. But, their Art museum is not so impressive, the collection is small, only the building left a memory:

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Close by there is an Art Garden – maybe they some events there, but?? besides this cute fountain -lady(the water feature was not on) there was nothing more, just a quiet garden. The top picture shows how small the lady is and looks very sad, as if some rape victim…:

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Then ther eis a big square and Church Santa Cruz -worth visiting. They have some nice restaurants, antique shops and a very good pastry shop – all on the left side of the square, if facing the church. Here are some views of the square:

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WP_20141218_018Behind the church the street was being fixed, but passable. You reach an edge of the plateau – and see the city stretching far far away, and especially?? – their famous historical aqua-viaduct, as if the longest in Americas:

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As I said – you walk behind the church and you see it like this?? with “poetic” lines?? -I woder who fixes them and do they understand what they are doing when they have to fix them:

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Here is their Pantheon with a little chapel and the sculptures of their main heroes:

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And here is one more decor on the streets:

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Mexico 2014 – San Miguel de Allende

I already forgot, who is this town named for…but definitely not for the Chilean president :-). It is an amazing town, the town of long colorful and slightly downhill streets and very impressive doors.?? I will have to make a separate post only for doors. Everywhere we went in Mexico – we saw nice doors, took pictures. But they were scarce, the one worth picture taking. Whereas?? in San Miguel – every door was worth taking a picture…they were different and elaborate. So here are some of the long leaning streets:

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DSCF1451We came and walked and walked in those streets…Not so extremely comfortable for walking. because they are cobbled and not very wide, cars zooming here and there, but for the eyes – it was a paradise. No wonder it is a very populated town by Gringos. And therefore lots of shops catered to them and run by them. Like this designer shoppe:

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And the prices are also catered for the rich Americans. And the restaurants and hotels – everything there is “high class”. So I wonder how do those poor Mexicans feel surrounded and serving all that pompous life…What can they do. They just make and decorate an altar for their beloved Madonna with an abundance of real live flowers every other step in their markets and feel happy:

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There is an Art Academy established in an old monastery, where Siqueiros was teaching?? – and here is a fresco he made with his students -the whole monastery hall is given to it. The peculiar thing- it can be visited any time, no ticket, and?? they have a guard sitting and being so bored, just looking after that fresco…I wish I never have to end up doing such a job.

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San Miguel is also full of churches and has a few squares. Its churches are very distinct, some have Indian elements included in their exterior, one of them has some similarities to Sagrada Familia in Barcelona:

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We stayed in Casa de Los Soles, right in the center of town, right by the Crafts Market (the sign is on a half round plack on the roof – hard to notice). Our Casa had several apartments facing a super clean inner yard and lots and lots of Suns – Soles. Is there anywhere in the world that there would be more Suns in one place?

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Oh this inner yard…a maid was washing the floor tiles every morning with soap water…

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Angry, colorful, happy, indifferent, suns-girls, suns-men, suns -creatures, suns-smiling, suns-crying, suns-flowers, suns-whatever…:-) And also both buildings of the Casa had lounges on the roofs, where guests can sit and enjoy sunsets, church-roofs, can even eat there, have fun and still be surrounded with suns:

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DSCF1402What a sunny place! But they cared about us guests super well! Though nobody spoke English almost at all :-), but we managed to get along. The apartment had a living room area connected with full kitchen, a spacious bedroom with super big bed, a nice bathroom, a lot of places to put our stuff, very comfortable, decorated with real art. I think it was the best place of all our stays in Mexico, and i would highly recommend it. We found it through Air B&B, but you can find it directly, too. They also provide a free parking. And every day left us items for breakfast:

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WP_20141217_002And only because we had that kitchen and because we like going to the market, we cooked some vegetables there:

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Oh I wish we came there to stay…But for only 2 nights. Well, next time we will stay longer. We met a couple from Seattle?? -they ran from their rainy weather for 6 weeks and rented a house of which there is plenty – a house with a maid! I don’t think I’d like it much but people do :-). As I mentioned-?? everything there is catered fro rich snowbirds. And therefore it is easier to get around – lots of?? English language. But our owner managed to say to us that that evening there was?? a special celebration – it was a week before Christmas and they were celebrating St. Mary sitting on a donkey and St. Joseph by her side – walking to Bethlehem to give birth to Jesus. I am sorry I didn’t take the picture of an decor our hosts were making the whole day – at first two of them then another came to advice…it was a board and on it a branch of a fur tree and two figures on it, nothing special to mi mind, just a kitsch composition. They took it to a room somewhere in that street and gathered there for a prayer a I understood – all men. women and especially children. A very family oriented country, good! While we were not patient enough to pray with them. we walked around the illuminated city and listened to mariachi songs, even walked with them in some kind of parade. Maybe it was also for the same occasion…The church closest to us was especially strange-?? the door was locked, but a boy was watching into the light through it – being curious I peeked, too. Mexicans were walking around and around inside singing some songs. I guess they are so tired of tourists walking in their churches and disturbing their celebrations, that they locked the doors, good!

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Here are the first churches and plaza once we came from our Casa. There were tent with many many puancetias for sale – I guess it is a big fashion to have theme during Christmas season…While I much prefered the ones that grow there for many years – not the little seedlings with artificially induced red tops. But – a fashion is a fashion and it pushes the economy forward. But it made me think – why do we think it is beautiful what everyone considers beautiful. Is it really we feel that beauty, or understand it with reason?? -or we do what others is doing without giving it a thought or feel…

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THis kind of art – I gues sthey call it Colonial – I just loved it…It is mostly in churches, but also in the museums. This particulat was in the church:DSCF1419

 

 

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Being located so close to the Craft Market is not good for me… :-)I can’t deal with that – I can’t stop myself from going there, admiring the crafts they are selling and ending up buying more than I need or have walls to put on. And they are selling all sorts of things, I even found some ex-votos,?? fake or coppied?? ones, but still?? -they looked like real. This time I couldn’t pass by this carpet on the?? right:DSCF1415And again?? -more and more of the beautiful streets:

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There is a big park on one end of the town, where kids play all kinds of games,?? and a big Art-factory – Aurora on the other – all withing walking distance. Aurora is?? an old manufacture plant, all renewed and super clean and neat and modern. But we left it for next time. Just ran around, petted a puppy, saw how many Gringo artists are having their fancy studios-galleries and left. Too much art. So much, that i couldn’t notice any piece that would be lovable at all…Maybe next time. This time I was more tuned into Mexican colors and?? creativity. We left with a curiosity – who is buying all that art? When we were there – not very many tourists…

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Next day – heading to Queretaro.

 

 

 

Mexico 2014 – Guanajuato

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:

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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:

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WP_20141213_017Here are some views of the town square:

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WP_20141213_025From 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):WP_20141214_001

WP_20141213_030Speaking 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…

WP_20141213_031The 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…

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WP_20141214_165 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:

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This is the university – pretty high stairs the students have to climb every day. We were too lazy…

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WP_20141214_084The 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:

WP_20141214_010Then we came to?? the house were Diego Riviera was born and grew up:

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Diego was so multifaceted – in each museum you can find his paintings in completely different style:WP_20141214_028

WP_20141214_033Then the contemporary art gallery:

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Then the Pueblo museum which had folk art, tiny tiny and also lots of Colonial art and contemporary, too:

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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…

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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:

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WP_20141214_128The 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.

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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:

WP_20141215_030One 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:

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Mexico 2014 – Bernal & Tequisquapan

So that was it – we said bye bye to Mexico City, walked once more through the central pedestrian street:

WP_20141211_002and then took a bus to the airport Terminal 1, from there to the car rental place. Note – this part maybe interesting only for those who plan to rent a car in Mexico. Renting a car there is a little strange. Andrei spent no less than 2 hours analyzing their policies and matching with our needs. He reserved a car in?? National company, but when we came to them – they had no small car. The price that he found in the internet?? was far from the price they were offering us – it went up from $30/ per day to $38. After some negotiation they found us another rental company, the European, and we agreed on a price of $36, but when things reached the contract signing part -?? it was the insurance that we didn’t agree upon. They didn’t want us to use the optional insurance that AmEx is providing free of charge if you use their card. So we ended up leaving their place and walking to Avis close by (luckily they are all close by on the same street) and getting good service and a pleasant feeling there. We got a red small Chevrolet for $31/ day, insurance included. There are several types of insurance that one has to pay. Americans who enter Mexico with their cars also have to pay certain insurance, But part of it can by applied to AmEx, which is why you want to have that card. It is useful for travelers. All in all we were happy and luckily nothing happened, at the end of the trip we returned the red cute thing in order:

WP_20141221_025Another thought about renting a car in Mexico. We had a car while in our previous trip to Yucatan peninsular?? -it was very useful and I would highly recommend. This time in Colonial heartland – I highly doubt that it was a good idea. Yes, we had more comfort. Could park close to where we slept, most of the hotels and apartments had their parking places, could see a little more places. But driving in that congested area was tense. The toll highways are not bad, though with very many trucks and some traffic jams. But the GPS “lady” was not a very good one, she would tell us dubious directions, for example, she would tell us to turn left while we are on the right lane in an intersection, or send us through the middle of a town through tiny streets, versus some easier way around, etc. So we had to work every evening on the internet analyzing the roads and ways to get where we wanted. And our wants were not big – we drove bout 100 km the day of driving. I think our maximum this first day of driving?? was in the area of 250 km – is that a lot? We payed 253 pesos for the tolls and almost 500 pesos for gas that day. It took us 4 hours to do this driving…While driving on toll roads is pretty fast, once you get on any other road?? – you drive like a turtle. Yes, intersections, small streets, but the main problem – those damn?? “topes” or “lying policemen”-you have to stop every 50 m to go through it, all the time. You loose interest in driving somewhere further and seeing things…That part of Mexico is disgusting and?? I am not ashamed to use this word. Do they not have enough police, are they so disobedient to the law and don’t want to follow speed restrictions, I have no clue. And still – with those “topes” on roads -there are so many cats and dogs killed on their roads…Sad.

Here is another reason not to drive a car in the mainland. Consider me a little paranoid,?? but when you hear locals warning you not to drive here and there because of their mafia… The legal system is broken there, the law enforcement is also not very reliable. And we are just tourists with no Spanish, driving sometimes on roads in very remote areas. While most of Mexicans told me the area we covered is the only one not dangerous in that part of the country, but I still felt unsafe each time we were in the car, only in the cities I felt safe. Though I should be fare -?? nothing bad happened, not even close, we never got stopped, but as this blog is about giving advices to other travelers-?? I feel an obligation to share my feelings. I also want to share an advice given to me by a guy from Oaxaca?? -when I asked if he thinks it is dangerous there, for our next trip – he said you get what you ask for. You go with your energy you emanate and if you are afraid, if you expect bad things to happen – then you will get them. If not-?? everything will be fine and you will see wonderful things! To tell the truth?? – I worked a lot on myself to try to be in good energy and invite the good one, too :-). I guess it worked.

So here it took us 2 hours to rent the car and 4 hours to drive those 250 km, which is around 180 miles – and we found ourselves up a hill after passing a small cute town streets of Bernal. It was already getting dark, so we only saw a little of a really beautiful La Pena?? -the third biggest monolith in the world. But we found our hotel called Casa Celia easily and here how it looks:

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DSCF1268It is up the hill towards La Pena hiking trail-head. Breakfast is included and they serve good food! The owner also owns a restaurant downtown, but he keeps it open only on weekends.?? He showed us his restaurant, it has an extremely old and big tree?? and good views as well as most places in Bernal:

DSCF1330The first evening we went out to get some dinner and witnessed an impressive procession that carried me far back into F. Felini’s times, when we were admiring his movies and this one was “8 and 1/2”. Very very impressive – some lights shining in a dark pebbled street, and here is a pipe orchestra coming headed by that big wide and funny pipe. And then some people with church flags, some dressed in white girls carrying the statue of St Mary of Guadelupa, then some walking behind their trucks following one after another and carrying very decorated with flowers and colors a picture of Guadelupa in each. We guessed that every family from this town has their most beloved Mary in their house and tonight was the night when St. Mary got a ride and “went” to see the world and her home -the church and get some energy from the worshipers. Consequently all those paintings were carried to the church in great honor and the church filled up. We couldn’t understand much. only when people were praying:

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So we walked and enjoyed the town. Next day we climbed to La Pena – of course not to the top, only part of it. The top is for rope climbers.?? Cacti that grow at the bottom and the red flowers, similar to Calancoe – were most impressive.(And a lot of not bad properties for sale there :-):

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Here was an expected carved bush – like an elephant. Mexicans left an impression of very artistic people:DSCF1275Then we spent some time in downtown and payed pretty much for parking our car in an empty yard…Got a lesson – though there were plenty of places to park in ta side street, we thought it will be less hazard for other cars to drive if we parked in what seemed a big empty yard. Nobody was there. But when we came in a couple hours?? -there was a man charging for parking. So it goes?? -they are trying of make money form every foot of land there, and maybe that is good. They also sell lots of locally mined minerals – some red opals, lots of others, already polished into different ovals. Here is how we saw Bernal in daylight:

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DSCF1322And here is the restaurant in front of this peculiar house where we ate:

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DSCF1318As there was still enough day-time left we drove to Tequisquapan, half an hour away. Our Mexican guest Angelica suggested to see it. And we were not disappointed. We parked by a big cemetery, then walked to downtown and were not as impressed with the main square, as the surrounding streets and especially some closed for cars district with a guard and such nice properties that we figured out if was were rich people lived. Each house was different – a bouquet of architectural decisions! Cobbled streets and squares, lots of them with a sculpture or a fountain in the middle, somehow imitating some old town plans or even built on one of them. Lots of gates like this:
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To me it seemed like a fairy tale town, with lots of mysterious and happy lives. DSCF1368

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Here we are on a bridge, but the river under it is dry, it is like a river bed all grown with grasses and bushes, plenty of places for kids to play or for adults to go for nature walks.

Here is how other parts of downtown Tequisquapan look. Note that their Church looks completely different from one side versus the other:

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DSCF1340Worth mentioning, that they sell farm made cheese and home made breads, in something similar to our health food stores.One more piece of their creativity:

DSCF1387That evening when we came home to our hotel owner was sitting in the lobby and singing such good nostalgic songs that they reminded me of either Georgian songs or Lithuanian sung by Bards. A nice man the owner is, except that he doesn’t speak a word in English, so come to stay in Casa Celia with a vocabulary. Just a side thought: it is not so hard to be nice in Mexico’s?? hospitality industry – there are so many service people that they can hire and who do such a good job – that it seems one can eat from their floors :-).

After his singing we were heading out again and luckily he showed us the direction – up the hill there was a pool with fountains – and at 7 pm the show started-?? it was an amazing color-music-elaborately dancing fountain show. So impressive that my jaw went down :-). And I have seen many of them in Las Vegas by Bellagio – this one was better. It was 30 min non stop, with bright matching changing colors, very good music pieces, the fountains flowing, but the best part – we could stand immediately by the fountains. The crowd was very slim and we could feel the water and see the show “just for you”. At that time they even lighted La Pena?? -I guess there have to be big lights to light a mountain…

WP_20141212_008Next day we headed to Guanajuata.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mexico 2014 – Mexico City – Part 5, Xochimilco

Books praise the suburb of Xochimilco. It is a marshy land pretty far away on the south-east side of Mexico City, you have to take Metro line 2 to the last stop Tesquena and then transfer to Tren Ligero TL 17 stops to the very end. It takes over an hour. The problem with TL is how to pay for it – there are no cashiers as in metro stations. You have to have a metro card and add money to that card via the machine. We didn’t have the Metro card, so asked a guy to enter our pesos into his card and help us through the gates with it. We got out 3 stops before the end on La Noria. Walk a little back to the intersection and then you already see Dolores Olmedo Patino Museum?? -it is a mansion, an ex-hacienda, all enclosed with high walls. So far it was the most beautiful museum we saw. The ticket is 75 pesos, Tuesdays – free. You enter a huge very well cared park:

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Then there is a house to the right. This time it was like a skeleton Disneyland :-). Lots and lots of them dressed in funny clothes, caught in doing different activities, even Diego’s mural was depicted by them, colorful, joyful, with different music playing in each hall – maybe it should be called Dia de la Muertes art. Created by a French artist, not a Mexican:

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WP_20141209_002Deeper in the park there is the main house, a real mansion, with a chapel from old times and all those inner yards and gardens. One part of the building is Dolores Olmedo’s living quarters, overfilled with riches, decors and statues from the Orient and numerous big photo portraits of her lined up to the ceiling. With different jewelry, different make ups,?? but still, this indicated a pretty big ego.?? Some smaller photos were her with the pope and presidents shaking hands. Only in her bedroom we saw a picture of what seemed her children. So it raised quite a lot of questions. We couldn’t find answers there for obvious reasons, there were no English interpretations, and I could see that the museum workers were not eager to explain who she was, they didn’t feel very proud of her. Only in the evening at home we Googl’ed her and what came out was impressive – this beauty made her big bucks herself, while establishing construction companies, while herself having only music and art education. In her 30ties…She had a husband and 4 children, but the museum is not about them. Diego seems to have been an important friend of hers, therefore she restored parts of Hacienda and made halls for 136 Diego Riviera’s art pieces and only because she knew that Frida’s art is also valuable -?? she gained 25 pieces of hers. That was basically why we decided to visit the museum in the first place. So here they were?? -a?? Mexican Communist party leader and a big capitalist – very good friends or even more. She posed to him naked while still a teenager and that painting is there and it is good. And then he finished his last years of life after he got cancer in her Acapulco mansion. So there is his literally – a line of sunsets on the ocean – Diego could not be just sick, he had to?? paint till the last. There are also several good of his?? self-potraits. What a true artist!?? And Frida-?? Dolores didn’t like her at all, because Frida was a Communist, as if only because of that, cha cha…

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A magnolia flower in an ancient bowl.

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Tiny orchids and a Cala Lilly.

WP_20141209_019The park was full of life -?? dozens of peacocks were mingling around, seemed like some park in England. Dolores liked to have them and also geese and chickens and hairless dogs which are now kept in closed gardens and don’t react to visitors whatsoever – they looked like statues, not real dogs:WP_20141209_017I guess those dogs were in fashion then. Because Frida also kept them and had them in her self portraits.

Another peculiar artist whose works are exposed in one of the halls is Angelina – the Russian lady, who was Diego’s kind of a wife while he lived in Europe – she even gave birth to his child and then in 9 months a cold winter killed the baby -a sad story. Angelina came to Mexico after him, he didn’t recognize her… But Dolores Olmedo was smart enough to collect some of her illustrations and here they are, pretty good, only too small for my aging eyes.

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DSCF1164The gardens are also richly decorated with old Indian statues taken from archeological sites… I wonder – how much art was created by ancient Indians and how many of those pieces landed in private collections…I guess that the bigger part. it is good that Dolores left her collection to the public. She did that because of her mother, who was a university professor and that was hes wish.

We were sorry to leave this Eden, but being so far away we had to rush to see some of Xochimilco. It is a half hour walk on one street, as if the Los Angeles ave., if I remember correctly, and you reach the center, which is nice. Nothing very different than lets say – Coyocan. Maybe not so fancy, no galleries:

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Here I am by the statue of the peasant who saw Maria Guadelupa – the legend goes that she left her image on his shirt:

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Xochimilko is just a real town, with a square, a church and at some point-?? vast marshy lands for which it is known. Books say that there are floating gardens and something like canals or waters around them and there were many Embarcaderos with very colorful boats ready to take tourists for a ride in those waters. They say it is very quiet there. But those are not open waters, not like a lake as we expected, more like canals with houses and houses and trees in between, so it didn’t attract us to do the trip, too slow for us hectic and busy people. One of the boats had a Lithuanian name Dalia. They all had little chairs and a table in the middle – floaters are supposed to eat while floating:

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So we just looked at the boats and left back to the train back home. Here are some street views of Xochimilko:

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WP_20141209_042 We wanted to grab our luggage from the friendly Tea-house where we stayed and rush to the Downtown to another hotel to stay for 2 more nights. This was already taken. Not bad, another experience! Here it is, Casa San Ildefonso, previously a monastery, with lots of charm from old times. Good prices, breakfast included, just in front of Museo de la Luz on a very quiet street?? -what else can one want. The rooms were with very high ceilings, some folk?? art on the walls, 25 canaries in a huge cage in the inner garden where we had breakfast, a lot of rooms for sitting, reading, or even having a meeting. Really?? -a lot of “wasted” rooms as I would label them. I would highly recommend it for staying:

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WP_20141211_004It is also close to a bus stop from where a bus to the airport runs. But again?? -tickets, where to buy them, have no clue…Maybe it would be a good idea to ask in the hotel about where to buy them – we had a little problem with them,?? because we planned to buy them in the bus directly. It is not very easy without Spanish language.

The next day was a lot of walking. We took metro to the very end of?? line 3, got out at the university and walked through it. It is a big peace of land, all dotted with lava pieces and wild flora growing on them, lots of fenced paths and roads, when you go and don’t know- will you manage to get through…They have this strange?? inclination to gate everything. So I wondered-?? was it so dangerous to live there, and why did I feel so safe, or what is the deal. Maybe it is their habit from old times when they were fighting and fighting and having revolutions:

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Those crosses say that students are standing for democracy, liberty and justice.WP_20141210_009

Inside of one of the libraries. Lower is the main library – so exotic from outside but no art inside:WP_20141210_015

This decor to me as if was saying that people come to the university with holes in their knowledge and the university fills them up:WP_20141210_002

From there we walked to San Angel, passed and had lunch in the?? church of Carmen yard:

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The center of San Angel is Plaza Jacinto. It was well worth the effort to go there. A very fancy area, with galleries and restaurants, and beautiful rich houses:

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DSCF1244 At last we reached Diego Riviera’s studio built by considered the most famous Mexican architect whose name I forgot.?? Well, I would argue…but again – it is a matter of taste, and it looks better in photos than in that location:

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Frida had her studio in the smaller blue part and Diego in the white-brown buildong. He even lived there. The bridge between buildings is said was built so that Frida could carry lunch to Diego…I highly doubt it. Her with her leg?? problems?? -you should be an acrobat to climb those little stairs on the side of the blue building and and also the bridge…As the story goes – the restaurant in front of the house provided them with food and that seems true – it looked very fancy.

From there we walked down the slight slope to avenida Revolucion and reached Museo Carrillo Gill. It is very modern, very big spaces, fits well for big paintings by their outstanding muralists.

We still sneaked a little back to Av. Francisko Sosa, walked a little around the district which is so nice and had our last dinner in this outstanding city in the same Fish restaurant we already knew – Mazatlan. And didn’t get disappointed.

 

 

 

 

 

Mexico 2014 – Mexico City – Part 4

So here we got Monday – when all museums are closed…No problem, we took the metro to Basilica de la Guadelupa! (metro stop La Villa-Basilica). In 4 days there had to be the anniversary of Virgin Mary appearing to a poor peasant Jose, so crowds were already there with new ones flocking in…people were coming with bags and food prepared to camp for days on those vast sacred plazas. At the time there were 3 groups dancing some national dance, dressed in colorful clothes, some groups with little flags for distinction looking for a quiet corner to all pray together, lots of people coming with their Virgin of Guadelupa paintings or statues – maybe to get them sanctified…

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We counted 6 churches on the premises. With gardens and butterflies around them. Luckily there was a hill behind the Basilica with another chapel on it, a rather steep hill, so we could climb and look around at the city skyline far away for the first time:

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The peculiar thing about that hill is that it is not very high or big, but so much water was pouring from all sides of it wherever you go?? -it was dripping, flowing, falling in special canals and pipes down to abundant gardens:

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The New Chapel that is built to the left of Basilica was always full, mass was following another mass:

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DSCF1099While the Basilica was almost empty and beautifully decorated-?? a good combination of yellow and white flowers! DSCF1092

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The Basilica’s facade is leaning to the left but camera manages to hide it. However, it didn’t hide the leftovers from 1995 earthquake by another smaller chapel:

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DSCF1119This is a very interesting clock – sun and regular, has Indian decors incorporated, as well as the dancers were using Indian rhythms and feathers:

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Who cares…:-)

DSCF1131As Chapultepec park was closed, we, disappointed returned to the old Town and walked the Regina pedestrian street. A good note-?? there are not so few pedestrian streets in MC, which was good for us, walkers:

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The wall up is made from live plants, there are two bikes attached high up on it – cute! The wall down shows how talented some people are (nice way to hide a rotting house!):

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DSCF1151Talavera street is also for walkers:

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DSCF1153At the end of it with the view of a st Teresa church there is a small eatery -there we had a good vegetable soup several times. They also served different Quesadillas. But what a view while eating!

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Mexico 2014 – Mexico City – Part 3, Coyocan

Our third day the City was Saturday. Sunny as all days were, so we took the metro several stops south on the same line where we lived?? -to General Anaya, to the suburb called Coyocan. From there we headed on a quiet street towards the area where prominent people lived and maybe live. The walk was very pleasant, houses were looking better and better, we came across some plazas and churches here and there, like in?? a small Mexican town. There was a nice museum on our way, evidently it was previously a monastery, but left its visit for next time:

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First bigger stop was Trocky’s casa – where he lived his last years hiding from Staling and still couldn’t manage to escape his plan. Diego Riviera and Frida Kahlo, being devoted Communists, met him in Mexico,?? hosted him in their “casa” and helped him to find and move to his own:

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This is the desk behind which he got a fatal smack with an ax from a trusted friend, who was also hired by Stalin. Not so many trusted friends in Communa-land…:

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Casa’s of Frida Kahlo and Diego Riviera, the two outstanding artists of Mexico, were in our plans next. For the respect of their talents I will not mention peculiar facts about their strange lives…I am sorry for Frida’s pains and sufferings she had because of polio and an accident, and admire her for persistence to paint even while bed-bound. Here is her house, Casa Azul, where Frida was born, where both of them lived for a while, both of them created and collected ancient and not so very ancient pieces of art. It is not permitted to take pictures in the house, so I took some in the gardens:

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They show a documentary movie non stop with Frida and Diego and Frida singing. He was as he is portrayed, fat and not handsome, and Frida was much more attractive than she painted herself in self portraits. Here are some of Diego’s creations – the ones hanging. he made a lot of them. they are now in his studio, where taking pictures is also not permitted. Or maybe permitted fro additional price, i already forgot. The figures on the bottom – are ancient Mexican art pieces:WP_20141206_053

WP_20141206_052Here Frida’s day-bed van be seen through doors upstairs – the mirror is on top of it and they put her death mask draped with a traditional colorful scarf on her bed – it seems she is still there..She really is – hes ashes are in adjacent room in an ancient Indian urn, one from her collection – a useful collection. I should say:

WP_20141206_057A hint – better go to Frida’s house on another day but weekend. Lots and lots of people and tickets are more expensive.

DSCF1008From there through a colorful street, having some rest in an occasional garden:

DSCF1009we reached the Hidalgo square – the essence of Coyocan. There there is a church,?? and a park and performers, mostly clowns, and a girl having her “sweet 15” party and lots and lots of art galleries and restaurants around. This is the place not to go through, but to stay and enjoy:

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But we went through the gate:

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DSCF1016and walked and walked on Avenida Francisco Sosa – so pleasant that we returned there for some more enjoyment in a couple of days:

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There we found a House with gardens for Culture – where couples were training to dance salsa, others playing music, others playing chess, and us only sitting by Frida and Diego:

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DSCF1042We found a Fonoteca, where wonderful Handel was being played in their gardens and nobody was listening:

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DSCF1051we found a museum of Watercolors – in an fancy mansion:

DSCF1053What else can one wish! We did manage to reach an edge of Miguel Angel – another suburb, but left it for another day – it was already enough, and so we ate in Ostioneria Mazatlan on our way to metro station Miguel Angel de Quevedo. It is a chain seafood restaurant, really good, highly recommend! Full of locals, which is a good sign.

I will continue about our adventures the next day, which was Sunday, of which I won’t show a lot because taking pictures is restricted in some museums. On Sundays some of the museums are free. Free or not free -the museum tickets are not expensive in Mexico city, so it is not a big deal, you may not stress to visit many of them on Sundays. More important hint is that on Mondays everythign is closed, even the very big Chatapultepec park! But still the Sunday we were on our quest to see as many as possible. We took metro to the stop Revolution and visited Museo Nacional de San Carlos – it was supposed to have older colonial art, which was good, not a big collection at all:

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Walking back toward the center we saw a long line of dressed in white kids – they were going towards their First Communion – girl’s dresses were way over the top, like little princesses…

WP_20141207_011On the other side of that big street by metro station Hidalgo we?? saw Diego’s very big mural and a museum built specially for it. Impressive, lots of his friends and political figures depicted there:

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Laboratorio Arte Alameda was just interesting for its walls. The art there was worthless in my eyes, an instalation made by some European, fro those who understand :-). But it has changing exhibits, so you may be luckier.?? Museo Nacional de la Estampa was closed, bad, for I wanted to see the outstanding drawings of their artist-caricaturist Posada. What was left?? -Palacio de Bellas Artes – it is in a wonderful location and looks wonderful. I am sure they have wonderful concerts and ballet performances there, too.?? But we saw only Handel’s Messiah, performed on a movie stage by the Palace walls – so many people were enjoying it! Inside the Palace besides their very beautiful interior there are many murals by all those outstanding muralists and exhibition halls of art, so rich, so vivid!

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So that was almost enough.?? After early dinner or lunch we still managed to go through the National Gallery. of which the stairs,doors and ceilings left the biggest impression!

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Then home to rest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mexico 2014 – Mexico City – Part 2

I just read in Lithuanian Delfi.lt newspaper how they describe Mexico: “vibrant, full of contrasts, passionate, friendly and breathing memories of the?? past”?? -I agree fully.

The next day was also very saturated – this was the day when I almost crawled home on my fours, how tired I was…Because we visited the biggest museum of all?? -the Anthropology museum, metro stop Chapultepec. It is a big park, a huge park, lots of fountains and all grounds are well taken care of. There is a botanical park on the way and a museum of Modern Art:

DSCF0941But we had no time for it. Another modern art museum is called Rufino Tamayo, who was one of Mexico’s outstanding fresco painter and evidently he built this museum:

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I expected to see some of his art, even stood in line there and what we got to our astonishment and delight was an exhibit of Yayoi Kusama – a Japanese avant-garde artist, who does different strange things besides being a good artist. She is really “big” and this exhibit is traveling around the world, so it was very useful to see her creations! Lots of installations, of which one was the most impressive?? -a dark room with mirrors filled with lights that change color -?? it creates the feeling of infinity and magic:

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Then there was this room from her period of liking penises…(That is what the notes on walls said) :

DSCF0948Thanks God they took her to a psychiatric ward and healed to the extent taht she started making really good art,?? which?? reminded me of Matisse, big pieces:

DSCF0952Interesting how a person is born creative, evolves through?? many styles and still any of them can’t be called “the one” – she is still changing, creating, singing, playing music, etc… Her personality is really very inspiring!

Close by in the park – there is a pole and we were lucky to see the performers – some strange way of performing – attaching themselves to ropes while high up on a tall pole and little by little while the pole turns around – lowering down to the ground with their heads down all the time -?? not a healthy way, I think, but popular in Mexico:

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And here is the famous Museo de Antropologia, which I would call – too big, too much:

DSCF0993It is its inner garden, the museum halls are around it and there is a lot of them! It has even a pond with natural plants, attracting wildlife:

DSCF0969There are sections of each part of Mexico, each bigger?? Indian tribe – fantastic, so much beauty in one place! So much so, that I couldn’t take it all, had to take some pictures for later “consumption” and sharing with you:

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This is one of their “stars”?? -the Aztec calendar:

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DSCF0956What impressed me a lot, were groups or classes of kids brought by their teachers to get them acquainted with their roots – all the kids were so nice and cute and bright – but the funny part – they were more interested in us, very few foreigners than in what they were shown. They were enthusiastically taking their selfies, taking pictures with some Swedish blond ladies, and wanted to take with me while I had a hard time not managing to communicate with them, no habla Espanol…

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Here is at least one Rufino Tamayo fresco which is in the entrance hall in this museum -two symbols of Mexico – a snake and a leopard, sun and moon, day and night:DSCF0994

It was a peculiar black squirrel that we noticed while walking back through the park:

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Paseo de la Reforma -the skyscraper street starts right by that park, with an agave blooming:

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WP_20141205_018 WP_20141205_019And that was too much for a day 🙂

Mexico 2014 – Mexico City – Part 1

Now I am in love with Mexico. Didn’t expect to get such a good feel from the biggest city in world, as some say…We flew there on December 3rd and planned to stay for 5 days, but extended to 7 and still it was not enough. And I am not a fan of big cities. But Mexico city has not only its bigness, noise, but also some quiet islands that look like rather rich and?? cozy communities with all this colorful colonial architecture, houses-museums,?? small parks and churches and street performers.?? And the museums… an endless number, one better that the other. All the churches are free to enter (unlike in Italy), they are very fancy inside, everywhere in those spaces it is so clean that it makes you feel clean! All in all Mexico city can be a destination on its own.?? There is a street lined by skyscrapers, there are nice parks with fountains and happy people resting on benches, there are concert halls, a variety of nice restaurants and best of all – a very good climate! We were in December and it was a perfect temperature for sightseeing, no rain whatsoever. They say that it never gets very hot and very cold – based on the flora we saw there they definitely have no frosts. Everything was good except for one thing-?? we don’t speak Spanish…And you need at least to understand some. We met several Mexicans, who luckily have spent a year or two illegally in the US and learned some English, good for us :-). But the majority doesn’t speak any English.?? In museums you seldom see information written in English, so I used a Travel guide for Mexico and the internet to find out about what we saw in the museums.

So here it is -a flight form Las Vegas is 3.5 hours only, on Mexican Airlines. Then you buy a taxi ticket in one of many kiosks in the airport?? – you show the address and pay based on the distance (in our case it was 224 pesos). Then you stand in a line for the taxi company you have the ticket (we noticed there are several companies)?? – Mexicans are so good in standing in lines, so patient and orderly. Then your taxi comes and takes you to the very door of your destination. This time it was a room on top of a cafe?? – Tea House?? -right by the metro station Villa Cortez. The owner is Chez and she speaks English. We found the place through Air B&B and were happy about it. All the time you come from the city – there are workers in the cafeteria and they greet you, the feeling was you came home.?? All in all the location is fantastic and there was a very good pastes shop across the square, also- fruit sellers, also?? – some other cafe if that was not enough. On Thursdays they have dancers dancing Aztec dances in the square and you hear the drums all evening long but that is not disturbing. Here is the house, our room was on the right with a balcony:

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The garden wall gad some distinct drawings, looked very modern and the garden had enough greenery and flowers. Here is the view from our window:

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It would be a very big blog if?? described all the museums we visited during those 7 days. But I’ll try to mention the ones that impressed us most. And also to give as much useful travel information. The main point of traveling in Mexico city is the convenience of the metro! I remember getting much more tired in Barcelona, versus here- the stations are in good places, approximately 1 km from each other and a ride costs 5 pesos (we got 13.4 pesos per 1 $ at the time), not bad.?? The place we stayed was about 6 metro stations south from Downtown and its main square Zocalo, on the the same metro line. They were building some constructions I guess for Christmas in Zocalo, so we don’t even have a picture of the whole square, it is so big. We even didn’t take a picture of the Cathedral, for there was no place to stand and get it all. So here is at least the facade of another church by the Cathedral, and then the interior of the Cathedral:

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DSCF0886 How can one not like it!

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And from there we started our walks. The churches and pedestrian streets with some old mansions turned into museums, with their different inner gardens, very cleanly swept so that not a single leaf is lying where it should not, like little oasis with orange groves, you go right and left, never boring, always nice treats for the eyes. The only thing that I think is strange for us, living in mountainous area, is the flatness of the city – you never see more than the street you are at. It is built in place of a lake, so no wonder. Also?? -in most churches a strange feeling would make you feel you are loosing your balance, you feel like thrown to one side – they are leaning…Some do that because of the soft clay under them, the “lake” effect and some, as they mention in books?? -because of that big 1995 earthquake.?? Anyway?? -here is a Leonore Carrington’s sculpture?? -in one of the mansions-museums we entered on Moneda street:

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Jose Luis Cuevas museum and his sculpture -he was a very good artist, lots of good paintings there:

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Yes, that is the name of the street. And this is what they like to have here and there on their streets:

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I guess they are called La Katrinas. We had our Sopa de verdura – vegetable soup overlooking this church in the same Moneda street:DSCF0908

Here is St.Domingo church and square. They have trees growing from their roofs, sad…

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Here we are enjoying the big statue-chair by the bank in this square – never change money there! they give the lowest rate possible. And pay attention to the feet of those beasts:

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Here is the old central post office:

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And here you can see the Cathedral dome and the old Aztec city ruins right in the very center of Mexico city – the old city was on an island in a lake. We ran out of time and didn’t enter the ruin museum…DSCF0916