Mexico City + Other Mexican Cities

January 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

… 23 days into the new year, and it’s the first day that I find myself just sitting and contemplating the future (as in, the upcoming week), instead of being swept up in the wonderful wave of unexpected adventures and encounters that 2015 has brought with it.

Ten days ago was my birthday, and I celebrated by getting on a plane to Mexico City.  And since then, it’s been a whirlwind of emotions and places, and I’ve been loving every single moment.  I’ve given up trying to understand how life works, and why we end up where we are, and the series of events that lead us there.  So, let’s just begin the narrations.

A friend greeted me at the airport and took me on an extensive evening tour of Mexico City, which might just be the biggest juxtaposition of a city that I have ever seen.

MexicoCityMetro

New next to old, architecture from all over the world (which makes sense, as it seems that everything there is some sort of present from one country or another), sounds and smells that make one’s head spin and tummy crave for every single food cart that you pass.  And there’s a lot of them.

MexicoCityZopato
The next morning, it was time to get up early and battle the seemingly-perpetual traffic jam filling up the entire state of Mexico City.   Time to get in another car and spend another week on the road, exploring little towns and vast nature scenic spots.

We drove north, to the state of Querétaro. The first three days of our road trip consisted of skipping between pueblos mágicos– towns that have been deemed ‘magical villages’ by Mexico’s tourism board in order to promote their uniqueness.  Whether their value is natural, historical, or cultural, these scattered towns are supposed to make you feel like you are in some sort of fairytale.

And they do, and they appear so unexpected on the horizon. Our first stop was Tequisquiapan, where I was treated to my first Mexican breakfast (gorditas) and horchata.  And a town center of colorful houses:

QueretaroLightpost
, and patriotic decorations flying between all of the buildings:

Queretaro
After a leisurely stroll, off to Bernal:

BernalChurch
More empty fountains and bright buildings:

BernalTownSquare

The main attraction of this town is the Peña de Bernal, or the world’s third-largest monolith of rock.  When my travel buddy told me that there is a rock to climb, this wasn’t what I had in mind:

BernalMountain
But, there was lemon ice cream with red wine at the base of the rock for encouragement, and the challenge was enthusiastically accepted.  The hike was a blast, with numerous opportunities for death and great views from the top.  And, these flowers, everywhere:

Then, time to hit up another food market, have another picnic by the town’s zócalo, and get back into the car. Driving west, toward San Miguel de Allende:

SanMigueldeAllende

San Miguel de Allende was a cozy hilltop town with a beautiful main plaza- of which the lounging-in was enhanced by Mexican/Aztec hot chocolate and various flavours of churros.  After a nap and another breakfast fit for a king (fried chicken tortas before 9 AM? At least there are mamey milkshakes and fresh-squeezed orange juice to justify it), it was time to move the culinary celebrations to Guanajuato.

En route, we crossed the beginnings of a desert with all of the stereotypical views of Mexico.  Such as donkeys:

DesertDonkeys

, cows:

DesertCows

 

, rugged fences:

DesertWire

, and horses and cacti and monument huts to the Virgin Mary in the most random spots in the middle of nowhere:

DesertCactusHorse
And then, unexpected and colorful, appeared Guanajuato:

GuanajuatoSunsetVertical

This town is truly magical- as was my experience of it. A former mining town, there are underground tunnels that run below the entire city and are used by both cars and pedestrians. And there are so many cute little plazas, each one more colorful than the other.

Our hostel matched the coziness of the town, situated in a tucked-away plaza and decorated exactly how it should be:

But, the best part was the balcony- which made me feel strangely Parisian.

GuanajuatoBlueSky

Except that instead of the Eiffel Tower, there was a hill of rainbow blocks staggering in front of me:

GuanajuatoSunset

and instead of a lone accordion on some secluded street corner was the chorus of the callejoneadas– groups of musicians and students that wander through the streets, drink wine, sing, and exchange funny stories about the town.

Guanajuato
I could have walked these streets for days, poking my head into every corner.  Like a never-ending labyrinth of vibrant hues:

GuanajuatoBlueWall
, with no shortage of stairs:

GuanajuatoBlueDoor

, and old churches:

GuanajuatoChurch
, and theaters:

GuanajuatoTheaterTwilight

, and cobblestone streets:

GuanajuatoStreet

, and electrical wires between houses:

GuanajuatoWireHouses

24 hours here felt like a lifetime, complete with sunsets and sunrises and a full band playing jazz covers and friends recording bachata songs in the nighttime plaza, and all sorts of yummy treats.  It is definitely one of the most special places that I have ever been to, and a perfect way to wave au revoir to the towns and shift focus to the second half of our roadtrip: nature.

GolondrinaSunrise

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

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