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Mexico

  • Guanajuato
    I tend to think of beaches and Mayan ruins when I think of México, but there are neither where we are going. Instead, we'll be in the central mountains northwest of México City, where the climate is much cooler and drier than on the coasts. We planned to spend the first few days in Guadalajara, and then take the bus to Guanajuato. We thought we'd spend most of our time there, possibly with side trips to Morelia (to see the butterflies), Dolores Hidalgo, San Miguel de Allende, whatever.

Guanajuato

  • Teatro_principal
    The photo is of Guanajuato, from a point high on one of the surrounding hills. Our apartment is marked with a red square.

tunnels

  • Guanajuato was founded in 1554. For some reason, it was built in a ravine, over a river, and tunnels were constructed to allow the water to flow under the city. After numerous floods (there are many markers on walls which indicate the height of the flood waters in the 1907 flood) and loss of life (the guy across the street told us that 5 of his friends were lost in a flood), the rivers were diverted and the tunnels converted into roadways. Now, there is a complicated maze of underground streets, through which cars whiz and people walk. Buses also travel through the tunnels, and one gets off at the stairs leading up to where one wants to go. I'm sure that residents are used to it but I found it both confusing and claustrophobic. On the other hand, I'm sure it reduces the congestion in the surface streets. I can't quite imagine, however, what it's like for some of the houses built right over the tunnels. I'd think that the fumes and the noise would drive them nuts.

Morelia

  • Between Morelia and Guanajuato
    "Built in the 16th century, Morelia is an outstanding example of urban planning which combines the ideas of the Spanish Renaissance with the Mesoamerican experience. Well-adapted to the slopes of the hill site, its streets still follow the original layout. More than 200 historic buildings, all in the region's characteristic pink stone, reflect the town's architectural history, revealing a masterly and eclectic blend of the medieval spirit with Renaissance, Baroque and neoclassical elements. Morelia was the birthplace of several important personalities of independent Mexico and has played a major role in the country's history." from: http://whc.unesco.org/pg.cfm?cid=31&id_site=585

butterflies

  • lunch
    Years ago, I heard a program on MPR about the monarchs migrating to Mexico. The reporter stood in the reserve, apparently holding out the microphone, and I could hear the butterflies ... there were so many of them that the sound their wings made was really loud. Of course, he probably had the volume turned up, too. So, there we were in Mexico, not far from the butterfly reserve. Unfortunately, this is the best view of a butterfly that we had. It was cold, and the others were all huddled up trying to stay warm.... and, so we were told, to save energy for sexual maturity.

Dolores Hidalgo

  • sunset in Dolores
    Dolores is known as the cradle of Mexican independence as it was from here that Padre Hidalgo gave the "grito" - a call for Mexican freedom from Spain.