Sunday, July 20, 2008

Zacatecas, Mexico

Zacatecas is another Silver town that is about 5 hours north of Guanajuato. It is a great city, not quite as beautiful as Guanajuato, but larger with plenty of life and plenty to see. One of best parts of my visit to Zacatecas was seeing my good friend Mike who had come down from Tucson to meet up with me for a week. I had been traveling north from Mexico City, and Zacatecas was about as close as I would get to the states before turning around to head south again. Of course his arrival was reason enough to celebrate, and that's mostly what we did the first day.

Mike and I at “Las Quince Letras” bar

Hostel Villa Colonial, a great place to stay in Zacatecas with a terrific staff, good place to meet travelers, and scenic views of the city

View from the hostel towards the basilica

View from the hostel towards the “Bufa”

Going out at night with folks from the hostel

Flora and I talking at “Las Quince Letras”

Mike gawking at Large tube of beer, sitting with Ernesto, the head manager of the hostel we were staying in

The next day we were off to see some of the city even though the weather was pretty miserable. I had to laugh about the weather; in my guide book it makes a point of pointing out the exceptionally temperate climate of Zacatecas. Ironically, storms on either side of Mexico had converged to drench the whole country and soak Zacatecas and the rest of the high desert region for about a week straight. Between rain showers we walked the city and found lots of unique spots that make Zacatecas what it is. Some of the photos below do have blue skies, but they were taken days later after the weather had cleared up.

Streets of Zacatecas

Food stalls on the street

Cutting nopal cactus, one of the main staples of the area

Side view of the basilica with a man walking down the steps to the “plaza de armas”

“Plazuela Francisco Goitia” Informal gather spot for concerts and street performers

Church at the end of the street

One of our outings while we were both in Zacatecas was to visit the mine that has been turned into a museum and nightclub on the weekends. The mine is located within the city with one entrance at street level, and the other almost 1000 feet below the surface of the mountain. The mine has been cleaned up quite a bit but does a good job of showing the terrible life and conditions that the miners faced.

Sculpture of a miner

Mine entrance

Close up of mine entrance

Mine tunnel

Looking down at bottom levels of the mine that have been flooded

After our tour we took the long elevator ride up to the top of the mountain then took the aerial cable car over the city to the other mountain in town called the “Bufa.” From the “Bufa” we hiked back down to the center of the city where our hostel was.

Aerial tram and the city

Looking down to Zacatecas from the beginning of tram ride

View of Zacatecas from the aerial tram

Looking back at the tram from the Buffa

Mike and I on the Buffa with the city in the background

The next day Mike and I left to visit a town in the Chihuahua desert called Real de Catorce. We spent a couple days there then came back to spend the weekend in Zacatecas. When we came back Mike was sick as a dog, but soon felt better and moved on to see gorgeous Guanajuato and fly back to Tucson from Mexico City. I stayed behind to take in more of the town. The photos below are some more scenes from the city.

Basilica at night

Gathering of “Braseros” avoiding the rain

“Braseros” wearing hats

Boy and puppy on the street

Fruit stall in the market

Little girl tending shop

Cutting grass with the city in the background

Toy windmill and sky

Stand of nopal cactus fruits, a popular snack in Zacatecas

Clown performing in “Plazuela Francisco Goitia”

Typically colorful buildings

Basilica from nearby rooftop

Cable cars above the city

Eating in the market with friends from the hostel

One of the best attactions in Zacatecas is the old convent that houses the “Museum of Rafael Coronel” or the “Museum of the Masks”. Most of the Convent is in ruin, but is beautiful in it's own way. The museum itself is also very unique, housing more than 3,000 masks and artifacts collected from all around Mexico.

Old convent that houses the “Museum of Rafael Coronel” or the “Museum of the Masks”

Arches of the Convent

Carved slab of stone in convent

Old door of the convent

Looking up at the door

Wall of masks

Hairy mask

Cat face mask

Barking dog on mask

Mask with large nose

Relief carving


No comments: