Sshh don’t tell Mr E…but I had a lovely day on my own wandering the quaint cobbled streets of Guanajuato. We had both eaten something dubious in Mexico City that resulted in a few days of “Montezumas Revenge” I don’t need to expand on that! Unfortunately Mr E was on his death-bed. Being a man of course had it much worse than me, so was “man down” staying in the hotel bed for the day, but don’t worry I kept him supplied with rehydration drinks before I went off on my own!
We were staying in a gorgeous Edelmira for our short 2 night visit, the hotel was just steps from the Jardin de la Union. This triangular plaza is covered with laurel trees, terrace restaurants line the Jardin, mariachi bands stroll through looking for tourists to play their traditional songs to, a bandstand and fountain fill the centre, it’s all just heavenly.
I started my day by riding the funicular train up to the Mirador. The view over the city is impressive and extremely pretty. Colourful buildings, churches and houses all pack into this small hilly basin. It had rained in the morning resulting in crisp clean air at 18c, it was decided chilly after being so sweaty on the Pacific Coast but was just perfect for my solo travel day.
My day was a simple one, wandering the streets calling in on all the tourist attractions. I admired the main theatre Teatro Juarez with all its classical decorations. Thought about running up the impressive Rocky style steps…for about a minute at the Universidad de Guanajuato. Admired the beautifully decorated Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Guanajato where I said hello to the life-size religious statues all dressed in their best velvet and lace outfits. There are lots of ornate churches in his tiny city and without Mr E, I could take my time to admire each one filled with flowers and to light a few candles for family, friends and for no more tummy bugs!
I visited the original home of Diego Rivera, which is now a museum dedicated to his varied artwork over the years.
In the main regional Guanatajo Museum Alhondiga de Granaditas, I struggled to understand all the Spanish information but admired this old granary building, which represents the birthplace of Mexican Independence. In 1810 the Spanish had barricaded themselves inside this thick stone fortress along with the city stash of goodies – Guanajuato was a wealthy colonial silver mining city. A local miner Pipila became a legendary hero. By strapping a large flat rock to his back crawling along, he deflected the gun shots and was able to set fire to the main door using tar, allowing the Mexican revolutionists to gain entry and kill the Spanish army. The large monument of Pipila watches over the city high on the hillside.
The city is full of narrow alleyways where illicit affairs could take place, the most famous romantic yet tragic legend is that of the Callejón del Beso – The Kissing Alley. It’s the age-old story; girl Dona Carmen falls for boy Don Luis, grumpy father doesn’t approve of boy, so they become secret lovers. A window in Dona Carmen’s house looked out onto a 2ft wide alley, by leaning out she could kiss her lover Don Luis on the opposite side. However instead of sending her to a nunnery, grumpy father finds out about the affair and ends up killing his daughter as she looked out of the window, leaving Don Luis heartbroken in the other house, able only to kiss his beloved’s cold dead hand through window in the small alley.
When I found the Kissing Alley a group of secondary school children from nearby Salamanca were visiting. They all wanted to practice the little English they could speak with me. There was much giggling as the school children were all taking turns to couple up to kiss, a little far too passionately – crikey those kids seriously needed to “Get a Room” !! My new friend was Carlos who was very chuffed he was wearing a top with the Union Jack on and insisted I take his photo. I declined to become his Facebook friend but most of all he wanted to know if I had a beautiful daughter he could marry in England, everyone has a dream right?
After much hilarity I said my “Adios” and went to the Hidalgo Market, along with colourful local produce there were handicraft stalls and food stands. I was severely tempted to eat a chiccaron (large pork scratching) smothered in guacamole, but it might have been tempting fate after my tummy bug!!
Guanajuato is full of narrow alleyways, cars and buses would not fit, so most of the roads are channeled out underground the hills, I was very glad we were not driving this trip.
I finished my solo day sitting in a flower filled plaza, listening to water trickling in the fountain and taking far too many photos of colonial balconies and cobbled streets before returning to Mr E with a plain chicken sandwich for him trying to hide my glee at my gorgeous Guanajuato Day.