Cruising  ~ The Cat’s Meow Style ~  June & July, 2008

Cruising Inland, Mexico  ~  Part 2


The next stop was the city of Guanajuato, the capitol of the state of Guanajuato. We had visited this mid-sized city once before, but only for one day, and we knew that we wanted to return to explore some more. This city is built in a very mountainous area, and Guanajuato’s buildings are built up the hillsides all around the bowl that it sits within. One interesting thing about Guanajuato is the underground tunnels and streets – some of them flow where a river used to go thru the city. It is purrrrty hairy driving around in underground tunnels when one doesn’t know the area! We parked the van at the house/apartment where we stayed for the week. Our lodging was an interesting apartment, one of about four, owned by an American ex-pat. We had nice views from the second story bedroom, and the cats loved looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows from the spiral staircase. We walked (a LOT) and took a few taxis to get where we wanted to go. Guanajuato is an old city, with very narrow streets, and it has a European “feel” to it. There is a university in the middle of the city plus a stately old theater, and a wonderful “jardin” (garden) area in the center lined with restaurants and shops. This is an interesting, historical place. Most nights, a group of singers and musicians, dressed in 17th century garb, gather groups of tourists and then lead them thru the streets, singing and telling jokes. Of course, there are many places to eat, drink, and buy stuff throughout the city too.



                   Guanajuato has a european  feel to it. Many colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and well-tended parks are everywhere, but you better like walking up and down hilly streets, here!


                                                                                            A colorful bar/restaurant in the jardin area  



We walked to the opposite end of the city to visit the Museo de las Momias – Museum of the Mummies. These folks were buried in soil that “mummified” -actually dried - their clothes, hair, teeth, and torsos so quickly that they are referred to as mummies. And if the family does not pay for the graves in a timely manner, Grammpa might get dug up and put in the museum! We spent part of a rainy day going down into one of the mines. Guanajuato was one of the centers for the revolution, and there are many historical monuments and markers related to this, as well as to Don Quixote and also to the muralist, Diego Rivera, who was born in this city. In October there is the huge Cervantes festival, celebrating all types of arts. This is quite an interesting place.


                                                                                                  Visiting one of the mines, going down, down, down…..




One day we hopped the bus to visit Delores Hidalgo, another village, known also for its role during the revolution and for its ice cream: vendors in the main plaza sell little cups of what must be home-made ice cream in all different, some weird, flavors. Well, we HAD to try it….  















Delores Hidalgo square & church ~ home of some interesting ice cream flavors, like tequila, avocado, and more




The van was getting to be more crowded and heavier with each place that we stayed, due to our new purchases. But, we packed Toes and Squeak into the van once again and took off for lower ground. Ajijic (Ah-hee-HEEK’) is a suburb of Guadalajara, and Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico. Ajijic is settled along Lake Chapala and has become a mecca for norte americanos. Our friends, MJ and Stan, formerly of the sailing vessel Sol Mate, were cat & house sitting there, and we were allowed to visit the area and visit our friends at the same time. The house was painted with bright colors and came with a pool, which we enjoyed as well. It is easy to get to know one’s way around the village. Some of the shops and houses are quite entertaining. We relaxed, walked the village, found the location of the very active ex-pat association, had some nice coffees, and enjoyed visiting with MJ and Stan.




                                                                                                                           View of the patio & pool in this nice house in Ajijic                                                                   Stan does some kitty duty



                                          Some fun expressions in the village of Ajijic    



Ajijic is settled along Lake Chapala, along with a few other pueblos. We drove the van along the shoreline and visited some of the other locations such as Jocotepec and Chapala. Also, MJ took us to a local humane society, where she had been volunteering. Aaawwww…….  (ph)



                                           A park in Jocotepec, by Lake Chapala                                                                   A wedding in the village of Chapala




                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Need we say more??


One day we drove into Guadalajara, about 45 minutes away from Ajijic. What an interesting city! Very busy, very noisy, quite crowded, but Guadalajra also has many fountains, parks, wide pedestrian walkways, and lots of churches and government buildings. We parked the van and took the metro into the center of the city, and began walking. Using the city map for the walking tour, we of course got lost….we wound around and finally found the areas we were looking for. The center of the city is filled with the state’s administrative buildings as well as some very interesting churches, squares, and of course shops of all sizes and kinds. Carriages, double-decker busses, taxis, trucks and cars all compete for the roadways. Tourists and business people fill the walkways and streets.  Some of the most renowned Mexican art is in the form of murals, and most murals we have seen deal with the topic of war and/or oppression and/or government (hmmm….seen as the same thing…??). Many of the interior staircases in administrative buildings are decorated with such murals. 



                        A wide variety of vehicles share the road                                                      Another famous mural by another famous muralist                                           View of one part of beautiful Guadalajara downtown

                                                                                                                                                                  (These three photos taken by MJ)


The Santuario del Carmen is one of the magnificent churches in this city. Wow. The spires are incredible with their stained glass windows, and the carvings on the doors are      works of art as well. Another huge Cathedral is on the main plaza, dripping with gold on the interior.



                                                                                                                                           (photo by MJ)




Another day, the four of us traveled to nearby Tequila – the village where some of the most famous tequilas are distilled and sold. The larger Cuervo distillery tour was booked for the English version, so we walked across the street to the Sauza building where we had our very own private tour, plus tasting. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!




                          Fields of agave plants stretch for miles                                                   Trucks haul bijillions of the heart of the agave to the distilleries                 The village of Tequila has a few stores that sell all types of the stuff!


After four weeks of traveling through a small part of Mexico, it was time to head back to the Puerto Vallarta area and to the boat. This had been a very fun and interesting adventure for us, seeing some of the colonial area of the country and learning more about its history and peoples. There is so much more to see, too! Hopefully, one day we will do some more land-cruising in this beautiful country. Until then, please please continue to visit us here, where we are Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style…….