Sunday, October 04, 2009


Bienvenido a Zacatecas!

Zacatecas is a beautiful colonial city, and again one of Mexico's famous mining cities.  It has a rich historic center packed with opulent buildings, an amazing cathedral, interesting museums and steep winding streets and alleys.  There were a lot of nice hotels and restaurants and plenty of shops, all of which I think made it a great place to visit.   Arriving at night to Zacatecas gave us a great welcome to the city.
This view was the gem of Hostal Villa Colonial, the only hostel we stayed at on our trip.  It was recommended by Lonely Planet and they were right about the owner, Ernesto, being friendly and helpful.  The room was nothing attractive, but the roof top terrace and great location made this a great choice.   We had our own bathroom, the room was clean, there was coffee in the morning and wireless internet. All for the bargain price of $18. We stayed there 2 nights.
{Catedral, a classic example of Mexican baroque}
Of all the museums, the one I really wanted to go see was the Museo Zacatecano, which is mainly devoted to Huichol art.  I have been obsessed with Huichol [indian] artwork ever since I first saw it....their specialties are making designs with beads or as in the picture below, making intricate pictures with yarn.
I was on a hunt to find one that I really liked, but unfortunately nothing struck me at the shop in the lobby of the museum, only some of the pieces featured in the museum.  
{huge Huichol wall art in the Museo Zacatecano, made from tiny beads}

Zacatecas has a lookout point above the city called La Bufa.  The easiest way to get there is by riding the teleferico (cable car) which takes you over the city in less than 5 minutes.
As you can see the view from the top was phenomenal.
Besides the view, there are a few interesting monuments and a cathedral.  This parade started from the bottom and climbed to the top of la Bufa , all the while the band playing music and what seemed to be hundred of people following behind.
The parade ended at the cathedral and where everyone gathered for an outdoor ceremony. 
These cute little girls were watching the parade too. Ernesto tried to get cozy with these little kids. I was able to snap this picture but one second after all of the kids scurried off. He just didn't fit in.
One of the main things that attracted me to Zacatecas was the Quinta Real Hotel, which was once a bullring (now a luxury hotel). We went there for drinks, and unfortunately it was rented out for what looked to be a very big, expensive wedding in the middle.  It was disappointing that we couldn't see the hotel au natural

The day that we arrived marked the opening day of the "Feria de Zacatecas" - I would compare it to a state fair in the US, but way more elaborate.  Restaurants were set up, not just food stands.  Most of the city shuts down at night while this is going on because everyone and their brother heads to the site which is a few kilometers out of the city. As much of the nightlife in Mexico, things do not get hopping until 11p (at the earliest!) Ernesto and I got there right around that time.

There was so much food offered, it was hard to decide where to eat. Chile shrimp on a stick anyone?
Ernesto bought what everyone seemed to be drinking.
For 20 pesos ($1.50) you could pose with this monstrous boa constrictor, and no one was doing it, so I stepped up. Im not a big snake fan, as a matter of fact, I don't like them at all, they scare me. But sometimes you need to confront what scares you, right? The guy wrapped him on my neck and Ernesto snapped a few shots. Im smiling here, but I let out a few yelps whenever the snakes head slithered in my direction. 

We met some fun locals and had a great time.  The guy in the red had a flask of tequila and every 5 minutes thought everyone should have a swig.  I could only hang in for a couple of rounds.  Tequila just isn't my drink. Does that mean I'll never be Mexicana
We were planning to leave for Durango on a bus at 8am, but stayed out until 4am that night!  Needless to say, our plans changed.  11am seemed more reasonable. 

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