Sunday, 13 October 2013

241 Zacatecas

Thursday 10th to Saturday 12th October 2013
Miles Today  0 Total 24,515

On the Thursday we got a cab into town rather than have to park Wallace in town. The fare was £2. We got into town at about 1pm and we stayed in all day. The cab dropped us off at the catherderal (which was shut till 5) so we went for coffee and then got on one of those city tour busses. We were the only guests and the driver spoke good English.

Karen outside the Catheral

The bus was an ex San Francisco trolley bus stuck on a truck chassis and the Town, although small was magnificent. Even the new architecture was so well made that you cannot tell the difference between it and the old stuff. For example, the fountain below was only made in 1982.

A brief history of Mexico may be appropriate now. In 1512 Mexico fell into Spanish hands under Spanish King Charles V. They called it New Spain and set the capital as Mexico City, the next senior city was Zacatecas, where we are now. It stayed that way up until the 1810s when Napoleon invaded Spain. This gave the impetus for a revolution against Spanish rule and on Sept 16th 1810 a Catholic Priest called Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, who oddly enough, was a Spaniard by birth, whilst in a town called Dolores, declared "Grito de Dolores" (Cry of Dolores) which amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonialism.   Hidalgo whipped up the revolution and slayed many Spanish colonials whilst going from village to village on his way to Mexico City.
Sadly in January 1811 he was captured, defrocked and later  executed by firing squad. He was then decapitated and his head placed on a post in a nearby city called Guanajuato till the revolution was over, as a warning to the revolutionaries.
It did not however stop the revolution and others took up the cause and Mexico was finally liberated from Spain in 1821 when the Treaty of Cordoba set up a monarchy under Augustine de Iturbide.
He did not last long and republican revolutionaries ousted him 18 months later and set up the republic that exists today.

Mexico is a strong catholic country and the architecture reflects this. Our cab driver scared us a bit when he crossed himself halfway into town !

One of the local parks.

Gonzales Ortega, Governor in the late 1800s

Bright colours inside the restaurant we had lunch in.

When the Cathedral opened at 5pm we went in but a mass was in progress so the photos were a bit surreptitious.

More inside the cathedral

As darkness started to fall, we found the oldest bar in Zacatecas, naturally.

Whilst having a beer, the local scholars were having their end of school prom.

One of the things we discovered whist in town was that there was a Fiesta due on Saturday and Sunday night so we booked another 2 days at the hotel so we could see it on Saturday. It just had to be done as we may not get to see another one in Mexico.

This made us laugh. You need to watch it all......

Friday came and went as another chill out day and on the Saturday, we went back into town for the Fiesta only to find that it did not start till 8pm so we went shopping for a couple of hours. The back street shops were a pure delight of cooking food smells and bright colours.

The Parador Hotel. £34 a night.

The cops here do not muck about

Even the bike cops have their own gang

This was to advertise a chemist shop

Setting up for the fiesta. In the center are acrobats practicing.

Crocodile shoes anyone. About £15 a pair to you sir.

A street food vendor.

Great back street shops.

Bright colours everywhere.
Well, we waited 2 days to see the Fiesta which was due to start at 8pm. We got there at about 7:30, wandered around for a bit in the crowds and watched some street performers doing their thing. At the same time we were watching the serious forked lightning in the background. We then popped into a bar for a beer (as we do) and 10 minutes later the heavens opened up. The whole thing was a wash out as it was all in the open air. The rain lasted 1 1/2 hours and ruined the whole night.

Oh well as they say: Into every life a little rain must fall.

Tomorrow we are off to a small old town called San Miguel de Allende. It has been reccomended to us by some local Mexicans.

As an aside, we have been here 5 days so far and before crossing the border, every other American (apart from bikers) could not belive we were going into Mexico and warned us to be careful.  Aside from the administration problems on the first day we have had a very pleasant stay so far and the Mexicans have been friendly and very accommodating.

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