Monday, October 03, 2011

Guanajuato - Part 11/Last Day

On our last day, we had to be out of Casa Feliz at noon.  Since our flight to Los Angeles did not leave Leon until about 10:30 that evening, we decided that we'd spend our free time that day on a tour of Guanajuato, the large city near to San Miguel.

I loved seeing all the wild flowers along the way.  It is a remarkably pretty place.

Our tour guide for this trip was Daniel, an exceedingly nice young man.  In fact, he is the same nice young man who picked us up at the Leon airport when we arrived.   Daniel took us to the funicular so we could ride down into the Centro Historico, taking in the wonderful view of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato.

Guanajuato is a vibrant, colorful city with a very young energy.  I think that comes from the university students, who are everywhere.

This restaurant is right in the center of it all, across from the Juarez Theater .  We enjoyed a very delicious lunch here of enchiladas and grilled chicken.

The main aisle of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato

The University of Guanajuato's main building in housed in what used to be a convent.  It's a very grand, imposing building.  If you ran up and down those stairs several times a day, you'd never have to go to the gym.  Trust me.  It's a climb!  The view from the top of those imposing stairs is lovely.

One of the most interesting things about Guanajuato is that many of the streets actually run through tunnels, rather than on the surface.

The streets twist and turn, leading  you along from one pretty little plaza to another.

I loved these pigs, which were painted on the outside of a restaurant.  I think they must have specialized in carnitas!

This is the entrance to Kiss Alley.  There is a legend that star-crossed lovers shared their last kiss at this place, before he father killed her and the young man killed himself in grief.   The story in the link is totally different from the one that we were told, but you get the idea.  Proud papa, daughter in love with someone Papa does not approve and tragedy is the ending of the tale.  The two balconies at the far end of the alley are only 29 inches apart.

The ruins of the old Garrapata and Guadalupe mines.
 Guanajuato is surrounded by mines.  The richest of these mines was the Valenciana mine, which was started in 1774 and is reputed to have provided two thirds of all the silver mined in Guanajuato.  That is an astounding figure as this is one of the main the areas that provided the Spanish with so much of their (ill-gotten) wealth.

 The mines were all built to be fortresses, to protect the workers and the product from thieves.

Here is a photo of the friendly and charming Daniel, our excellent guide.  I had to take this photo because he told me that he'd had his photo taken at this very spot when he was one year old,  in his mother's arms.  I said that he'd have to give this photo to his mother, as she would like.  I was sure that I emailed it to him as soon as I got home and got the photos edited.  This is the Monument to Christ the King on top of Cubilete Mountain.  It was begun in 1923 and is very impressive.  As you might imagine, this is a pilgrimage place for devout Catholics.

The statue is 66 feet high.

The view over the Bajio valley was lovely.  As the light faded, it was time for us to prepare to take our flight home and say good bye to Mexico.  It was a wonderful, fun, exciting and fulfilling trip from start to finish and one of the best I've ever taken.

I can't wait to go back!

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