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COLONIAL MEXICO

The region north and west of Mexico City is rich in history.  We spent one day in Querétaro, two days each in San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, and passed through Dolores Hidalgo.  Each of these cities is charming in its own way.  

Querétaro

Closest to Mexico City, Querétaro is sparkling clean and very friendly.  In 1917 it was the capital of Mexico.  We arrived on a Sunday night which when the entire town gathers at the Zocalo for family entertainment and socializing.  We were watching a group of folk dancers when suddenly, all of the six female dancers went into the audience to pick partners for a traditional dance from Vera Cruz.  You guessed it, one of the senoritas decided to drag LNL out to the dance floor!  What an experience.  There were smiles and polite applause at the end so I guess it wasn't too bad.

Our hotel was formerly the home of a marquesa and is beautifully preserved.   The town also has an aqueduct which is still in operation.  It is over 100 feet high in some places.

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Inside the Casa de la Marquesa Hotel.

The pristine Zocalo, where verything happens on Sunday evenings.

A portion of the crowd gathered to watch the folk dancing.

A senorita and her "expert" dance partner.

A portion of the still functioning aqueduct.

 

San Miguel de Allende and Dolores Hidalgo

San Miguel is a sleepy little town that has been invaded from the north.  There are somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 Americans and Canadians living here during the winter, and many of those stay year round.  Everything is accessible by foot, and the restaurants are among the best in Mexico.  Dolores Hidalgo is the birthplace of the Mexican revolution and is now famous for its ice cream.  Shrimp ice cream is available as well as mole and fermented cactus flavors.  We settled on mango.

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A typical San Miguel street.  All of the streets are made with cobblestones.

A beautiful street near the Parque Juarez.

Pat looks proud because we climbed to this look-out point from the city below.

The Jardin, where all Americans in San Miguel meet every afternoon.

The central square in Dolores Hidalgo, from where the Mexican revolution was launched.

 

Guanajuato

Some people think this is the most beautiful city in the world.  It is actually quite spread out and not as easy as the other cities in the region to negotiate.  We visited the birthplace of Diego Rivera, and also the Alhondiga, originally a grain storehouse but now a museum.  It was used as a fortress by the Spanish until the legendary El Pípila, memorialized with a statue which overlooks the city, tied a flagstone to his back and crawled to the fort and set the door on fire.  There is some dispute about the authenticity of this story.  We stayed in a very nice hotel which unfortunately was located next door to a church whose bells tolled every fifteen minutes 24 hours a day.

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Our hotel was quaint with many exotic flowers and birds.

The El Pípila statue overlooks the city's central square (actually a triangle).

The view of the city from El Pípila.  This is the picture you see in the guidebooks.

A Negro Modelo beer is welcome after walking in this very dry region.

At the Valenciana Restaurant, gazpacho is served in a block of ice.