Zaplatanejo, MEX to Guanajuato, MEX
Moving Time: 4:20
Stopped time: 1:15
Linda and Joel had waxed poetic about Guanajuato Pronounced Wanna-Watt-o), Mexico, a colonial city with lots of architectural interest. Built on a hillside with a history of mining, they’d told me about the tunnels in the town, that go under the city. It sounded cool and Guanajuato had been stuck in my brain. As I might have mentioned, I’ve been terribly cold, so I rose to the Coast. well, two days on the coast I still could not get Guanajuato out of my brain, and so I returned inland.
First, I found out that Guanajuato is a vibrant and bustling section of a Leon, and I got great directions there.
Next, I found out that Guanajuato is a State in Mexico, and I got great directions to the border of Guanajuato state.
Finally, I followed the map to the colorful, bustling, tourist-oriented town of Guanajuato.(It pays to be specific, I suppose)
I followed the signs for the center of the city,
and after a looooooooong procession of traffic (It was Saturday)
I pulled over in front of a parked car to orient myself. I took off a layer of clothes, ate an apple, and looked at my Lonely Planet Guide. Where should I stay that’s cheap and comfortable? Parking seemed to be a real issue and I’d arrived early (2:00) after riding 170 miles, so I didn’t want to spend the afternoon looking for a hotel instead of enjoying the City.
About this time a fellow comes upto me with a “Informacion Touristica” badge on. Normally I don’t like people coming up to me offering me things, but after some dialog, and his persistence, I caved in. he kept telling me about a hotel very close for $250 Pesos/night, and I kept telling him I did not want to pay that much. Finally I started putting my gear back on, and he came up with a place for $150 Pesos/night. 🙂
I had to pull around this complicated traffic triangle (as it turned out I was in the very heart of the old city–next to the Mercado and the bus station).
I lost my guy/tourist guide, and 5 others came running up to me because I as in front of “hotel row”. Pandemonium!.Then out of the sea of people came my guide just as I started to roll away, and he directed me in between 5 buses, up a little ramp, onto the sidewalk, and into a bustlinng indoor shopping mall! Turns ut the hotel “lobby” is insie the shopping mall, a small desk that keeps an eagle eye (well, ok, often the clerk’s kids re playing there come to find out) on the stairs that lead to the hotel rooms upstairs.
I get settled in, park/shove the bike against the wall in between the reception desk and a video machine, lug my stuff up the stairs, and rest for an hour because I’ve signed up for a City tour (did I really want to gear up, ride in the Saturday chaos, and struggle to park my bike everywhere I went and get lost some more? Nope.) 100 Pesos for a tour suited me just fine thankyouverymuch!
The City Tour
Museo de las Mumias
(VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED!!!)
disclaimer: while normally limiting my intake of horrific images, it was fascinating to see these, and it *is* a huge part of the tourist thing to do in Guanajuato.
This was a tour of the mummy museum…evidently you used to be able to walk down the aisles of the mummies likes these folks,
but too many people touched them, and the mummmies deteriorated. The museum had to put them under glass unfortunately.
Something about the minerals in the ground there mummify the bodies within 3-5 years…If the families cannot pay to keep their folks in the ground, they get exhumed, and if they are of the 1% or so of good lookin’ mummies, they get put on display! PLEASE bury me with 5 bags of lime so no one ever finds my horrifying looking corpse!
Next stop, the Museum of Torture.
disclaimer: this really is something I tend to avoid. I misunderstood when they said where we were going–they said something about the Spanish Inquisition, etc. I still don’t catch everything.
Anyway, the one image that sticks in my mind’s eye: the Chastity belt. SERIOUSLY! They said that when the men would go off to fight the Crusades, they’d lok their gals up with one of these contraptions…and if the man did not come back, usually the woman would die of an infection. Horrible!
I left the Museum shortly after this and waited outside for the rest of the tour group.
Next stop, an old mine
Keys hanging from the ceiling–I did not catch their significance
They took us to a sweets shop, a shop that sold crystals that had been mined in Guanajuato, an lastly to a panoramic view of the city: