Travelogue Spring Break 2011, Day 5: Zacatecas

We slept in till LATE today, at the princess’ request, then Greg and I spent an hour or so reading in our courtyard before the kids showed up. We ate breakfast right here in the hotel courtyard. Let’s see, what we ate: huevos chamulcos, huevos divorciados, huevo con jamón for la guapa, and huevos encarcelados for the joven. La vida dura.
Today was Mara’s day as tour guide. She is beautiful and charming, she followed the map well and she easily got us where we needed to go. She wasn’t very good at answering questions though, lol.

She led us walking from our hotel up the Alameda, which is beautiful now with all the trees and flowers in bloom, to the El Eden Mine. 

This was our second mine tour, and we weren’t so keen to go on it, but we did want to take the Teleférico/gondola ride over to La Bufa, and the concierge told Mara that through the mine was the most convenient way to go. We ended up very happy we had taken this tour, as it was so different from the Valenciana Mine in Guanajuato. The Eden Mine is well-developed: gorgeous artwork at the entrance, a little train to take us into the mine shaft, a full museum inside, paved tunnels that are fully lighted… I preferred the first mine tour, as it felt so real and the guide was a miner who had wonderful insight, stories and history. But everyone else preferred today’s tour. The guide was very funny.

The mine has a nightclub inside that Greg and I have been very excited to visit. Sadly, this week it is closed for reparations due to some cracking in the walls. So, we could only peek in from the entrance, and I took a photo of a poster of it in one of the tunnels.

Once we finished the mine tour, we could either walk back through and then take the train back to where we started, or we could take an elevator up the 36 meters to the surface and then either walk three blocks downhill to El Centro Histórico or walk a bit farther uphill to the Teleférico, which was our true destination for the day. 

Upon leaving the mine there were quite a few vendors, and their creativity struck me. “Jicaletas?” Yes, paletas made from jicama, or jicama slices on a stick! How healthy, easy, and ingenious is that??

The most wonderful part of the entrance to the gondola, however, was the 83 year-old “mangolada” man, originally from San Blas. He was soooo very funny, creative and charming! We didn’t want a snack, but his clever schpeel roped us in. The mangoladas were great—frozen crushed mango with a bit of chamoy (chile) on top. I asked him how he stayed so fit at 83 years old, and he told me he eats about eight mangoladas every day which gives him great nutrition, and for exercise he walks up the hill to the Teleférico (132 STEEP stairs!) twice every day while carrying a cooler full of icy mangoladas in each hand. I guess it’s one secret to the fountain of youth!
The gondola ride was very cool, since we passed right over the city from one side to another. The day was clear and bright and we thoroughly enjoyed the ride. We want to do it again at night to see the lights of the city. The view from the top of La Bufa is spectacular.
On the other side of the gondola we walked uphill a bit further. Along the walk were many stalls of handicraft items, especially Huichol Indians doing gorgeous beadwork. We had fun talking to them and looking around.
First stop at the top of La Bufa hill was the museum of the “Toma de Zacatecas,” the major Revolutionary War battle against Huerta’s Federal troops. They had terrific photos of the battle, but unfortunately they did not allow photos, so I can’t show them to you.
Outside the museum are hundreds of artesanía shops and restaurants, lining the side of the hill. After a brief rest stop we walked over to the church, which is incredibly gorgeous. The amount of red sandstone/cantera rosa used in the buildings here makes this such a very beautiful place. We especially liked the medallions around the courtyard representing the various trade unions that support the church.

We took a taxi down to our hotel to rest a bit, and then headed out for dinner. The streets are crowded right now, we supposed for the festival and also for Holy Week. 

We were anxious to try the “asado de boda” for which Zacatecas is so famous, and we were able to do so in a place Greg found for us on Chow Hound. It was good—Zacatecan pork mole, I’d say.
A very nice, relaxing day in the place we’re planning to stay the longest this holiday. It is nice to be here and get settled in a bit.

About Dianne Hofner Saphiere

There are loads of talented people in this gorgeous world of ours. We all have a unique contribution to make, and if we collaborate, I am confident we have all the pieces we need to solve any problem we face. I have been an intercultural organizational effectiveness consultant since 1979, working primarily with for-profit multinational corporations. I lived and worked in Japan in the late 70s through the 80s, and currently live in and work from México, where with a wonderful partner we've raised a bicultural, global-minded son. I have worked with organizations and people from over 100 nations in my career. What's your story?

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