This Weekend in Durango

Well, since the SATs (college entrance exam for many schools in the USA) are held in Mazatlán only in the springtime, we drove to Durango this weekend so Danny could take the test. The last two times we drove that route, it took 3 and 3 1/2 hours for us to get from Mazatlán to Durango. This time, on Friday, it took 5 1/2! Granted, it was raining and foggy, and there was a whole lot of truck traffic. But we counted only 18 tunnels and 12 bridges that we crossed. We would swear that more of the new highway was open the last times we went. Perhaps more has closed due to damage from the recent heavy rains?

Needless to say, we arrived on Friday evening much later than we would have preferred, since we had to get up at the crack of dawn to get Danny to the test. But we had a great weekend! Unbeknownst to us, Durango is celebrating its 450th birthday (since summer), and right now is the Festival Cultural Revueltas—music, literature, dancing, theater. The streets were packed and all were having a grand time. While we have seen a lot of folkloric dancing in our day, it was the first time we’d witnessed ballet folkloric danced to banda music!  (I post a short video below, if you’d care to see.)

We stayed in a beautiful hotel very near the American School, where the test was held—the Hotel Gobernador.  Click on any photo below to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

While Danny took the test, Greg and I spent a whopping 20 pesos to go round-trip on the teleférico, or gondola, one of four in Mexico. What a gorgeous day we had, and such incredible views! At the top of the route is the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, a beautiful, small, and very old church, dating back to the founding of the city itself (and worship at the site by native Mexicans even earlier). (Click on any photo below to view it larger or view a slideshow.)

At the top of the gondola, a group of folkloric dancers were performing. Many of them were the same dancers that we’d happen to see again that evening in the Plaza de Armas. (Click on any photo below to view it larger or view a slideshow.)

Once Danny was finished with the test, we ate lunch at an incredible restaurant, Esquilón (Hidalgo #411, tel 618-811-1632). The space was awesome, the food was very, very good, and they have loads of private party areas. We  highly recommend it. (Click on any photo below to view it larger or view a slideshow.)

As part of the festival there was a handicraft market going on. As always, I was interested in the native peoples. There was a lovely Huichol couple doing beadwork, and several Tepehuanos sewing barbasca de pino/pine needle basketry. While we weren’t able to make it this trip, there is an Artesanías Tepehuana (O’dam) at Tuxpan 227, cel. 618-151-9862 or 618-116-8849. We also learned that there is an Indigenous Art and Culture of Durango Cooperative at Isla Acerralvo 211, cel. 618-171-9661 that sounds well worth visiting. Danny was able to buy a nice birthday gift for his friend, made of animal skin, so he was also quite happy. (Click on any photo below to view it larger or view a slideshow.)

Our favorite part of Durango, always, has been the beautiful architecture. The climate there seems to be so much more forgiving than ours here in Mazatlán, and they light the buildings up so gorgeously at night! It is breathtaking.

Finally, let me share with you some various shots of children playing and other city scenes.

Once the highway and the Puente Baluarte are truly open, they are predicting that the trip to Durango will take 2 1/2 hours. Even at 4 hours, it is well worth a visit!