Logo for 2008 Trip
Traveling to Mexico Again in 2008
Nav Buttons 2008 Trip
Following Ruta 2010 through The Cradle of Independence
Guanajuato a Magical City
The trip to Guanajuato was about 180 miles and took about five hours most of it on very good roads. The tolls were expensive again about US$60.
We found Bugamville RV park, about nine kilometers outside of town on the Highway to Juventino Rosas, with no problems. Be careful though - there are eight topes from the highway to the turn off to the campground which is a very rough dirt road into the park. $14 per night. Nothing fancy, electric probably wasn’t quite 15 amps, water was okay and no sewer, but there is a dump station. Basically we parked our motorhome in a big open field of dried grass. Every night we were there the wind came up around sundown and really cooled things down. Bugamville RV park is used by the caravans when they come through. The last day we were there we had the company of 21 other Rvs. We stayed for five days and just touched on seeing what is available.
Just for information there is an Applebee's on the highway right before we turned towards the town. Also a Holiday Inn where we picked up a map of Guanajuato (I never did figure it out.)
From the time we turned off 15D we followed Ruta 2010 - it follows the route taken by the people when they were fighting for Independence in 1810. The year 2010 will be the 200th birthday of Mexico’s Independence.
We were now at 6300 feet altitude. Both of us felt it. Walked slower and tried not to have to climb too many stairs.
Guanajuato - what can I say about Guanajuato? It is a wondrous town. Like something out of a fairy tale. Words cannot prepare you for it. To quote a little from a book - “The city of Guanajuato owes its foundation to the rich silver mines that were discovered by the Spanish from 1548 onwards. It subsequently went on to become the richest city in Mexico.”
As we drove the Jeep towards town we went through a short tunnel then right into another one. As we came out of the darkness into the brilliant sunlight we could see the houses clustered together on the hills all around us, each one more vivid in color than its neighbor. They were built up the hills like stair steps. We later found out that some of the houses are built from street level down the hill so they are entered from the roof. The cars park on the roof and the stairs leading to the interior go down from the roof.
We soon passed a plaza with all kinds of statues of frogs. The original name of the city was Guanaxhuato - meaning "hilly place of the frogs."
We were following the signs pointing to the “Historic Center” when suddenly we were in a narrow tunnel with no end in sight. As we eventually emerged from that tunnel we were confronted with the beginning of another. But between them were yellow, orange and pink houses built on top of the walls. Their balconies were hanging out over the road supported by wooden beams that fastened into the rock walls. We had a brief glimpse of this wonder and then we were back into the next tunnel. Some of the tunnels were very narrow. Others were wide enough for two way traffic or cars to be parked along one side. Some had stairways leading up to ground level. A couple had parking garages, but we never spotted them quick enough to make the sharp turn into one. Where other tunnels joined or branched off from the one you were in there were signs “Uno y Uno” - one by one - to control traffic
One day we took the Carretera Panoramica- Panoramic Road. It circles the city high in the hills and is a “must do.” As we drove north out of town on Highway 110 we came to the Templo de Valenciana. Of course we stopped to visit it. Another “must see.” Beautiful inside and out it was built from 1775-88. As we continued on we had great views of the city below. We stopped at the site of the Mineral Guadalupe mine. This mine was the source of much of the mining wealth in the 16th century. From this road we saw many, many of the homes that are entered from the roof. They are built down the hills so all living space is below the roof. We stopped at the Monumento al Pipila. From there we were treated to a spectacular view of the old center of the city. There are guides there that for a small donation will explain what all the old buildings are and give a short history of them. Well worth it. There is also a funicular that will take you down the hill into the city. It brings you down by the Teatro Juraz into the center of the Historic District. We went there a couple of times and found nearby parking once on the street and the second time in a parking lot right behind the Teatro. There are several plazas in the area with good restaurants. Strolling musicians will stop at your table and play for you. It is a nice place to spend a day people watching. Many many college students with their loaded backpacks. Stooped older women with items to sell carried on their back wrapped in colorful woven shawls. School children in uniforms. And whole families just out for a walk. We were fascinated by the number of women who were wearing very high heels and walking on the cobblestones. I had trouble in my sandals!
Next to the Plaza de la Paz in front of the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Guanajuato you can catch a trolley for a two hour narrated ride around the city. It is inexpensive and very interesting; the only problem for me was the narration was entirely in Spanish. In the Basilica is a sculpture of the Virgin that was a gift from King Carlos V of Spain in 1557.
There are so many places to visit and things to do here. It is very safe to walk around and the people are wonderful and friendly. We will go back and spend more time there someday. From the RV park it is an easy day trip in the car from Guanajuato to the city of León or 54 kilometers over the mountains to Dolores Hidalgo - The Cradle of the Independence.
For a couple of the pictures I took in Guanajuato Click Here
View from Tunnel
Restoring a Church