The Big Mexico Trip

Old Oct 15th, 2021, 09:23 PM
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If I'm recalling your itinerary correctly, you head to San Miguel next? Be aware that weekends bring plenty of chilangos from CDMX, so Saturday's get kinda busy.
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Old Oct 16th, 2021, 07:15 AM
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Actually we head to Guanajuato today for four days, so hopefully we will miss them this weekend, but catch them next weekend perhaps!
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Old Oct 16th, 2021, 08:05 AM
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Baldone - Any recs for Guanajuato? We are staying on the Jardin de la Union at Posada Sante Fe. Have a few things planned but always up for suggestions, restaurants, etc.
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Old Oct 16th, 2021, 09:55 AM
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Do note the jardin is *very* noisy. We had a room overlooking it at the Luna, next door to your hotel. You may want a room in the back.
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Old Oct 16th, 2021, 02:32 PM
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As far as restaurants, we like Mestizo and La Trattoria. The latter primarily for the view if you can get a balcony table and be above the fray down below. We tend to avoid the places immediately around jardin Union, although Casa Valadez gets good reviews. We don't get to Guanajuato as often as we could. If we're flying out of BJX we usually spend the night before in Leon. The leather zone is an easy trip from Guanajuato and the bus station is right in the center of the leather district. If you're inclined to do some leather shopping.
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Old Oct 17th, 2021, 01:35 PM
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Fra_Diavolo - *very* noisy is an understatement! It is insane, but we are in the back, our room looks over Calle Truco more than the Jardin. See next post!
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Old Oct 17th, 2021, 01:44 PM
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Travel Day - Start the day by finishing packing and have a delightful brunch at Breton off the Plaza de Armas. Today is one of those travel days that happen from time to time, where you might say, we got too grande for our pantalones. We're chillin' and leave too little time for a leisurely trip to the Estacion de Autobus. First of all Uber doesn't show up, so our wonderful host at the hotel orders us a car through a similar Mexican service. Running a little close now, a bit nervous. Then we get a call from the driver, he can't get through because of some town event that has blocked an adjacent street off. So he can pick us up, two blocks over. Cesar from the hotel grabs a bag we grab the rest and hike two blocks through a huge traffic jam to get the car. Tell the guy we are late and that brings out the race car in him. We get to the bus station ten minutes before our bus leaves. Bus is late, of course, but you can't turn off that nervous adrenalin that has built up!

Arrive in Guanajuato about an hour late.. Grab a taxi, real nice older gentleman with some English, tells us about the "tunnels" under the city. The bus station is pretty far out so we had at least another half hour to our trip. It's hard to describe the entry into Guanajuato, it's like it's been carved out of the rock. Very tiny way streets, we pass the giant statue of Don Quixote and Pancho and finally arrive at Posada Santa Fe. We are on the back side of it. There is the smallest parking lot I have ever seen and a guest is trying to back his Austin Mini into the lot and can't pull it off. Finally one of the attendants hauls him out, and parks it himself. Meanwhile we are still in the cab, the cabbie is kind of yelling at the parking guys, trying to get by to drops us off, the Mini is trying to park, it feels like chaos. Here come the adrenalin again!

An extremely unfriendly doorman grabs are bags and takes off. I don't like that I want to see my bags at all times. Check in is smooth and the doorman takes us to our room and does everything but hold his hand for the tip. We unpack a little and head downstairs.

NOW - Here is the point of the whole post today. GUANAJUATO IS A ZOO! I've read every article, every blog about how quaint it is, how charming and never did I read that as a waiter told me later, it is the Cantina of Mexico! It is packed and I mean packed! There are hundreds of people roaming the streets, there are battling Callejoneadas leading all the drunks through the alleys! You can hardly move, some masks, quite a few actually but everyone is top of each other. The two things my dear wife likes the least in life are crowds and stairs. At this moment Guanajuato is nothing more than a giant staircase filled with people. Now in fairness, it is Saturday night, and in the middle of the Cervantes festival.
Wifey retires to the room, I grab a chair on the patio of the hotel and order some margaritas. Let's see what tomorrow brings!

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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 07:05 AM
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Sunday Morning - Here is the Guanajuato I read about! It was under all the people. So how do you make an American feel comfortable? Starbucks of course. Seriously, I'm not proud of this but it is the only thing on the Jardin de la Union that is open at this time. Grab a couple of cuppas and we are ready for the day. Breakfast at our hotel on the Jardin, this is the most European we have felt on our trip. Nice and quiet, this is around 9:30AM. First order of business is to find a laundry. Head up to Positos, a calle above the Basilica across from Plaza de la Paz. There is a fairly small alley that leads up to Positos and the University steps, last night they were all lit up with a computerized light show. Just to the left of the University is the Museo del Pueblo de Guanajuato. Great old casa with some interesting exhibits. One about Serapes was particularly interesting. Calle Positos has three nice museums in a row, the Pueblo Museo, Contemporary Art Museum and Diego Rivera's birth house. We stop in at a restaurant, Escarola and ask about the laundry, it was in the building covered in scaffolding we just passed!

Head back down into Centro on Cantaranas find another laundry that is closed but in the meantime, let's go to La Vie En Rose for a bite. It's on our list. Go upstairs, snag a tiny balcony street for fruit and granola. Highly recommend this place, have a wonderful conversation with Omar in Spanglish. Some of our Duolingo is actually working!

Escarola has a flamingo show today at 5:00PM so we head back there. What an exquisite time. Escarola has about 3 different levels with the bottom level holding the stage. Of course, 5PM actually means 6PM but when the music starts it is divine. Notice there are a few ex-pat coal burners in the crowd (smokers), but other than that we have a wonderful time, some drinks, great quesadillas. The musicians, percussion, guitarist and singer are joined by two dancers and we feel we have been whisked away to Spain.

Wife returns back to the hotel and I become an old alley cat, searching out the route for our walking tour tomorrow. The crowds are huge again, but about half of what they were last night. The crowd is such a mix, lot's of families with smaller children, ton's of couples, teens to 30's. I can understand the allure of coming to Guanajuato to stroll the streets, eat and drink, but it has been a bit of a shock, but today was not as overwhelming as yesterday and we have two days left!
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 07:25 AM
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I know what you mean about Guanajuato! We loved it but it was hectic beyond belief when we were there. Made Trafalgar Square, London on NYE seem positively sedate by comparison. Really enjoyed the buzz but were happy to get on the funicular at the end of the night up the hill to Casa Zuniga for some peace and quiet.
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 11:49 AM
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One of my favorite routines when we're on the road in Mexico is to venture out from our hotel and grab coffee and a pastry (or Egg McMuffins if a McDonald's is nearby, lol) I generally don't have an issue with choosing Starbucks, since many mom & pop places aren't usually open at the hour that I want them to be. And Starbucks is better than Italian Coffee Company. Clearly, I'm not a purist, but I do try to buy local when possible. And Mexico's Starbucks are 100% Mexican owned so that helps. Speaking of coffee, years ago on our very first trip to Guanajuato, (1998) I went searching for coffee and came across an enterprising guy that had a thermos type backpack thing with a hose with a spigot on the end. He'd walk alongside people heading to work and fill their cups on the go. Probably Nescafe.
Agree about Casa ZuŮiga. Quiet and above the fray. Rick is a great host, and Carmen a good cook.
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 03:48 PM
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Crellston - I've never been to Trafalgar Square yet so I was going with Times Square! This afternoon we were having lunch at La Trattoria, above the fray, per Baldone's recommendation when it hit me... this place is Santa Cruz, California! Minus the ocean, surfers, wharf and "world famous" Boardwalk, but the same demographics. Couples and families. My wife and I met in Santa Cruz 40 years ago, it is a town of 60,000 that swells to 80,000 Friday - Sunday. Our maxim was NEVER GO INTO TOWN ON THE WEEKEND! I imagine it might be the same for locals here. If I had revisited your excellent post and pictures on Accidental Nomads I would have been better prepared!
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Old Oct 19th, 2021, 12:34 AM
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Baldone - if I recall correctly, it may have been at your suggestion we stayed at Casa Zuniga. If so , thanks for great advice!

Tdiddy - I think Trafalgar Square and Times Square are interchangeable on NYE = mayhem!

BYW Thanks for the heads up on Santa Cruz. I am in the midst of planning a trip down Highway 1 from SF to LA before we stay at a friends house in Pasadena. I will make a note to keep on driving!

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Old Oct 19th, 2021, 07:25 AM
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While Santa Cruz does have it's charm, the most logical stop from SF to LA is Monterey, California. Cannery Row, 17 Mile drive, Carmel by the Sea etc. Say hi to Big Sur for us. We camped there in April this year and froze our butts off. Speaking of Pasadena, which is home of the Rose Bowl parade, right now there are a bunch of students outside Teatro Juarez making flower paintings in the street for breast cancer. I asked one of them if they had heard of the Rose Bowl because all of the floats are made of flowers. She hadn't and I don't know why I might have expected her to. When are you in Pasadena, Crellston?
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Old Oct 19th, 2021, 07:50 AM
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Laundry Day! One of the questions we get asked a lot by friends when we are off for a three month trip, how do you clean your clothes? Well so far on our travels, there are laundries, Italy, Vietnam, Ireland, Thailand, France, Mexico, there are people who will wash your clothes, once we stopped for a night in Pisa specifically to have our clothes laundered in a place next to the train station we had read about. It's definitely part of the adventure. I think the idea of "taking in laundry" is somewhat foreign to those of us in the US who have washer/ dryers or go to laundromats. How about you guys? Any laundries in town?

We are following a walking tour of town we found online. Plaza de Los Angeles, to Mercado Hildago and ending up at the Alhondiga. Which is closed, it's Monday, but there is a giant stage and they are rehearsing for a show tonite. We have come to GTO right in the middle of the Cervantino Festival, which only partly explains the crowds. We are walking down Calle Positos back to the hotel, I look down an alley and see Estacion Gelato. This place has been written about and we go down and meet the owner, Rodolfo and sit for a good half hour talking about traveling. We tell him he is famous, he says I know and shows us a copy of the Lonely Planet guide that a previous customer sent to him. If in GTO please seek him out! Right off Calle Positos, just pass Diego Rivera's Casa. So two prime travel experiences today, laundry and talking with a local. That's why we do it!

Went back to the Alhondiga for the show at 8PM. There are a lot of bleachers set outside on what would be the steps on the side of the Alhondiga and on the stage are dances of all the regions of Mexico. The costumes are beautiful and the crowd is very appreciative. It's funny to see a girl with purple hair, clapping, sincerely, for a dance routine that's probably a hundred years old. I can only take so much, although it's a beautiful night, the music gets very repetitive. Have you noticed that when you are being serenaded table side in Mexico with the guitarist and accordionist it is the same thing over and over! In the immortal words of Led Zeppelin, "take me to the bridge, where's that confounded bridge".
Another day in Mexico, stumbling on to those little moments that make travel so grand.
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Old Oct 19th, 2021, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Tdiddy12 View Post
While Santa Cruz does have it's charm, the most logical stop from SF to LA is Monterey, California. Cannery Row, 17 Mile drive, Carmel by the Sea etc. Say hi to Big Sur for us. We camped there in April this year and froze our butts off. Speaking of Pasadena, which is home of the Rose Bowl parade, right now there are a bunch of students outside Teatro Juarez making flower paintings in the street for breast cancer. I asked one of them if they had heard of the Rose Bowl because all of the floats are made of flowers. She hadn't and I don't know why I might have expected her to. When are you in Pasadena, Crellston?
I have a planning thread going on the California forum and hope to finalise our outline itinerary in the next week or so before moving on to our Australia trip to see family in Sept. Flights are booked for 11 Jan into SFO and 29 Jan out of LA. the plan is to take a week to drive down highway 1 and hit Pasadena 17/18 Jan and the do a few side trips out from our the house our friends have kindly loaned us. Definitely spending 2-3 days in Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove before moving on. Finding it much harder to plan a 18 day trip than I do 6 months. out of practice I guess, it been a long time!
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Old Oct 19th, 2021, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Tdiddy12 View Post
While Santa Cruz does have it's charm, the most logical stop from SF to LA is Monterey, California. Cannery Row, 17 Mile drive, Carmel by the Sea etc. Say hi to Big Sur for us. We camped there in April this year and froze our butts off. Speaking of Pasadena, which is home of the Rose Bowl parade, right now there are a bunch of students outside Teatro Juarez making flower paintings in the street for breast cancer. I asked one of them if they had heard of the Rose Bowl because all of the floats are made of flowers. She hadn't and I don't know why I might have expected her to. When are you in Pasadena, Crellston?
Keep going to Capitola just past Santa Cruz. Or stop at the Davenport Roadhouse before that!

I will repost the above on your other thread too.
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Old Oct 19th, 2021, 02:27 PM
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Crellston - We are home Jan. 18th, would love to meet you in Pasadena for a drink if you have time!
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Old Oct 19th, 2021, 02:57 PM
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mlgb - After freezing in Big Sur in April we spent two nights above Capitola at Monarch Cove Inn. It was cold in Capitola also but we weren't in a tent!
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Old Oct 20th, 2021, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Tdiddy12 View Post
Crellston - We are home Jan. 18th, would love to meet you in Pasadena for a drink if you have time!
will make time! letís sort something out nearer the time.
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Old Oct 20th, 2021, 07:28 AM
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Hi Tiddy, Iím enjoying your real time report. A quick question. Does Mexico require US citizens to compete some sort of advance locator form in order to enter the country? I donít see anything indicating that on the State Dept. website but I thought I read it somewhere else and if so, Iíd like to have it submitted prior to to my departure flight.

Many thanks.
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