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Published: September 30th 2018
Today we are visiting Ex Hacienda San Gabriel de Barras. This 17th century hacienda belonged, unsurprisingly, to San Gabriel de Barras!
It would be the easiest thing in the world to order an Uber but we decide that we’ll give the local bus a try. It is only 2.5km out of town and the walk into town will do us good.
There are not too many people around and the walk into the centre is pleasant, then we walk back to the west of the town to suss out the bus. We need to choose any bus heading to Marfil and ask for Hotel Mision. We try one bus but the driver seems to be saying no, it’s not this one.
To be honest we give up fairly quickly and decide to order an Uber. But today there are none - probably because quick rides around town are more lucrative. Now we are not sure...if no Uber is coming, how do we cancel our request? I take a chance by coming out of the app and then going back in - it shows ‘no upcoming rides’ so I am assuming the ride is not booked until Uber confirm!
We wait a while and try again. This time there is an Uber 6 minutes away, it tells us to move from our current position so we accept the ride, cross the road and are duly picked up 6 minutes later! Our driver speaks very good English and tells us that he is a trained lawyer. He has returned from Mexico City to be with his family so this is job is just a stop gap.
We are deposited at the entrance of the Hacienda where we are obliged to leave our rucksack. We then begin our tour of the Mexican equivalent of a National Trust property.
A hacienda is basically a fortified house - an outer defendable wall, inside of which is a smaller walled living enclosure. This hacienda dates back to the 17th century, so the fortifications took precedence. As with the Tudor equivalent fortified house, inside the walls were ‘gentrified’ by the addition of various formal gardens.
The house itself comprises a number of rooms over two floors on one side of the compound, all of which lead to over living areas, giving a spacious feel. The rooms have been restored to represent
various 17th and 18th century layouts with what look like original fittings.
It’s amazing that, apart from one other local couple (who are being photographed by a professional), we are the only people here! After our visit to the house, we linger in the gardens a while, enjoying the relative peace and the sunshine.
We are now headed back to town and, having located the correct bus stop, have decided to have another try with local public transport. Two buses thunder past as we make our way up the steep slope to the main road. No matter, these buses are pretty frequent. We sit on a wall in the shade and wait. A minibus comes hurtling towards us flashing its lights on and off. We interpret that to mean, do you want a lift or not? We leap off the wall and wave our arms. The minibus stops and we are on. Dos, Centro, I say and give the guy a handful of small change. He duly hands me back some change and we take a couple of single seats near the front. Far from being a chicken bus, this is a nice clean bus which gives us
an easy ride back to town all of the price of 16pesos (about 20p each!). Certainly beats walking.
Back in town we make our way to the chicken restaurant. Here, loads of chickens are being roasted on spits. We order a whole chicken to share and a side of beans. The meal turns up..,one chicken, one portion of taco and beans plus a huge platter of rice and coleslaw and a basket of tortilla wraps! There was definately no need for the side order! We munch our way through our late lunch and return to the hotel for siesta!
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