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Published: September 25th 2018
We may have bagged the only room in the hotel with windows but last night we payed the price because it was hellishly noisy! The traffic belts up the road at breakneck speed over the ancient cobbles, plus there was the noise from all the fiesta revellers.
This morning we decide to have breakfast in the hotel as they have a cosy little cafe. Ian orders a vegetarian omelette whilst I stick with the healthy fruit and yoghurt option. When the food arrives I am presented with a whole mango and various other fruits as well as a bowl of yoghurt and some sprinkles. The sprinkles are delicious and turn out to be peanuts and chocolate - not so healthy after all then! Ian’s omelette turns up covered in guacamole - he says it is spicy but nice. I’m glad I chose the fruit!
First job of the day is to deliver a huge bag full of laundry to the local laundrette. It’s just round the corner and we locate it without too many problems. With the help of Google translate we book in our load which is duly weighed and costed up - it will be ready to
collect this evening.
Now we head off into the old town to complete a walking tour of the centre. Our first port of call is at the largest mansion in town - a neo-classical building which is now a bank. Passing the Templo de la Conception, a huge domed church, we arrive at the interrogation building of the Inquisition and its associated prison.
From here we walk up a steepish cobblestone street until we reach La Parroquia, the red sandstone neo-gothic parish church which dominates the main square. It has a very beautiful, if somewhat OTT, interior. Passing through the plaza, we arrive at yet another domed church with impressive carved exterior before arriving at the Templo de Nuestra Senora de la Salud - a small chapel with a giant shell-like entrance.
We stop for a coffee in the park before ambling back to the hotel. It seems like we have now seen all the main sights on offer in the centre. We have three days here so we need to pace ourselves :-).
We have been trying to arrange a visit to Canada de la Virgen, a pre-hispanic complex about an hours drive from here.
It’s turning out to be quite difficult. We had assumed there would be tour agencies in town, if not our hotel, falling over themselves to sell us a tour - they are advertised on the internet and certainly not cheap...probably because you are not allowed to visit without a guide! Even the hotel cannot raise the main man - Mr Albert Coffee (yes, that really is his name) - to make a reservation. A walk to his advertised office address reveals a handicraft shop...yes they do know him but he’s not here and they can’t take the booking! They take down our details and tell me Albert will be in touch.
We go for another wander around the town picking up some freshly barbecued corn on the cob an a snack...it’s 3pm and I am decidedly peckish.
It seems that this is the town for Italian restaurants...but whilst we could murder a pizza, we did eat pasta last night and I am still trying hard not to pile on the pounds! Chicken on a spit also seems to be popular with the locals so we opt to give it a try in a hole-in-the-wall place. As usual, language
is a bit of a barrier in this very much local/non-tourist type eatery. Duo pollo por favour...the lady seems to understand what we want! A young girl of around ten years old snaps the lids off a couple of drinks from the chiller cabinet, and a little while later our chicken arrives. It is in a bun with salad - not quite what we were expecting for our main meal, but it’s tasty all the same.
Now back at the hotel, there is no WiFi and the router is hanging off the wall. It seems like the young man on reception who has also carried our luggage, pressed our orange juice, prepared breakfast, waited at tables, mended our bedside lamp (albeit somewhat dangerously - Ian has warned me not to touch the plug!) not to mention assisting us with our tour booking using google translate, is now tasked with fixing the broadband. The only thing I haven’t seen him do so far is cleaning the rooms!
And now we have some further confusion. Albert Coffee has emailed me to say we are on the 10am tour tomorrow whilst our friend at reception has an email confirming us for
the 9am Wednesday group! Much more frantic typing to ensure that we are not double booked, but it would appear that Albert doesn’t actually take any bookings at all - he just turns up at the meeting point every day and takes whoever happens to be standing around! Phew, that’s all sorted then! :-)
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