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Published: August 22nd 2009
Pablo warned us that the road to Vera Cruz was a bit hard to drive. It wasn't as bad as we expected after hearing this disclaimer, although it was a curvy two lane highway through the mountains for much of the drive. We went up and down through the mountains and watched the trees pass us by. The scenery here is different from anything I've ever seen. Mexico is full of regional differences!
We drove to the beach and decided to figure out our hotel later. I wasn't sure this was a good idea at first, worrying a bit about leaving all our things in the car, but I certainly enjoyed laying in the sand and splashing in the water. There was a futbol game to watch that afternoon (Barcelona was playing), so we found a place near the beach to watch it. I laid around in the sand for a while, not feeling very well, while Silvia and Pablo went to the beach side restaurant and bar. I joined them later.
Driving around, we got lost trying to find the hotel we heard about, and it was not in a very nice part of town. The streets are
indeed confusing here if you are not familiar with them. I hadn't realized that many hotels here have rooms for around $120 pesos per night! This was a happy surprise. We checked into our very hot and stuffy rooms and ended up sleeping early.
The next morning we set off to find a traditional place that served coffee, Vera Cruz style. The place in the zócalo was closed due to the flu, but we heard about another place. We walked around and heard about how crowded it usually was here. There were still some marimba players out, but no one was dancing. We went to the tourism office and found that everything here was closed too. We took
a map and walked around to see the beautiful and important buildings around (from the outside), then checked our email and headed back to the car. But first, we stopped at a little cart in the plaza where Pablo was excited to find a woman selling Cuban cigars - he always likes to talk about his trip to Cuba, and Vera Cruz does have some other similarities to Cuba, historically and still visibly (see the fotos).
We headed to a
Silvia had fun seeing the labyrinth of passageways in a typical Mexican market.
park that had been close to our hotel and found the recommended restaurant, a common place for locals to hang out. We had a fabulous breakfast and the coffee was wonderful.
Here in Vera Cruz, coffee is brewed from mild roasted beans and served very concentrated and cold in the bottom of a tall glass. Hot milk is poured in when it is time to drink it.
Pablo wanted to show us a few of the historical sites he remembered from childhood, so we headed out to see the malecón, and after that we went to see the old fort. Of course, we could only see things from the outside, due to la gripa (the flu). Vera Cruz was the first Spanish settlement on the continent, so there are some interesting old military buildings here. It became an very important port town for world trade.
We went to the market to pick up some coffee beans and some cd's for the car. We decided to head out to the country to find some coffee growers - surely something would be open! On our way out of the city we drove through the grounds of a famous university.
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