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North America » Mexico » Zacatecas » Zacatecas
October 1st 2018
Published: October 2nd 2018
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Zacatecas


Today we sleep in late - that’s the trouble with these rooms without a real window! I must have been tired as I completely slept through the sound of the cathedral bells though Ian reports a disturbed night.

Our first task today is to take our washing to the laundry. The one nearest to us has only two reviews and one of them says the woman who runs it is rude and loses half your stuff! There is another one just up the road and it’s on the way to the teleferic (cable car) - it has no reviews but we decide to take our chances. We arrive at 9.30am to find its doors firmly bolted. It’s Monday, so is that closing day or are we just too early? Armed with google translate I enter the adjacent convenience store. The guy is pretty grumpy but eventually writes down 10am on a piece of paper and thrusts it at me. Muchos Gracias. We decide to get a take away coffee to placate him and take it to the bench opposite to await the laundry opening.

As we drink our coffee Ian notes a store opposite...also with doors firmly closed ‘La Ranita Sexy’ - I think it’s pretty obvious what that is! Although it actually turns out to be a women’s clothing shop! I am more interested in it’s neighbour - a restaurant serving breakfasts! It’s actually quite chilly out here and we have half an hour to wait. We go inside and place our orders...healthy fruit, yoghurt and granola for me whilst Ian orders pancakes. They arrive with maple and vanilla syrup. I don’t know whether to feel self righteous or jealous!

It’s 10am and the laundry is open. We hand over our huge bag of clothes which is duly weighed. I have arrived with my translation pre-prepared but the guy behind the counter has a smattering of English. He can wash and dry but he doesn’t iron. No matter there’s an ironing board in our room so I assume there must be an iron we can borrow. Otherwise, we will just have to look scruffy - no change there then :-). Do we want it today or tomorrow? Tomorrow will do as long as it’s no later as we are off early the following day! Visions of our last Indian trip and missing clothes run through my mind! It will be 54 pesos (around £2) - absolute bargain! We paid more than four times the price in San Miguel, though to be fair we think it was a larger load and the lady did iron some of it.

Now it’s time to find the teleferic, our first point of interest today. This involves a climb up several steep flights of stairs interspersed with side streets. It really doesn’t look far on the map and, in truth, it isn’t - just that the map is flat with no indication just how steep this hillside is! Never mind, it’s good exercise, and penance for Ian - who has still not been forgiven for devouring those pancakes drenched in syrup.

We arrive at the teleferic station and, apart from one other guy, we are the only ones there. It’s a very well built Swiss cable car which would normally seat eight but we are given our own, as was the guy in front of us. There is a huge panoramic window on one side which makes for excellent photography, although it’s sending my legs to jelly. It really is a long way down!

We disembark and take photos of the fabulous panorama of the city below. Now we head for the camera obscura. We did this once before, in Scotland, and found it very interesting. Here we are the only visitors so we get a private viewing. The guy tries very hard to explain in English and makes a good job of it. He points out all the places of main interest, which is very useful for putting things in context.

Now we make our way up the pathway higher, passing some fine bronze statues of the three victors of the 1914 revolutionary battle. One of these is Pancho Villa. Now we climb up to the highest point of the Cherro de la Bufa. Literally translated, bufa means wine skin as the Mexicans believe this is what the rock formation looks like. At the top, more fine panoramic views and a mausoleum to the illustrious figureheads of Zacatecas.

This done, we descend to be accosted by a young man all clad in white. He claims to be a trainee doctor and wants to take our blood pressure...for a small donation of course. Hmmm, sounds like a scam to me. We decline the invitation. I don’t need to be able to speak Spanish to get the jist if his comments....huh, farang (foreign tourists), I spit on the ground you walk on!

We return to the teleferic for our return trip...this time with the panoramic view to the other side. It doesn’t seem quite as scary going down. Ian thinks maybe the wind has dropped. From here we are headed for a disused silver mine. Somehow we manage to make a wrong turning and find ourselves at the city hospital - time to dig out google maps - however did we manage before smartphones?

It turns out that we are only slightly off route and soon find ourselves at the mine entrance where, once again, we are the only visitors. We are each given a hairnet and hard hat, then we board a train which takes us through the mine to their museum. Here, our guide leaves us to explore on our own. It’s a magnificent collection of mineral samples collected from Mexico and worldwide. We are invited to turn lights on and off to see how some pieces containing photo synthesising chemicals rocks look like ordinary stone in the light but glow in the dark.

Our tour continues through various levels of the mine with detailed explanation (most of which we don’t understand, but we try not to let on). We gather that there are seven levels in the mine but the lowest two are now permanently flooded. The models also give some clues. Our guide shines his torch on some huge bats hanging upside down above us. Do we like bats and spiders, he asks. Well it’s a bit late to ask about the bats but I beg him not to shine his torch on any spiders unless he can cope with a hysterical arachnophobe!

Other points of interest are a night club (only open at weekends) where everything is rock - including the music (I think that might have been a joke) and a waterfall where people chuck money (a Mexican wishing well). We conclude our tour and our guide tells us he has conducted the tour out of the goodness of his heart and we can give him a tip if we like! Well, he certainly wasn’t backward in coming forward and I don’t think that is quite true as you cannot see this mine without a guide and we paid to come in. Nevertheless, he has tried very hard (even if we didn’t understand a word he said), so we tip him anyway :-).

The tour ends at a lift which would take us straight up to the entrance of the teleferic if we had not already been there! So we retrace our steps to the train and say goodbye to our guide.

Now we are off in search of the Ruinas de Casa del Geberal Arechiga. I have taken this to be a site of archeological interest - but when google maps takes us to it, back via the hospital, it turns out to be a park with more bronze statues, some sitting on benches. It is pleasant all the same.

We make our way back towards our hotel, passing some more interesting churches and plazas en route. Now we stop for a couple of tacos in the restaurant opposite. We choose four different fillings to sample some variety, taking care not to order the fiery hot one that I ordered yesterday! They all turn out to be yummy with no nasty surprises.

It’s now 3pm and we find that the cathedral has closed. We decide to try the Inquisition Museum. The write ups are good...but then so were those for the Mummy Museum! It’s a tad pricey by Mexican standards (although not by ours), but they say that it will close at 4pm so there isn’t enough time. We give it a miss and have a brief wander around the streets instead.

It’s time for our evening meal and we go to a restaurant just up the road which has the look of a 1950s American diner. Actually, we very much doubt that it has been designed to look this way...we think it probably is a 1950s diner. Anyway the food tastes good.


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2nd October 2018

Great blog!
Just found your blog and thoroughly enjoyed it - sounds like another great trip for you both!

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