Mexico - Zacatecas

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July 22nd 2011
Published: July 24th 2011
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David here...

We got up especially early (06:30am) as the bus from Guadalajara to Zacatecas takes 5 hours and we wanted to get there early enough so we could get into our chosen hostel. We got to the bus stop to the bus terminal and jumped onto a bus after both of us checking with the driver that he did in fact go to the bus station. After about 40 minutes we ended up on a random street in Beunos Aires, we think...nowhere near the bus terminal. We asked the driver again and he just said in Spanish that he did not understand. We were quite angry at this as we´d both specifically asked him, so angry in fact that I think he realised he had made a big boo-boo and gave us our money back, though we still had to pay to get back into the centre of town. This meant that our early start was obliterated. It was 09:30 by the time we did get to the bus station, where fortunately there were still tickets available for the 10:00 bus. The journey did indeed take 5 hours, which was pretty uneventful. This time it was with the Omnibus de Mexico company and was quite comfortable, though we did have to put up with an Adam Sandler film which is never good. We arrived in Zacatecas at 15:00 and jumped straight onto a Ruta 8 bus that took us right to the cathedral. We found our hostel (The Colonial Villa) and took a double room with private bathroom for M$250 (£14), a bargain price for Mexico. The hostel was nice enough. The room was not exceptionally clean but manageable, the hostel had 2 kitchens, a nice roof terrace, a massive book exchange and the staff were exceptionally friendly.

We took our time in getting ready and headed out to see what we could see. The city itself is a UNESCO listed place, but not as pretty or crowded as say Guanajuato. It has a lovely cathedral and churches and some nice architecture and is good to walk round. Like Guanajuato it always seems to have something going on in each of the plazas dotted around town. We walked for a few hours before going to Los Dorados de Villa for dinner. We were intrigued by the idea of having to knock on the permanently locked door to get in and also having to enter an aviary to go to the toilet. The place was filled with stuff all to do with the revolution and Pancho Villa, and the food was pretty good as well, especially the buttery guacamole we had. After dinner we were so tired after the long day that we just headed back to the hostel, I grabbed a couple of M$10 beers from the hostel fridge and we relaxed until bedtime.

The next morning we headed out to the Museo de Arte Abstracto Manuel Felguérez and spent a good few hours looking at the pictures and sculptures. We stopped of for lunch at the Acropolis Cafe for sandwiches and then headed up to the hill by the Telerifico cable car. Once at the top we headed straight over to the zip-line across an old tin mine. This zip-line is the 3rd longest either in Central America or the world, we were'nt quite sure, at 840m of actual flying time. At only M$150 each it was an absolute bargain and we both got kitted out (included a rather fetching hair net) and zipped across and back again. Curiously neither of us found it scary at all, but it was extremely invigorating. We then wandered round the top of the hill, enjoying the view before walking back down to our hostel, which we reached just before it started raining quite heavily. That night we headed out to a plaza next to the Mercado Gonzalez Ortega where every Thursday night a brass band play international and local favourites and was very enjoyable. We then headed to El Pueblito for dinner where we enjoyed some local specialties that were very very tasty. I had the Reliquia Zacatecana, a dish filled with Pork in sauce, beans, noodles and rice and Suzanne had Enchiladas Zacatecanas Roja, cheese enchiladas in a special sauce. After that we were quite tired so we headed back to the hotel, again picking up some beer and read in our room, forgoing the Margarita party in the hostel that was quite noisy until about 01:30am.

We had already booked our tickets onward to Morelia on the 00:30 bus so we had a whole day to kill before getting our overnight bus. We stayed in our room until checking out time and then headed to the Museo Rafael Coronel and spent a good 2 hours wandering round the old ruins and enjoying the massive collection of masks and the smaller collection of art. We headed into the centre of town, stopping off at Starbucks for a coffee and Blueberry muffin (We could not find an open independent cafe, alright?!) and then popped into a bank to pay our Tourist departure tax, which has to be paid in any Mexican bank before you get to the airport departure area otherwise you could be fined. We then headed to another gallery, the Museo Pedro Coronel which has an amazing collection of contemporary art, including Picasso, Dali and Ernst. We expected to be in there about an hour but it was closer to 2 and a half hours when we finally emerged. It really is amazing how a small city like Zacatecas can have such fine museums and galleries.

That evening we went to Viva Mexico for dinner and had a very nice meal. Suzanne had Viva Mexico enchiladas, which consisted of 6 enchiladas with a cheese filling and 3 different sauces in the colours of the Mexican flag. I had Pechuga Rellenas which was a chicken breast that had been filled with what could've been Mushrooms in a sweet black sauce, and was lovely. One of the best sauces in Mexico I have tried. After the meal we picked up our packs from the hostel and went to the bus stop where the Ruta 8 goes past to take us to the bus station. It was only 20:50 so we thought we would have no problems catching a bus. The traffic around the city was manic and moving very slowly, however we had no worries that a bus would turn up as we did have over 3 hours until our bus. Eventually we moved to another stop where the Ruta 7 ran past which also went to the bus station however not a single bus passed us. We could only speculate that the buses stop running at a certain time, so after over an hour of fruitless waiting we succumbed to one of the many taxis and reached the bus station with plenty of time to spare before our bus to Morelia.

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