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Published: March 18th 2012
We said good-bye to Ed, Michelle and Red at San Miguel de Allende Trailer Park
They had had enough of Central Mexico and were anxious to head to the coast so Red could run on the beach.
Lunes, 5 March, we said goodbye to Ed and Michelle and struck off on our own to Zacatecas. Leaving San Miguel, the terrain appeared to be mostly ranch land. Then we crossed an arid Nevada looking stretch. Nearing Zacatecas most acreage appeared to be used for grain cultivation.
We are camped on the site of Hotel Hacienda del Bosque and RV Park. Being adjacent to the highway, it is pretty noisy but truck noise has never kept us awake. The facilities here are excellent but expensive – 350 pesos per night. The only time we’ve paid more was for our luxury accommodations at Rincon de Guayabitos. Here, they have us over a barrel because the same company owns the only two campgrounds in town.
The elevation in Zacatecas is over 8000 feet but the weather is moderate. A bit cool at night but no jackets are needed during the day. Owing to the vast mining wealth of the region, this is a beautiful city with many impressive buildings. It deserves more than the one day we are giving it but, well, frankly we’re just tired of sightseeing and are glad we have only Guadalajara to visit before returning to
Hotel Hacienda Bosque pump operated aqueduct.
We parked along side this pump operated aqueduct at our Zacatecan campground.
Today, we explored the town, starting first with a visit to Mina el Eden (El Eden Mine) which opened in 1583 and closed in 1960s. The tour began with a train ride to the fourth level about 900 feet below ground level. (Mining had gone down three more levels.) Though there are still valuable minerals below but continuous flooding made mineral extraction futile. We had expected our tour to be offered in Spanish only but we were lucky that there was an English speaking guide available. El Eden was one of Mexico’s most productive silver mines. It also produced gold, copper and other minerals in addition to quartz and crystals. It is said that five to seven miners died each day of operation. Children were used to carry water seepage to the surface. Miners started working at age fourteen. Most men died by age thirty-five due to mine collapses, injuries or breathing problems from the mineral dust.
The largest mine in the region, the 200 year old El Bote is still in operation. They do not give tours.
From our mine tour, we took the 2100 foot cable car ride from Cerro Grillo across the
El Eden mine.
Discovered in 1583, El Eden was one of Mexico’s most productive silver mines.
valley above the city to the much higher hill Cerro de la Bufa at 8758 feet. We opted to walk back down, visited the Museo Rafael Coronel (mask museum) housed in the 400 year old Ex-convento de San Francisco. For the most part, the masks were grotesque. While the mask museum section was a disappointment to me, the museum had an excellent collection of puppet dioramas and ancient pottery which were pleasant to look at.
Maybe due to the elevation and possibly a mild virus, I wasn’t feeling too well so we skipped the city’s impressive cathedral basilica. We also neglected to walk the few blocks to the suburb of Guadalupe which served as the base of operations for the missions established in the southwestern United States.
We topped off our day with dinner at Los Dorados de Villa recommended by both AAA, Let’s Go and our mining tour guide. The restaurant specialized in enchiladas. Ray had enchiladas Zacatecans while I had enchiladas Valentines. Both were delicious and totally unlike the American version of enchiladas. The name of the place refers to “the golden ones” Pancho Villa’s honor guard of fearless soldiers. The owner is a collector of
This little train took us down four levels about 900 feet.
Mining operations had continued down another three levels.
memorabilia. Artifacts and reproductions from La Revolution cover the walls. All of this is explained on the menu in Spanish but as I don't read or speak Spanish, I had to research on line.
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