We are now in the historic town of Guanajuato, known affectionately by locals as GTO. Picture a Spanish colonial town nestled in the far end of a small valley. There are brightly colored buildings lining narrow winding streets. There are many quiet parks, plazas with fountains, and interesting churches. Colorful flowers spill over balconies. Now add street vendors and street performers. This gives you a tiny sample of this amazing city. One of our group says she feels like she is in a Disneyland version of an old Mexican town, in all the best ways. And I haven’t even mentioned the wonderful artisan shops and restaurants.
Given its layout, this is a walking town. The locals say that the fastest way to get around is just to walk but no one seems to be in a hurry to get anywhere. This may be due to the fact that there are also inviting benches in the plazas, pleasant outdoor cafes, and strolling musicians. Continue reading →
Today was our first excursion day. We had to leave the hotel early and drove to three significant historical sites. Our first stop was Plaza Tlatelolco, also known as the Plaza de las Tres Culturas. Representative of the blending and layering of history that is so typical of Mexico City, this plaza has Aztec ruins, a 17th century church and 1950’s era apartment building.
Next we drove to a major religious site for the Catholic Church – the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The old basilica, built in the 1600s, is slowly sinking due to soft ground. After several hundred years the tilt is very significant. When you walk inside if feels very strange because the front part is sinking faster than the back, causing quite the slanting floor. The new basilica now houses the original timal, Juan Diego’s cloak that has the image of the virgin on it. We saw several pilgrimage processionals. It is a very popular place, there were throngs of visitors from all over the world. The image of this Virgin is everywhere in Mexico – tshirts, mugs, posters, jewelry, etc. Continue reading →
Wednesday I saw a considerable amount of the murals of Diego Rivera, maybe a little too much of a good thing. The murals, at the time they were painted, represented a democratization of art, putting the art on public walls where everyone could enjoy it. Two government buildings with many of their walls covered in Rivera murals are the Secretaria Education Publica (SED) – which is the Department of Public Education – and the Palacio Nacional. Continue reading →
There are eight in our group of adventuring educators. We are similar in many ways but also incredibly diverse in our areas of specialization. This makes for a fascinating mix. One way that we are all similar is that each member of the team is a well-seasoned traveler, this isn’t the first international rodeo for anyone here. For example: Lovinder has been to base camp in Napal, Elizabeth has been almost everywhere, Cap does medical missions frequently to Central and South America. We get to share our crazy travel stories with an appreciative audience. We also get to swap travel tips and techniques. Continue reading →