A Sunday Morning Walk in Guanajuato

Street Entertainer- Looks Like Bronze Statue - Does Not Move Unless Paid - then Pours Tea
Basilica of the Lady of Guanajuato
Plaza de la Paz
It's Sunday in Guanajuato Mexico (4/29/18), and I went for a morning walk, not planning to stop anywhere, but just making my rounds from walking down the steep narrow alleyways to the main streets in "Centro', or the center of town where the main attractions are.

The photo above is a street entertainer, painted like bronze and unmoving, except for his eyes that blink occasionally. When someone decides to pay him, he moves like a robot, serves tea, and becomes even more photogenic. He has a speaker that plays jazz and he does this for hours on weekend days.

Also to the left is the Basilica of the Lady of Guanajuato, and I stood in the shadows across the street to avoid being in direct sunlight to take this photo. This is the major landmark and shrine in Guanajuato. It was built between 1671 and 1696, and the sculpture of the virgin Mary with child at the front altar is the oldest one in Latin Amercia, made in Andalusia Spain by an anonymous artist and given to the Basilica by Phillip II in 1557, as a sign of gratitude for Guanajuato being one of the largest silver mining towns in New Spain at the time.

500 Year Old Church in Centro
Jardin - fountain and bandstand
 Then as I walk back I pass another historic church, about 500 years old and next to the Theatro Juarez and the Jardin or central plaza and heart of the town.

Artists have their works displayed on the street which is for walking only, and blocked off from cars. It is busy on weekends, and yet also has visitors on weekdays.

The Jardin has fountains and is surrounded by restaurants with outdoor seating and mariachis playing traditional music.



Teatro Juarez
The trees that cover the Jardin are groomed and look like large bonsai trees. They are sculpted with a square type of design, and add to the beauty of the plaza with its gardens and fountains.

This morning walk also included a view of the Teatro Juarez, across from the Jardin and next to the 500 year old church. It is a major venue for cultural events and was built between  1872 to 1903 .

Guanajuato is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was once the most important silver extraction city in the world in the 18th century. It is also a university town and important cultural center in Mexico.

It was just a morning walk, yet one that was filled with visual beauty, appreciation, and the sense that being here in Mexico is an ongoing adventure of discovery, even when walking along streets more than once. Yet in addition to seeing the historic sites to me the most important experience is greeting and talking with the local Mexicans in Spanish.

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The Donkey with the Tequila - A Mexican Wedding Procession

View of a wedding procession from outside the front door of a house that I am staying at in San Miguel de Allende.
Mexico is a fiesta culture.....they celebrate everything here...well almost.....

In San Miguel de Allende,
there are many wedding processions and some that come right down the small cobblestone streets that are very common here. I heard the band playing so I had to go outside, and then saw the procession starting at the top of the street coming towards me....two large figures of colorful paper mache about 10 feet tall were among the crowd, dressed as a bride and groom. It is quite the visual when you first see one of these processions. I have seen a few here in San Miguel, including another one yesterday afternoon.

The bride and groom were surrounded by friends and family and almost everyone had a small ceramic shot glass of Tequila. A donkey was also walking towards the front of the procession with two boxes full of tequila bottles over its back and sides. An important part of the procession for sure.

I saw another wedding procession the next day, so I am combining photos from both.

Both the bride and groom are leading the large group. The tall figurines are also close to the front of the procession, as is the donkey. Tequila servers make sure that glasses are not empty when desired to be full.

There is signing, band music - mariachis playing, laughing, and the type of mood you would expect for a wedding procession.

If you are a tourist and caught in the middle of one of these, stand aside, and don't be too obvious taking photos to respect the dignity of the event. Since I was in my doorway I was not visible by most, so was able to sneak in a few shots. Photos shots, not tequila shots :) Although I am tempted to toast the bride and groom after I get my thoughts and photos down on this page. Stay tuned.

Journey to Palenque - Part 1

I am in Palenque for two weeks, revisiting an amazing Mayan site. I was here twice in 1987.  I will be updating this blog post with new i...