10 hours with autobus seems every time less…we’re getting used to traveling and in no time we are in Zacatecas.
After finding a cheap hostel (Villa Colonial) we go for a walk in this minor colonial city. Churches, chapels, cathedrals, more churches, small places with fountains are passing by as we enter deeper in the heart of the city. We wonder through small shopping streets and hallways that connect the different and every time smaller streets till we find a little bar with TV and you can guess… Italy-Spain is on!!! We eat some tacos while watching the game (which Spain won of cours) and at the same time we have plenty of time to observe “the coming and going “, the way of interacting in this society.
Later on the evening we cook us some pasta and make us ready for the night. We let ourselves seduce for the “nights of legends” where different colonial-high-society-dressed performers, guide us through the town telling us the legends and stories as we pass by the different emblematic buildings. It’s a beautiful warm night; people are acting on the streets, folklore, demonstrations of “parcour“, weddings and clown doing their thing. We see artists from painting till theater with any other gender in between. From one-man-bands till philharmonic symphonies that march through the town center. It’s all excessive and it all sounds like “¡¡¡fiesta!!!”.
To end the evening we enter in “Alma Brava”, a restaurant/bar on the 2nd floor with a lovely view over the old town and the lighted Bufa with its palace sharpens the horizon. Some Joaquin Sabina phrases are decorating the walls, which surprises us, so as we congratulate the owner for his poetic taste, we find out that he is from Madrid, with ‘Castilla & Leon’ roots! We have a nice conversation and are invited to eat a paella the next evening… finally a meal without beans! We fall asleep, dreaming of paella and tapas.
Why are Zacatecas’ mines important? The mines are the reason for Zacatecas beauty, for centuries gold, silver, iron and other metals were extracted and bringing welt to Zacatecas’ high society and even more to Spain. Zacatecas Counts and Marquises invested in their city, to make it over whelming and for this powerful. Spain on the other hand got richer and richer till the mines were empty or better became too dangerous to exploit. The El Eden Mine is definitely a place to visit as it’s made easy to walk through and has stunning underground-river-views, museum of minerals, a miniature chapel and even the deepest underground night club in the world.
Walking back home we pass some parks, ¡some churches and chapels!, the aqueduct and the Temple of Fatima (a reproduction of the Portuguese one). In the evening we get lucky as it is the year before the 100th birthday of the “La toma de Zacatecas” (which we might translate as the battle of Zacatecas, 1914) one of the strategic battles in the liberation of Mexico and the death of Pancho Villa. A representation with many actors, horses, fire pits, fake blood, live music and fireworks. We really enjoyed it and got wiser as knowing more about Mexico’s history. With the last explosion, the sky lightens up and thousands of firework-stars in all colors are falling over us. We escape the scene before it gets crowded and we can’t get any more to our Spanish dinner. Alma Brava did it again and tears of joy were about to roll down our cheeks as the fork reached our mouths. Thanks to you Luis Miguel.
Today we got to Jerez, a one day excursion because we can’t say goodbye yet to our 250 pesos apartment with kitchen and terrace. Jerez is beautiful, the same as Zacatecas; colonial with big historic buildings but much smaller. Lots of beautiful parks with altered types of gardens, sculptures, some fountains without water and… an outraged number of banks, seriously… counting them would be a hard task, where we sit down and watch the village movements for hours. Music is sweeping through the streets, some Mexican ‘cowboys’ park their horses in between the cars and at each corner there is something worth watching.
We are deep in Mexican territory and we can breathe Mexican culture at all times. This is what we came for… settlements without tourism where you can chat with some natives, understanding nothing and still enjoying the amusing heart-to-heart.