Friday, April 24, 2009
My mom’s cousin Dan came to visit for Holy Week.
Dan at the local juice bar.
The beautiful view of the aquaduct arches.
We went to our friends' for a piñata party
On Good Friday, we headed out to watch people walk the Stations of the Cross on various routes throughout the city center.
People had set up stations outside their homes and there were refreshments offered at the end.
The procession up near Iglesia de la Cruz was the most intense: costumes, nuns, effigies of Christ and Mary, representations of the holy shroud...
In the evening we walked to be near the beginning of the route of the Procession of Silence. This was the most incredible experience. Silence. The hour-long procession began with garbage collectors. At first I was confused by this, but later it made a lot of sense.
Garbage Collectors clearing the way for the Procession of Silence
Then came the police and the Masters of Ceremony,
then the angels and the women in costume.
Then came hooded (in every color you can imagine!) men and children carrying crosses and large, heavy, bloody representations of Christ
Women dressed in black
People BAREFOOT carrying extremely heavy crosses (then it was clear WHY a clean up crew was so necessary!), dragging heavy chains attached to their ankles.
Walking with the hooded, barefoot, chained cross carriers, were people whose job it was to help them transfer the unwieldy crosses and effigies from one shoulder to another.
And to pick up stray stones and fragments that could cause serious damage to tender feet with lots of weight on them!
Onlookers, including children, sometimes leapt out to move dangerous objects that had been kicked up by the dragging chains.
It took over an hour for the entire procession to pass by our spot. They continued to parade through the center for at least 4 hours!
And the procession ended with another clean up crew.
The Holy Week Market. The devils have fireworks attached to them and are set off on Glory Saturday.
The next day my cousin Dan and I headed out on a whirlwind tour of the 5 Silver Cities: San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, Guanjuato, San Miguel de Allende, and back to Querétaro.
We had lunch in San Luis Potosí, which was built on a much grander scale than Querétaro.
Then we drove to the city of Zacatecas, which lies in a narrow valley and is incredibly stunning. This year the Cultural Festival coincided with Holy Week, so it was a lively weekend with lots of live music, theater, street markets and people from all over Mexico. But hardly any foreign tourists.
We had dinner at an amazing restaurant in a hotel that is a renovated bullring! You can see in this picture that the restaurant is multi-leveled and used to be seating for spectators.
We were fortunate that there was a family party right below us and they had hired musicians… so we were serenaded for the entire meal.
There is a stunning rock formation above the city called La Bufa, which is apparently from a word for wineskin.
On Easter Sunday we climbed up to the Bufa and had amazing views. It was lovely to be outside so much.
Incredible stone work
At the top of the mountain I met an eight year old girl who was on her own selling handmade
beaded bracelets and necklaces. I noticed her sitting alone studying and started to talk with her.
It turns out she is from the state of Querétaro, from an indigenous pueblo called Amealco. Despite my feelings about her climbing the mountain alone and spending the whole day alone in a semi-isolated spot, and child labor in general, I decided to buy a couple bracelets from her. She told me it took a day to bead them.
Check out the HUGE bag of Cheetos the scouts have in this pic!
An homage to my husband JOSE
The churchyard at the top of the mountain, with la Bufa behind.
I decided to take the Swiss-built cable car across the valley for views of the city.
Everyone waiting in line was entertained by clowns.
I had a great time taking pics as I wandered around town.
Easter Sunday soccer in the square where concerts were held
The amazing hotel next to ours… we walked through as often as possible. And had breakfast there!
Evening view from my hotel room
Morning coffee in a courtyard
We stopped for lunch in Jerez, the hometown of my friend Marcela’s parents! (Thanks Marcela for the great tip!) It is a beautiful town and there was a lot of activity: a mass in honor of migrants, the crowning of beauty queens,
and a music festival.
Next, we arrived in Guanajuato, which like Zacatecas is in a narrow valley… so narrow that burros are used to carry goods up the tiny winding streets.
We stayed in an amazing hotel
And I stayed up late to enjoy the sauna.
Breakfast on the roof
The first time I went to Guanajuato, last fall, I didn’t experience the tunnels. This time Dan and I explored the winding passages that used to be river (it has since been diverted to avoid flooding).
stairs down to the tunnels
Everyone seemed to be on a mission to get Guanajuato looking its best
Aaaaahhhh, the colors!
And then we lunched in San Miguel de Allende on our way back to Querétaro and saw some amazing murals
And the exhibit of my colleague Angelina Perez (actually my Fulbright application was to work with her, and even though we don’t live close enough for me to work with her regularly, I did take a series of workshops with her).
We arrived back in Querétaro exhausted and amazed that in 4 days we toured Central Mexico and hit all 5 Silver Cities!