I’m spending Christmas and New Year’s in Querétaro, Mexico and many people have asked me, where is Querétaro, anyway?— so I thought I’d show you a map.
What I have discovered is that things are very cheap here! My hotel is about $55/night with a full breakfast buffet included.
Here’s the view from my hotel room:
Last night the family (six adults and one infant) went out to a seafood restaurant, and we all had cocktails and seafood entrées (No, not the baby!) and the total bill, including tip, was an amazing $70.
In Mexico it is customary to have a family dinner late on Christmas Eve (Noche Buena). And when I mean late, it means midnight. Yes, aside from a few chips and crackers, we were at a cousin’s house and did not eat the main meal until the clock struck midnight.
My son’s father-in-law took me back to the hotel about 1:30 am, but I understand the rest of the family did not leave until almost 4 am! That included baby Andrés!
My daughter-in-law’s aunty made a traditional drink called ponche navideño, which is a hot fruit punch with cane sugar and tejocotes, which look a little like crabapples.
Contrary to traditions in Hawaii, fireworks are a big deal in Mexico for Christmas. You can see in the photo below the family lighting sparklers.
On Christmas Day I was surprised to learn that many stores were open, and in the morning we even went shopping for some of the party goods (yes, they have Sam’s and Walmart here!) for Saturday’s baptism. After the seafood dinner, about 9:30 pm we went to the local mall in search of dessert, and I was very surprised to find the mall filled with people, even though many of the stores were closed.
We didn’t open presents until about 3:00 pm on Christmas afternoon.
One by one the gifts were brought from under the tree, and everyone watched each person open his or her gift with many words of thanks given after each one. If the present was an article of clothing, it was tried on right then and there, with everyone giving their words of approval.
In the days leading up to Christmas, we spent some time sightseeing and visiting Querétaro churches. Here are photos from Santuario de la Congregación de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.
And here is the Templo de Santa Clara whose ornate and gilded interior was something to behold. I even saw a pipe organ behind a screen.
And I never thought I would see a pyramid in Querétaro, but saw one on the way to my daughter-in-law’s cousin’s house. It’s called “El Cerrito,” and dates from 300 BC.
Querétaro— so many things to see, so little time!