In yesterday’s one day visit to Guanajuato, here are the numbers:
- 5. The types of vehicles I rode in: private car, taxi, 15-passenger van, city bus, and private luxury bus.
- 10. Number of places I visited. This included 5 churches, 4 organs, a state theatre, a mountain top statue, a horror museum, an abandoned gold mine, and a jewelry store.
- 4.4. Number of miles I walked
- 10,267. Number of steps I took
- 53. Number of flights I climbed. This included 160 meters of very steep and treacherous steps DOWN and UP in the mine.
- 23. The number of hours from time of waking until I got back to my hotel to sleep
Oh, my aching feet and tired body!
As I was thinking about the day I was planning to spend with my youngest brother, his wife, my niece and her husband, I woke up at 3:48am in anticipation of an interesting day, and never got back to sleep, knowing the alarm was going to sound at 6:15 and my son was going to take me to the central bus station at 7:00 am.
It was a little more than a two hour ride to Guanajuato, a World Heritage site with a history rich with mining. From Wikipedia:
Mining had been done in this area long before the Spanish arrived. Late in the pre-Hispanic period the Aztecs had a presence here, specifically to look for metals to make ornamental objects for their political and religious elite. Some stories from this time state that the area was so rich in minerals that nuggets of gold could be picked up from the ground.
We began our visit to the Teatro Juarez, rated #1 of 76 things to do in Guanajuato by TripAdvisor. One reviewer wrote: It just takes your breath away… built between 1873 and 1903… inaugurated by President Don Porfirio Diaz a magnificent architectural icon… it just takes your breath away…
Although the short tour we took was all in Spanish, my sister-in-law Sandra translated enough of the guide’s remarks for us to get the gist.
Of the five churches we visited certainly one of the most memorable was Templo Valenciana, (San Cayetano) with three highly decorated and gilded altars. It was located just next to a gold mine which certainly made it convenient to get all that gold! It was built by Antonio de Ordóñez y Alcocer, the owner of the mine, to give thanks to his patron saint, Saint Cajetan, for the riches the mine provided.
Two of the organs we saw were installed facing the side wall which I told my family was “wrong,” as they should have been turned to sound into the long axis of the room. Unfortunately we did not hear any of them.
We also visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalajara, the Templo de San Diego, and the Templo de la Compania.
We took a tour via 15-passenger van to the top of the mountain overlooking the city where we saw a large statue, Monumento al Pipila, and an absolutely spectacular view of the colorful city below.
Another stop was at the House of Laments or Casa de los lamentos. This mansion was the house of a serial killer active during the 1890s through the 1910s named Tadeo Fulgencío Mejía. After his wife Constanza died in an assault, Tadeo Mejía became unhinged. In the 1890s, his delusional attempts to contact his dead spouse lead to a murderous spree in which he mummified his victims. It’s said that the groans and shrieks of Mejía’s victims still echo through the mansion where his sinister deeds were carried out.
Wouldn’t you believe it, there was an exhibit of a scary guy at an organ playing Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor!
Our last stop was at the abandoned gold mine next to La Valenciana, and you can see that everyone had to wear hard hats. The steep steps going down but especially up, were a definite challenge for everyone!
I walked into my hotel room about 1:05 am so it had been an incredibly long day. Tomorrow is baby Andrés’ baptism!