Visit the nicest alley in the...
Visit the nicest alley in the city, the so-called 'Kiss Alley' (Callejón del Beso) and is situated near de Plazuela de Los Angeles. It is a traditional narrow alley, which at its most famous point has two balconies, which are just 68 cm (27 inches) apart; here is the site of the legend that tells the tragic story of two young sweethearts. The legend of this street is about a loving couple whose families had a hate on each other. They only saw each other on their balconies, which were in front of each other. One day, her father catches her trying to kiss her lover. Her father punished her by keeping her in the house and never went out again. Nowadays, people go to this street special to kiss each other… NOTE: those two young sweethearts from the legend are not we (Elsa and me), but we did what we had to do when visit this spot ;-)
Florencio Antillón Park and Presa de la Olla
Another not very well known attraction outside the historical downtown, I think most of the people that reach this place come here as it is a stop in some city bus tours, that way they only take a quick look and they leave for their next stop. I first arrived here on one of those tours that my family was eager to take, since I almost always dislike this fast trips I talk them into visiting the place again next day, this time at our own pace.
The name of the park was given to honor Florencio Antillón, a militar and governor of the city of Guanajuato, when we were there the park had no people on it, so we had a very calmed and relaxing walk around it, it has several gardens and it finishes on a small dam called San Renovato.
There are a couple of gardens on the park, the one that is nearest to the dam has a statue of Miguel Hidalgo, there is also a typical mexican kiosc. After that there is another dam called Presa de la Olla with a lighthouse on the shore wich, when I was there, was open making it possible to walk to the top of it, I have no idea what is the use of the lighthouse in that place were there has never been ships, but it is still a nice view.
Finally there is another garden in wich I found out a tomb that no tourist guide or web page told me about, the famous and great mexican writer Jorge Ibargüengoitia is buried there, probably Ibargüengoitia is unkown for many foreigners but he is a very respected writer and it was a nice surprise to find his tomb; it also gave me a chance to rant about tours: "see, if we had not come on our own to this place we would have nerver found out about this" finding this unexpected things make traveling more rewarding for me.
On a bad note the small ammount of visitors might be the cause for this place not to be as good taken care off as others, I say this because regretfully when we entered the lighthouse there was a terrible urine odor, my guess is that at night some drunk people decided it was a good place to attend their needs, and since the place is open and empty there was nobody to stopped them, also there was nobody to clean next morning and the smell stays there, for us it was nothing but an incentive to reach the top quickier so we could breath fresh air and it was nothing that would ruin our visit, but it is not nice to find that when you enter a place and it could easily be avoided, that was some years ago so maybe it is better taken care off now.
Treat Yourself to a Walking Tour
A very large amount of Guanajuato is pedestrian, no vehicle traffic allowed, so this is a perfect spot to get some excersise in on your holidays. The streets are quite narrow, so no cars would fit. This city is not too large (pop. 100,000) also, located at alt: 2017 metres. It was in the past historically one of Mexico's richest. After silver was found in Zacatecas, Spanish prospectors combed the rugged lands north of Mexico City and were rewarded by discoveries of silver, gold, iron, lead, zinc and tin. For two centuries 30% to 40% of the world's silver was mined in Guanajuato. In my humble opinion, Guanajuato is the perfect quiet honeymoon spot, very, very romantic.
You can hire a taxi tour up into the hills surrounding the city, this I have not done, but perhaps next time I get down there. You know what it's like, all the best laid plans of mice and men....don't always pan out. This beautiful painting was done by a local Vancouver artist by the name of Sam Logan, who has himself travelled extensively. Check out his website.
This Neo-Classical structure houses an impressive theater, complete with grand salons, parlors, atrium/skylights, etc. Run by the Instituto Estatal de la Cultura, a peek inside this magnificent building is worth the few pesos and minutes it takes to see the interior of this historic structure.
Performances are still held in the theater, and stepping into the foyer and the parlors and the main auditorium, all you have to do is close your eyes and reopen them to imagine stepping back in time and coming to this grand building. Unfortunately we visited during the day when there were no performances scheduled, but it must be a treat to see a performance in this majestic theatre.
Open Tuesday - Sunday
General Admission: $20 pesos
Poke Around Diego Rivera's House
I went to Guanajuato over Semana Santa, and was disappointed to find the Diego Rivera Museum closed for the afternoon on Good Friday and the entire next day, although it re-opened with normal hours on Easter Sunday. The museum is located in Rivera's childhood home, and features an eclectic, disorganized collection of his works, as well as information about his life and random exhibits of art not only not created by Rivera, but also not related to his life or works. The main floor of the house is is historical recreation of a typical house from Rivera's time, allowing visitors to imagine the way he might have lived as a child. On the upper floors you will find many of Rivera's less important works, arranged in seemingly random order and with virtually no information on a work-by-work basis. Interspersed in other rooms are photographs of Rivera and Frida Kahlo, as well as information about their life and the period they lived in. In other rooms you will find random art exhibits about whatever piques the curiousity of-- a curator? During my visit there were displays of religious artifacts on two of the four floors. Kind of weird.
The museum is extremely cheap, costing only about fifteen pesos ($1.50 US/CAD). It is worth a visit, but there is definitely a lot of room for improvement.