The Guad Squad!
Sorry friends. I was just too tired last night to do a blog post about our day in Guadalajara but I did get photos processed and put into a public album on my FB page. You are welcome to visit to peruse the entire album at your convenience.
I picked Chris up at 9am and we met Vickie at the Chapala bus station. I've been past it numerous times but never inside. Glad I was doing my first exposures on this trip with friends, zero anxiety level.
There are local busses and longer distance busses. This trip required a longer distance and much more comfortable bus which cost us 55 pesos each way (about $3 USD). Erik was already in Guad so we met him there when we switched to the local bus to get us into the centre area of Guad (7 pesos - about 10 cents). These local busses are mostly "stand up, hold on, and get thrown around" busses and they are a bit of a challenge. You can also take a taxi or Uber if the bus is just too much for you but they are more expensive.
Downtown wasn't too busy yet and the weather was perfect. Erik and Chris were fantastic guides showing us some of the centre highlights and also making sure I was able to find the couple of must haves on my shopping list. It was a joy just meandering in the sunshine and learning things about this beautiful city, the heart of the state of Jalisco.
The outdoor art sculptures and statues entranced me. The enormous open walkways with fountains and art and vendors and people shopping or just out for the fresh air, it all enveloped me and wiped out everything else in my consciousness. So many things they pointed out and told us stories about, and so little I was able to retain because I was overwhelmed with enlightening information. I know enough to be able to go back and google some of the places to learn more though.
The Museum Cabañas used to be the Hospicio Cabañas, a hospital, one of the largest hospital complexes in the Americas, and has quite a history. It is filled with paintings and murals and is a place I will want to spend an entire day in the future, so we saw the exterior but didn't go inside, not this time.
The old opera house, Teatro Degollado, is a fantastic 19th century building where the acoustics are so perfect you get goosebumps just hearing people talk. A prominent location for world touring operas, concerts, and plays with hotels all around it for those who travel to the city for these special occasions.
Another highlight, the Guadalajara Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the state of Jalisco. In reading about it I learn it's architecture is Renaissance, Gothic Revival, and Spanish. All I know is that it was breathtaking. The stained glass, the gently lit alcoves, the soaring carved ceiling and skylight, the massive pipe organ. I urge you to google this to view pictures I couldn't possible take with my cell phone. It is a great credit to the fantastically skilled craftsmen who created such a marvel.
I took a 2 week tour of Italy just before driving to Mexico and I will honestly say that I wasn't any more impressed with Italian architecture or art than I am with what I find in Mexico.
And yet another favorite spot, a wonderfully green and beautiful park area surrounded by statues of prominent people who are significant to the history of Jalisco. Each statue honors that person, stating the category of their expertise and contribution. There are so many, I only got photos of about half. In the middle of the park is a structure resembling something Roman, which is said to contain the spirit of each of the honored people. That place gave me such a sense of peace and hope and benevolence, all things much needed in this day and time of ugly politics. These honored people were artists and writers, teachers, composers, architects, benefactors of children - all humanitarians and lovers of good and beauty. It's a place where I would honestly just like to settle myself in the grass of that structure and spend hours meditating, people watching, and drinking in the spirits. Again, for another day.
Lunch was on the agenda as well and the guys knew of a great little restaurant they had stumbled upon during a previous excursion. I was really surprised at the low prices for being in the centre. I ordered chimichangas and a filling plate was only 60 pesos ($3). Even the fajitas and other dishes didn't exceed $6.
The final part of our tour took us to the western edge of the centre for the fabric shops and art supply stores I wanted to visit. I found a brightly colored material for the chair seats and enough to cover six cost me $3. I also bought a few paint colors I needed in oil and acrylic for working on canvases. It's been a while since I had to buy paint so I wasn't sure about the prices and how they compared to the US. I just looked up the paints on the Dick Blick website and I see that they cost more here from about a third to almost double depending on the color and size tube. So that tells me I will do an inventory, order from Blick to be delivered to FL, and bring them back with me in September from my visit over Labor Day. We also get Fed X deliveries here so that may be an option in the future.
I was pretty tuckered after all of this touring and shopping. We hoofed it back to the bus line and caught the local to the bus station where we said good-bye to Erik. The ride back to Chapala was long due to an accident south of the airport but we were in comfortable seats so I didn't care. After dropping Vicki and Chris at their respective homes, it was jammies for me while I watched a most spectacular lightning show from my east bedroom window with my kitties curled on the bed beside me.
What we saw in Guad was just a tiny tip of the iceberg. It has so much to offer in rich history and culture. In fact, all of Mexico is cram packed with things to see, do, and learn. I think It will be a long time before I'm ready to travel elsewhere, other than visits back to see family. My Mexico bucket list is growing longer every day.