There are no end to the dangers and indignities that Lola and Ms Pacifica will go for you armchair travel pleasure. We donned WHITE HAIRNETS and Cascaras (helmets) and got into a little train and descended deep into the darkness of La Mina Eden in Zacatecas. Then we got on a double decker tram for a city tour and had to stamp our feet on the floor so the driver below knew we were appreciating his jokes (in Spanish only)
To be fair – there is a nightclub in the mine… but it was pretty adventurous nonetheless. After viewing the museum of gems and fossils from all over the world we explored a couple of levels of the mine, discovered a skeleton, saw the canary cage, and the little alters for praying… before an explosion.
We saw the silver and the gold in the rock and how they extracted it and sent the proceeds off to Spain in shiploads making it one of the most extensive silver cities in South America.
We made it out alive and went on to explore the city of Zacatecas. As opposed to San Miguel this is a typical working city, with a few students thrown into the mix. It is quite high altitude at about 2500m above sea level and about 500m higher than we are used to in San Miguel. By day it was pleasant, but it really came alive at night and the buildings and fountains were all lit up and very atmospheric.
We had breakfasted each day at the Acropolis – in an olive green vinyl booth, and the waitress – well let’s just say she had been doing the job for a few years. Very 1975 tea-room feel.
We stayed in an Airbnb apartment near the cathedral with many church bells and a few fireworks. We ate one night at the highly rated – but interestingly named: Lucky Luciano’s which was great, small, covered in art and with an older theatrical Italian waiter who approved our food choices, opened a nice bottle of white wine for our two glasses worth and even demonstrated how to eat the salad starter – a little bit of this and a little of that and then this one and finally a drip of balsamico and allora – it’s perfection in a mouthful. He told us if we didn’t like it, it was free, but he was pretty confident and it was sublime… just like it said on the menu.
The second night we went to Mentha and Rosmarino – Mint and Rosemary (also italian inspired) with a young up and coming chef and had a great salad entree with jamaica (hibiscus juice) – which if you are lucky I might recreate on my return. If Lucky Luciano is the current trip advisor #1 restaurant, the Mint and Rosemary chef will give him a run for his money in future.
The second night we went our to see what the noise was about and found the symphony orchestra doing an outdoor concert in the street/steps. There we something different about them as as we got closer we discovered that it was only a brass band. They love a rousing anthem here!
Finally before our return we fitted in a couple of museums. All artistic roads lead to Diego Rivera in Mexico. We saw the collections of Raphael Coronel and Pedro Coronel – one was taught by Rivera and the other brother was his son-in-law. Both had huge collections of interesting artefacts and paintings from around the world. Even some Miro originals and lithographs, Picassos, Dali, Chagall and many others.
We have returned to the comfort of our San Miguel base for a few days of R&R before we head off tomorrow to see a truly weird place deep in the mountains and near the almost unpronounceable Xilitla! (Hee- lit – la)