Thursday, January 21, 2016

Semana de Cinco Mexico

January 2016 – Guadalajara Mexico

Up early, breakfast and wait for our pickup. Same company, Tequila Grand Tour, same drill We board the bus and spend an hour driving around picking up other passengers for various tours and then are taken to a parking lot where we are dispersed to our various buses based on destination, in our case advertized as Chapala and Ajijic. The balance of our tour is then collected; total cost for today is $400 pesos per person. We finally depart at 10:30.

On the side of our bus.

The driver today is also the tour guide and he only spoke Spanish in his intro. He never asks if there are any English people aboard and starts with a high level overview of Guadalajara mentioning most places we’ve visited. He then puts on a video of an older Mariachi singing. He wears very colourful outfits and it is fun. We, of course have no idea who he is.

We then drive for about thirty minutes and make a stop at a horse farm where we are told we can take photos. John and I shrug and say why?? Everyone was taking their photos.

The driver walks over to me and asks if I speak Spanish, I reply, not at all. He explains that this is the farm of the most famous mariachi in Mexico, ergo, the video. He then says we will make a stop o have lunch overlooking Lake Chapala. Then have free time in the town of Chapala. I said I thought we were also going to Ajjjic??? He says no and I tell John. Just then a mother and daughter (from LA with attitude) approach and also say that they had asked for an English tour, he says yes he speaks English.

A tour leaves and the gates open to allow us to enter the horse farm of a visit of about 45 minutes.

Cattle drive.

AHA the name of the famous singing mariachi and owner of the farm.

Baby homing pigeons.

 He then walks us to the store that sells horse related items also amazingly owned by Vicente Fernandez . We are given 15 minutes to shop.

Oh, look Vicente Fernandez CDs.

The many faces of Vicente Hernandez.

Then back on the bus for about another thirty minutes to the restaurant. We did drive through the town of Ajijic but that was it. Not happy.

It is a very pleasant area overlooking the lake. I have heard such great things about Lake Chapala, but honestly, it is brown and murky and quite dirty.

There are several restaurants to choose from and almost everyone followed each other so we chose another one.

We had burgers which were delicious.

Back on bus and about 20 minutes later, at 3PM we are in the town of Chapala and told we have until 4:20 to explore.
We are right on the lake itself.

I did love this statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

We were not impressed by this town, not many shops, did not see anything “artsy”.

There is a lovely church dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi.

After strolling up the main street we head back to the malecon.

 The water edge is lined with many booths selling the same old same old.
We sat and watched the boats and birds and fooled around with selfies.

Back on board and we are in Guadalajara by 5PM.

We put our feet up until 8 PM when we head out to the mariachi bar. We are the only gringos in there and have a great time. Click here for more photos and some music.

Three generations of women on the dance floor.


We get up at 7 and have hot cakes and ham for breakfast, check out and grab a cab by 8:15 and head to the bus terminal, $60 pesos.

The bus is the same as the one we took from Mazatlan. We get settled with our sandwich and coke and enjoy the ride with a stop in Leon and Guanajuato. Cost $660 pesos per person or about $52 CDN.

Some photos along the drive. There are many toll booths on this trip also some are quite picturesque. 

Listening to Mexican music as we read.

We arrive in San Miguel de Allende at 3:15 and grab a cab to our rented house. Cab $40 pesos.

The house is on a cobblestoned street and you enter through a locked non-descript green door into a magnificent courtyard and then into the house. The owner is an artist and it shows everywhere you look.

Mega, a huge grocery store chain that we know from Mazatlan is a five minute walk from the house so we head over to stock up.

We sat in the garden and just relaxed and then had cheese and bread for dinner. So nice not to have to eat in restaurants three times a day for a while.


We slept really well under our down comforter and didn’t get up until 9. I made juice from the oranges I picked yesterday and John did bacon and eggs.

Fresh eggs stamped with the church of San Juan.

No plans today. We have had a busy month between Mazatlan and Guadalajara and are content to stay put for a while. We also enjoy being able to cook our meals even though we do enjoy eating out it does get too much after a while. Plus there if football all weekend.

Some more photos of the garden.


Dinner was steak and sauteed cabbage with onions.


A day of rest and football.

We did run out to Mega to get sweaters and ingredients for chili. It is really warm during the day highs of 26 C but at night it can drop to 2 C. The house doesn't having heating, there is a gas fireplace but the owner said the pilot really uses up a lot of gas. But we do have a heater in our bedroom and the room has huge windows that lets all the heat from the sun in. So this is our preferred seating spot when not outside. We have TV, a couch and a rocking chair so it is perfect.


The gardener arrives as we are having breakfast. He gets to work outside and then comes in to do the plants on the upper balcony.

We head out around noon and walk over to get a cab to the Plaza Principal.
Our first view as we step out of the cab near the church of San Miguel.

The town is immensely walkable, and strolling its cobblestone streets lined with colourfully painted colonial buildings—popping in and out of art galleries, antique shops, lush courtyards and restaurants—is one of its main pleasures.

Our only pet peeve are the ex-pats here. 15% of the population. We have met/seen many ex-pats in Mazatlan but they are definitely a different kettle of fish here. It only took us a day to realized we didn't care for them. I am calling them the Lululemon crowd, all the women were their labeled clothes and yoga pants and carry their yoga mats. Or else they are wearing, male and female, stupid floppy hats. They regally wander around Centro with their superior airs and graces. Designer purses and little dogs.

We really like this town, the buildings are lovely and we are surrounded by churches. You will have to drop by on Sundays for photos of the churches.

 We stop for lunch at a tiny little bar.

Some more strolling, relaxing in the sun in the square people watching, oh and more churches.

We start strolling back as the sun was going down and it can get chilly if you are not in the sun.

We happen upon this hotel just before we grab a cab.

We don't cover a lot of ground but do end up taking around 300 photos between us before we edit them.
7,060 steps or 4 km

When we get back we sit on the upper balcony which gets the most sun.


We wake to a power failure so we stay in bed until 10, keeping warm. Just as we decide to get up the power comes back on. Coffee and pastry with our books in the garden.

And I did some laundry.

Flor, the maid, arrived around noon and I was asked her for the bus directions. She told me to go to Eco street, we can see it from the upper balcony, and wait in front of the pink house.

The bus arrives, $5 pesos (remember there are 13 pesos to the Canadian dollar) each and we climb aboard. Not quite the air conditioned comfort of Mazatlan buses. The streets are cobblestone and it is a rickety ride. We get off at the BOTTOM of Canal St. This is a city of steep streets. But what a view!

Immaculate Conception which we had visited yesterday. You will have to wait for the inside photos.

The next two photos are of a bank branch.

Not sure what this is but it was a hilly arduous walk up to it!

So many pretty courtyards.

We decide to look for a couple of more churches and I did some shopping along the way. Very dangerous town for shopping!!!

Preparing nopales or also known as cactus paddles.

We reach Insurgentes and are thrilled when the three churches are surrounded by a lovely square.

San Felipe

Looking across the square at Church of Our Lady of Health (Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Salud)

Plaza Cívica Ignacio Allende, where a large statue of Ignacio Allende on horseback dominates. Allende, the city’s namesake, was a hero of the Mexican War of Independence.

We turn the corner and find all kinds of local shops and one of the markets. It is gone 4 PM so many of the stalls are closing for the day. I also found the carnicería that i had read about. La Lonja is located on the corner of Mesones and Pepe Llanos, near the Plaza Civica.

We didn't buy anything but we will come in one morning and pick up our groceries. Even though Mega is around the corner it is much nicer to shop local and support the farmers.

7,144 steps.


We spend the day relaxing and then catch the bus around 5 PM, the bus was crowded so I sat at the back and John stood. This bus had an assistant and he made one of the kids move from the front seat so that John and I could sit together. Nice.

A couple of photos once we get off the bus.
St Paul's English Anglican church.

We are heading to have cocktails on a rooftop patio bar at the Rosewood. 
This is a rather ritzy hotel rates are over $500 US dollars a night. Seriously?? 

But the view is magnificent.

We share an appetizer of suckling pig tacos, delicious.

We decide to have dinner in 1826 the restaurant downstairs. Yummy yummy bread especially the  chipotle and onion.

An amuse bouche is served, mushroom.

A salad is also included.

John has salmon with risotto.

I ordered suckling pig as it had been so delicious in the tacos. Served with sweet potato, it was a little dry and John commented to the server. The plate was immediately brought to the chef at the open kitchen (right in front of me) and the chef as well as several others tasted it. The server, maitre d and manager approached and apologized and remove it from the bill.

More complimentary - truffles.

 Quite a week!

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  1. The architecture in some of these shots appeals to me. What really stands out is the pruning job on some of the trees in one shot... that takes time!

  2. You certainly crammed a lot into the week. Pity about that tour (sounded very similar to one I did in Mexico City last year). Like the idea of having your own place so you don't have to eat out all the time. Wonderful, colourful photos.

    1. Tours are really hit or miss no matter where you are. The one earlier in the week with the same company was delightful.

  3. A whimsical note to say that Jackie is thrilled with the new found churches on Insurgents. There has to be a place in the heavens for a side kick who's mandate is to find them and assist with the photography. Some days I feel saintly!!!!

  4. Hi Jackie , Love the look of the town you went to on the Monday , with churches and brightly coloured buildings. Lot so life going on their and so much to photograph. My sort of town. Take care Anne

    1. Thanks, Anne for dropping by. I'm saving your postcards to mail when I get home as they never make it from Mexico.

  5. Wow! What a week! The least meal looks fantastic and your photos are beautiful. The tour sounds like it went a little odd but it sounds like you had a good time even if it wasn't quite what you wanted. I'm starving now after reading this!

  6. Bummer on the first tour but everything else is WOW indeed. Love the new village and your place. Great garden and balcony. And you're not in the middle of snow like so many of us north of the border.

  7. What a great week- thanks for sharing it with us. I do love the photos of the courtyards and the churches.

  8. The lakeside does look like a pleasant place for lunch!

    I learn so much from tours when they're good and feel positively trapped and annoyed when they're not.

    That's some yummy looking cheese and bread! We really like that as a travel meal for a break from restaurants.

    I love the style of the rooftop restaurant.

    Thanks for sharing so much of your trip! Exciting!

  9. At least you got a funny story out of the horse farm tour, and everything else sounds great! So many beautiful pictures and what a lovely place you've found to stay in, but darn!, I WAS hoping for a picture of the Lulelemon people. ;)

    1. Somehow I knew someone would ask for pics of the Lululemon people, but I'd be afraid I'd get my head taken off by them.

  10. Great post, I love it! I've always wanted to vacation in Mexico.

  11. Very cool. I didn't even know Vicente Fernandez's place was a tourist attraction. Thanks for sharing.


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