A Travellerspoint blog

Botanical Garden

January 30

We left the house around noon and walked down to the travel agency that is conducting a tour to see the Monarch butterflies. It's been a bit touch and go with the tour, because we needed a minimum of 6 people to make the tour happen. We thought we had six lined up, but one woman has been sick and we don't know if she and her husband will make it on Saturday. However, one of the first people we spoke to about the tour found another couple to join, so it looks like we will have the six for sure.
After leaving the travel agency, we decided to go to the Botanical Garden. We could take the bus, but it is a very round about trip and then we have to walk a fair distance. So we decided to walk the whole way from downtown. Well, it's almost straight up!! They've placed the garden at the top of the highest hill around the city. Very strenuous getting up there, but it's probably only 2 km or so. Some great views on the way - while I was catching my breath, I could enjoy the view.
View from up the hill

View from up the hill


There are some very big homes up on the hill. I guess the view increases the value quite a bit. But still a cobblestone road to walk on for part of the walk. They are picturesque, but very hard to walk on!!
When we arrived at the garden, these two men were building a dry stone wall at the entrance. We had also passed some home builders on our way and they were shaping stone with hammers and chisels, to build the wall of the house.
Building a dry stone wall

Building a dry stone wall


The botanical garden is 220 acres of land with mostly cactus and desert plants. It is right beside an old reservoir, which attracts migratory and resident birds. We spent a couple of hours walking the trails and we didn't see all of it.
View of the cactus forest from the edge of the reservoir

View of the cactus forest from the edge of the reservoir


One of the interesting things in the garden was some "Land Art". Some artists have created some interesting things with the plants and environment of the garden.
Land Art

Land Art


We had lunch at the cafe at the entrance to the garden and then we walked back down the hill to downtown. I think coming down only took about 1/2 the time going up did. I didn't have to stop and breathe on the way down.
We made it back downtown in time to get an ice cream cone and go to the movie at the Biblioteca. They were playing "Ladies in Lavender", which had Judi Dench and Maggie Smith in it. It was very good.
Then time to go home and rest my tired tootsies.

Posted by katdill 18:20 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Fabrica La Aurora

January 29

After doing some grocery shopping in the neighbourhood and taking it all home to put away, we walked over to the Fabrica La Aurora. http://fabricalaaurora.com/ This is a wonderful collection of art galleries and shops. It is located in an old textile mill, where they have left some of the old equipment in place to show what it was like.
Old spinning machine

Old spinning machine

Shop selling beautiful linens

Shop selling beautiful linens

Front facade of La Aurora

Front facade of La Aurora


We saw some wonderful art. One artist, Nelly Lorenzo, is a weaver and has her loom set up in her space and was working on it. We didn't see very much of the studio space that I thought was there, but they are having a big celebration on Saturday night and it seemed they were getting ready for that. Check out www.jamesharveyartist.com who is doing ink drawings on multiple layers of organza, and www.calderoniart.com a woman who is using some of the old metal and scrap materials left in the textile mill in her art. Her series "Relics" uses these materials - great stuff.
Today was actually warm enough that I wore shorts for the first time on this trip. We bought ingredients for margaritas and had some when we got home.

Posted by katdill 18:36 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Traveling to the Big City

January 28

We were awoken by a big bang this morning. And the power went off, so maybe it was a transformer going. After an 1 1/2 hour the power came back, but it did make getting breakfast more of a challenge - the kitchen here has no exterior windows, so I wore my headlamp so we could see what we were doing.
The maid, Julia, came this morning to clean up the house for us. Once a week service - could get pretty spoiled!
We went up the street a bit to the neighbours we had met and asked Miguel if he could help us with some translation with the Sony Service Centre. So he called them and they said bring the camera in and we'll have a look at it and let you know. While we were there, Miguel gave us a tour of their house, which they had built for them. It is very nice, and they used the small space very well. They still have some finishing to do, but it is mostly done.
The Sony Service Centre is in Queretaro, a big city of about a million people that is about 1 1/2 hours by bus. So we walked down to the bus depot to catch a bus there. On the way to the bus depot, I got this shot of morning milk delivery. A 1/2 ton truck with milk cans in the back pulls into a parking spot on the street and beeps its horn. People come out of their houses with their containers and get them filled at the truck. Something I bet you don't see in the gated gringo communities here.
Milk delivery

Milk delivery


The buses travel so frequently that we only had to wait 1/2 hour or so to get on a bus. Nice, clean bus depot and clean bus. Mexico really has mass transportation done very well.
When we got to Queretaro, we got a cab to the Sony place. Then the fun began. No one there spoke English at all and Don's Spanish is not up to discussing things. So he got out his iPad and got across the idea of using it to translate. So one of the employees got a laptop and Google translate going and that was how we communicated. It worked quite well and they will e-mail us tomorrow an estimate for fixing his camera.
By then, it was time to eat, so we found a little pizza place down the street. I had pear and Gorgonzola pizza - it was great! After we had eaten, we flagged down a taxi and went back to the bus depot and caught a bus back to San Miguel. Here's a couple of pictures we took while we were in Queretaro.
Aquaduct arches built between 1726 and 1738

Aquaduct arches built between 1726 and 1738

Big new tower

Big new tower

Posted by katdill 17:46 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Searching for Digital Camera Help

January 27

We set out a little later today, because Don was trying to figure out where we should go to get his camera fixed. He has contact with an American man here who has been very helpful with information about San Miguel. So he told us about a computer repair shop which might be of some help. Luckily it wasn't very far away, on our route to downtown. The people there sent us to another shop a couple of blocks away, where the technician worked. He was not very encouraging, once a digital camera has been dropped he thinks it will need parts which are unavailable to him. So he recommended we ship it to a Sony service centre. And there is a service centre in a nearby town, but Don will have to talk to them first (overcoming the language barrier) to see if its possible to get it fixed while we are here.
So finding all that out raised quite an appetite, so we went to La Grotta for lunch. It's an Italian restaurant and had good food. We climbed a narrow spiral staircase up to the second level, so we could sit and look out the window.
While having lunch, we decided to check out buying a new camera, just in case. Don had a list of possible stores to try, so we caught a bus and went to the Mega store, which is a lot like Walmart, with a full food section. We had a look at their cameras, but they didn't have what we wanted. So we rode the bus back downtown and walked the rest of the way home.
After supper, we walked back uphill to the Biblioteca for a little concert by Sergio Basuto. He plays the guitar and the harp. It was a lovely concert, with music from South America, Mexico and Spain. He even played some Flamenco guitar for us.

Posted by katdill 19:48 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

House and Garden Tour

January 26

This morning we walked over to the Biblioteca (library) to join a House and Garden Tour. We were taken in a van to a gated community about 5 miles outside San Miguel called Los Labradores (because the fellow that developed the community loves Labrador dogs). We toured 3 homes there and they were spectacular. The gardens were mostly cactus or desert plantings, so didn't make quite the same impression on me. There was only 1 of these houses that I could even imagine living in - they were just too grand for poor little ole me!
The back of the developers home

The back of the developers home

The street view of the 3rd home

The street view of the 3rd home


After we were dropped off back downtown, we walked around the square watching a bit of social dancing being demonstrated in the band stand. Nothing too flashy, just regular ballroom dancing. We had lunch at a restaurant at the side of the square so we could watch all the people walking around enjoying their Sunday afternoon. There is always so much too see - the vendors with all their merchandise - the people dressed up in the giant costumes.
Giant costume

Giant costume


We also went to MX restaurant for a beer before heading for home. There they have dancing lessons, so they had a group of people learning the tango. It was interesting to watch, but we weren't tempted to join in.
I noticed that the street cleaners here use twig brooms as well as more modern brooms. I expect they last longer and maybe work better on the cobblestones.
Streetsweeper at work

Streetsweeper at work


Don had an accident with his camera, so we spent some time looking for a brush to clean it out, but didn't find one until we were almost home. We got some makeup brushes at the market down the street. But it doesn't seem to have fixed the problem, so we will have to search out some electronic repair shop tomorrow.

Posted by katdill 17:43 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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