What you may not know, reader, is that Mexico is a federal republic composed of 31 states and one capital city (Mexico City). Lying somewhere between a 1.5-2 hrs drive from Mexico City is Queretaro, Queretaro. It’s a gorgeous colonial town where my aunt, grandmother, and I could play tourist for two days over the weekend. We arrived around noon on Friday and left after dinner time on Saturday, because we had more birthday celebrations for Sunday afternoon.
And honestly, the weather could not have possibly been better. Clear blue skies the color you wish the Atlantic ocean was, with not a cloud in sight. We took a double-decker bus ride around the historic center of the city, and this is an excerpt from some of the neat historical facts that I’d like to share. (Taken from the VisitMexico website:)
The city was founded in 1531 by Franciscan monks. It is both literally and figuratively an important crossroads of Mexican history. Four of the most significant events in Mexico’s history took place here. First, plans for Mexican independence from Spain were hatched here in 1810. Second, in 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was ratified in Queretaro, ending the Mexican-American War, and surrendering 55% of Mexico’s territory to the U.S. Third, in 1867, Austrian Archduke Maximilian was executed on a hill overlooking the city. And finally, in 1917, the Mexican Constitution was signed here.
Friday night my after depositing my grandmother at a fancy-pants hotel (she has a difficult time walking more than 5 minutes at a time; much to my aunt’s chagrin), we hit the streets again to soak in what nightlife there may be. We ended up sitting outside by one of the town’s main plazas, listening to live music and sipping Mexican beer. This is the sort of town where one can live outside all year round. It was simply wonderful having the opportunity to watch couples walk hand-in-hand, children running about playing with their toys, and even the peddlers who came every two minutes to sell us the same variety of tourist souvenirs was welcome.
Saturday was more of the same – walking along the cobbled sidewalks which are so narrow only single-file works to stay on the sidewalk, or pass by the side of the road. Enjoying the weather, and finding – because Friday’s lunch was a disgrace – a real place to sit down and eat proper Mexican food. And yes it was totally worth it to get waay from the tourist packed plazas into the smaller roads of the town to find the places where the locals go to eat, pretty much always.
My aunt doesn’t know how to ride a bike, but she bought one on Tuesday because the way she figures it, it’s about high time she learned. And I couldn’t agree more. And ok, it’s slow going trying to learn to ride a bike – especially as an adult, but despite some knee scraping and four falls in the span of an hour, she seems to be in good humor and ready to try it again. (Apparently there is also a thing such as adult training wheels, so she may decide to look into that, silly as it may seem. But hell, everyone should know how to ride a bike)
It seems that every weekend comes with its own gathering and party, and this weekend was no different. The birthday celebration that we had the last week with some 50 people present was held again, but this time only 16 of us. (The “comadres” as my aunt calls them) Or it would have been better if the food hadn’t settled so poorly in my stomach leaving me with an uncomfortable night. And upon waking, an ear infection burgeoning, yuck!
It was nice to seem my cousin – for she too showed up at the birthday celebrations – and we now have plans for this weekend to spend Chinese New Year in downtown Mexico City for the year of the Rooster.
But first to shake this ear infection!