Special Note: Chronologically, this post should in fact sit before Guadalajara, but has been posted later due to an admin error (okay, so I forgot it)…
Another uneventful bus trip found us in Guanajuato, were we’d committed to our first Workaway experience for a week (You can read of those adventures in our previous post).
With at least half of our days occupied with working, shopping (for the apartments, not for ourselves) and food preparation, there weren’t as many hours available for us to explore (which was of no concern, given we had plenty of time here).
Short of the odd wander, our first couple of days didn’t see us do much, other than things related to our Workaway experience that is.
Our second evening however saw four of us Dermot (our host), Sarah and myself, as well as another Sarah (also there on Workaway) from the US, head into town for a bit of a night out.
Guanajuato is a university town, so there is a fairly young and lively nightlife scene, so we were more than happy for Dermot to show off a few of his favourite haunts.
Perhaps it’s our age showing, but it is rare for us to be out much later than midnight these days, so it was a bit of shock to realise that it wasn’t until half past two in the morning, that we eventually stumbled back up the hill and home!
For most days from then on, Sarah and I did make it a point to have a meander, and see a bit more of this colourful city (literally and figuratively).
Perhaps it was the advantage we had with our apartment being perched high up on the hillside (giving us great views of the city below), but the buildings of this place did look particularly colourful.
The city itself was just a delight to wander.
Although not renowned for its culinary scene, its narrow cobbled streets were really charming, complete with a few choice stunning colonial pieces from old theatres and churches to the grand Mercado Hidalgo.
Within this covered market, one can find all manner of goods, from sweets, to crafts, and all manner of tourist paraphernalia.
A pretty cool place for a wander if nothing else.
Perhaps the highlight of our explorations however, was smack bang in its middle, when we made an excursion out to the Museo de las Momias, essentially, a Mummy Museum.
Now before you start thinking of undead horrors wrapped in bandages, this isn’t that kind of place, but it was certainly eerie enough.
Not to mention difficult (at least for us) to actually find.
It appeared to be well enough signed from the main roads, so when we saw a sign directing pedestrians one way and vehicles another, we obviously, being on foot, we went as directed.
After a sweat raising climb up multiple flights of stairs, we found ourselves at the Panteon (the cemetery which the musuem was said to be a part of), so we went for a wander around, unsure of where exactly to go next.
As much as we enjoyed the wander amongst the long forgotten graves and crypts, there was however, no further sign of the museum.
With no further clue, we eventually gave up, on this approach, returned to the main road, and followed the sign directed the vehicle traffic.
This proved quite a long walk, but eventually, these 2 hot and bothered explorers, finally found the museum, paid our admission fee and entered one of the coolest, yet oddest museums we’ve visited.
None of the bodies displayed her had been mummified through any process, rather had been discovered mummified naturally due to conditions in their respective crypts when they had been interred.
It wasn’t what I’d expected (honestly, I had no idea what to expect), but it was fascinating and sad at the same time.
One of the mummies on display is apparently the worlds most complete mummy, unique for the fact that the dried, stretched skin hasn’t a single tear in it!
Another somewhat sadder record breaker, is the worlds smallest mummified body.
This small figure resides beside her mother, whom she died within when her mother died during pregnancy (she was mummified within her mother naturally).
Other incredible, yet tragic sights included a stabbing victim, upon whose body could still be seen the point where the knife punctured the skin (as well as the blood staining), a drowning victim, and a women who it is believed was mistakenly buried alive!
Part of the entry price also allowed entrance into an adjoining hall (I think it was called ‘The hall of Death’) which wasn’t air conditioned, and displayed mock torture and Vampire displays.
Probably okay if you are with kids, but otherwise, I wouldn’t bother wasting your time!
The other Guanajuato highlight was a visit to the birthplace of Mexico’s greatest artist, Diego Rivera.
I will confess, I wasn’t familiar with him, but Sarah was, and was also eager to get along to see it.
Narrowly avoiding a passing shower, we made our way towards his former home where he had lived only as a child.
Aside from some artworks, the house isn’t actually filled with his families actual furnishings (rather, items that would have furnished a house of that period).
What much of the space is used for however, is to host exhibitions from local artists, one of which we were particularly impressed by, who painted mask like faces on large cactus fronds!
Now although I did say earlier, Guanajuato isn’t really famous as a food destination.
That didn’t however prevent us from finding, during one of our many wanders, a small Helados (Ice cream) store selling a few of the tastiest flavours we’ve sampled in all of our travels!
When we first spied queso (cheese) flavoured ice cream in another town, we’d been curious to try it (for the record, it is tasty and what drew us into this shop), but it isn’t the true gem that we uncovered here.
The silver and gold medals we sampled here were their Tamarind Gelato (delicious, but only silver place) before stumbling by accident upon a flavour (I think it was essentially called Lemon Pie) which was simply delicious.
I can not refute claims that I may have this very same flavour two days in a row…
So as our time in Guanajuato came to an end, we realised we had certainly developed a fondness for this place, even despite its lack of Mexican, or even international cuisine.
Our last afternoon, when we descended into the town for a farewell drink with our other Sarah (and also to show her our favoured Ice cream shop), finished a rather wet affair.
As we sat on the fringe of a beautiful plaza sipping our beers, it began to rain… and it kept raining, essentially the whole afternoon and evening (although this is the wet season, we were fortunate it only rained one other night during our time here) scuppering any plans Dermot had to lure us into the town for a final farewell drink.
Come morning, the rain was still steady, so after a slightly slippery descent down into the town, we eventually found the right bus to take us to the bus station (where two very sodden travellers found themselves waiting for a bus for their next stop, Guadalajara).