Zacatecas is not only the last Mexican state in the alphabet, but was also my last state to visit. The capital of Zacatecas has the same name and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is a mining town and in the contemporary to the other mining towns I have seen before, here the mining is still active. It is a colonial town, even the name comes from the indigenous group of Zacatecos. I can really tell you, that the town is beautiful – no wonder with all the income from the mine.
30th Nov 2018
I arrived in the town of Zacatecas from Torreón, Coahuila after a seven hours trip by an Omnibus de Mexico. During the trip I had bought a Burrito of a seller, coming into the bus at one of the stops. I had asked him, if it is spicy, but I may have understood his answer wrong, because it was! Already after the first chew I had to give up and arrive hungry at my destination.
Zacatecas is the main city of a Metropolitan area. My host was in Guadalupe, which is very close to it. I had chosen my host by the references on couch surfing, but none had written about his home. The first strange thing was, that he had answered me on my question about arrival time, that he will be at home after 2pm. I informed him early, that my bus will arrive in Zacatecas around 3pm, but he did not give me any additional information about arrival time. Well at my destination, he send me a message, that he had to leave his apartment for work and that I could ask at his pub for “Justin Bieber”, he would help me.
I thought, he made a joke, because of the name of Justin Bieber. Anyway I took a taxi to his pub, which is situated at the corner of the street, where my host lives. When I arrived at the pub with all my luggage, a little guy welcomed him. I asked him, if he is Justin Bieber and he answered yes, he is. I also asked him, if it is his real name and this time the answer was no. Anyway this guy had the keys to my host’s apartment. The first thing, who was strange, that the apartment only could be reached by an outside spiral staircase, which was very narrow, but the guy was helpful and carried all my luggage up for these stairs. He left me in the apartment, but took the keys with him. I felt like jailed. When I was looking around in the apartment, it was horrible, what I saw. The whole apartment was very dirty! The dishes were not made – it seemed for days. There were dust everywhere on the furniture, though I was wondering if my host really lives there. There were two cats in the house – one with long hair. Hair of the cats where everywhere and especially on the rug. When I was looking for the bathroom, I saw an extra bed – the mattress was so dirty, I could not think about to sleep on it. I tried to make the dishes, but that was nearly impossible, because the tap was not in order. Part of the water were rinsing in the wrong direction and came on the floor instead. Though I gave up. By the way, on his profile he had written, that he has a dog, a Husky and not about cats.
I have had another invitation for Guadalupe, Zacatecas and was now contacting Ibeth by the couch surfing app. I was not awaiting a soon answer, but it was worth a try. Luckily she did not only reply very fast, but also opened her home for me. I sent a message to Abraham, informing him, that I cannot cope with the cat hairs and that I am moving out again. I also told this “Justin Bieber”, that I had moved out, if he needed to lock the doors. I took a taxi again and was now going to Ibeth’s parents place, because she had messaged me that address and told me, that she was there. She as well as her 10-ear-old son welcomed me and she offered me a meal as well. Actually it was red Pozole, but it was not spicy. Ibeth explained, that the family did not eat spicy meals.
Later this day we were going home to Ibeth’s house, which she rents (she later told me, when I asked her) and actually of her brother. Ibeth had ordered a taxi, because of my luggage and also paid for it. That home is not very big. It has two bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom and a very little kitchen. She has furnished with a lot of wooden boxes as well in the kitchen as in the living room, they usually are used for vegetables and fruits – similar did the students in Germany long time ago. She also told me, that she is working for the government. She is an engineer. I do not know, how much she earns, but she does not have a car and it seems, she does not have a very good income. Her son had went to his father, where he will stay during the weekend.
Soon after we were at home at Ibeth’s place, she put on the TV. She is following a movie in many parts on Netflix. Anyway she explained to me, how to go by bus to Guadelupe and also to Zacatecas center. She offered me genuine Mexican drink chocolate, which she prepared out of a round block of chocolate. It was delicious. I was allowed to sleep in the bed of her son, which was really comfortable. She also gave me a lot of covers, because the nights are very cold here in Zacatecas.
1st Dec 2018
In the morning, Ibeth made a coffee for me by her new coffee machine. She was not really sure, how to do, but all went well and the coffee was tasty. She also offered me a light breakfast. When I left her home, I took photos of the surroundings and recognized, that there is a little grocery shop in her street. Though it was easy to find her place again.
Actually I had not really understood, what she was telling me about the buses, but asked people to find the stop – which was not signed! Because I had asked around, how to go by bus to the center and did not add Zacatecas center, which was my goal, I only had been shown the stop for the bus to Guadelupe center and had to change bus there. The bus driver was kind and helped me with that. Another woman at the stop for the next bus explained to me, that I have to go with a bus in the color “leche”, which is nearly white, but more beige. There arrived another bus for Zacatecas before and I took that one telling the driver, that I will go to the center of Zacatecas. She did not announce, when we were there and the place did not look like the center either, though I stayed in the bus, but soon I had the feeling, that the bus is going back to Guadelupe. Therefore I asked the driver if it was a long way left to the city center and he answered, that we had passed it, but also explained, how to go to the city center from the place, where he stopped.
Actually there was a shopping center with a Soriana supermarket. I was looking for a café, because I needed another coffee and also something more to eat. I found one after asking inside, where only Chinas food and McDonald’s were available. I ordered a crepe and a coffee and had to pay 56 MXN for it. Afterwards I bought tissues at the supermarket before I went back with another bus and also asked the driver to announce, when we are in the city center. He did.
The bus stops on the side of the historic city center and the way into the center is bordered by stalls with clothes and more. Because of the cold nights, I had decided to by another pair of pants. Pants, which I could use in the bed. I found soon a pair of paints with a rugged inside and bought one. Here they call them “termica”. I felt a little dizzy and bought first some “gorditas con nata”, but they did not help, though I was looking for something to drink and had at another place an “agua de Horchata”, which helped.
This day I was more interested in shopping than sightseeing, because the cold in Zacatecas and that I had heard, that it was cold in Mexico City as well. My next goal was, to find boots. All the boots here are only lined without the space for the feet, if they are lined at all. I tried some pair, but most of them were to low for my toes. Finally I bought a pair, which were fitting quiet well. I also bought insoles, because the boots were a little too big and insoles help to keep the feet warm. The protection spray for the suede, they are made of, I had to buy in another shop.
Walking back to the main street and looking for a drugstore I saw a warm jacket with hood and could not resist to buy it. By the way the pants were for 110 MXN, the boots for 320 MXN, the spray for 65 MXN and the jacket for 500 MXN. I only write this, though you can get an impression of the prices in Mexico. I finally found a drugstore as well and bought medicine for my stomach. I try to make it without, but for the moment I had really big problems with the acid in my stomach and needed one. This medicine was for 59 MXN and for around two weeks.
I was going back by bus to the center of Guadalupe and met my host at her parents home again. This time I also met her father. Her mother was not at home at that time. We had a meal and were than going back to Ibeth’s place by bus. The evening was like the one before. I did not get my blog updated for these days.
2nd Dec 2018
This day was a Sunday and Ibeth were following me downtown Zacatecas after we have had breakfast together. It was really warm this day – like all the days were, when I was here. The sun was shining and I did not have my hat, because I did not expect this nice weather. Though I came to the point, where I needed something to drink and close to us, I only could get a chocomilk, which I did buy. Just before we had been at a tourist information office and I had bought a ticket for the next day for a sightseeing tour on the mountain “Buffa” and for the mine. I did get it for a reduced price, because Ibeth was asking for it. I would have invited Ibeth as well, but that was a little too much and I did not asked her, if we will make the tour together this Sunday. She was asking me as well, if I want to take a sightseeing tour throughout the city, which was for 70 MXN only, but I told her, that we could walk the city. So we did.
It was really good to have Ibeth as a guide. She does know Zacatecas well and we were going to see places, I did not expect, that it was possible. We were walking throughout a former hacienda, which now was a hotel. We also visited the theater Fernando Calderón and took a tour in it, which was really interesting. I had paid for us both and it was Ibeth’s first time here as well. We really get to see most of the rooms and were also introduced to the history of the theater. Our group had only eight people, though we were lucky and could see and hear everything, the guide explained. In the park Alameda some statues of famous artists of Zacatecas caught my attention. Ibeth explained, that Genaro Codina was the composer of the Zacateca March, the hymn of the state. Later I read, that he had written the text, the music was by Fernando Villapando. Before we went back to Ibeth’s home, we had a “comida” (lunch with soup, main dish and dessert) for only 75 MXN. This time there was even an entré salad included.
We took the bus back to Guadalupe. In the city center there was a traffic jam and we soon could see the reason for it. There were lots of men on horses and two women as well riding from the cathedral outwards the city. A little later, we even could see, that the front of the horse track was groom and his bride. Even the Mexicans often use the horn with traffic jams and similar situations, none did this day.
The evening we spent again in front of the TV. Even her son was at home and she helped him off and on with his homework, which he already partly had done before. He had to tinker four different kinds of landscapes like jungle, cloud forest etc. A lot of dough was used for that and I was thinking about, that there might be children, whose parents do not have the money for it.
3rd Dec 2018
I was a little late up, waiting for that the sun should warm up the house a little. After my usual routines I left the house and had a breakfast at an Oxxo shop, before I took the bus to the city center of Zacatecas for attending the tour I had bought the day before. I was very early and had to wait for a good time, before the 15 or 18-seat-bus arrived. I was lucky, that I was allowed to sit in the front. There were only three more people on the tour.
The bus driver brought us up to the hill called “Buffa”. There our guide explained about the history and took us to the church. He also told us, that the other hill, we could see straight ahead was filled by a wind power plant and that this plant does produce enough with electricity for all of the town of Zacatecas. Afterwards we had around 25 minutes for the view and photos from the hill. I was back in time, even I met the others on my way up, when they already where on the way down. The guide did find them easily at one of the souvenir shops. We walked to the cable car and took the ride down, directly to the mine.
The part of the mine, called El Eden, we were visiting was not in use anymore. Other parts were still in use. Mostly silver was and is mined, but there are also other metals there like gold and copper. At the end of the tour, which was very interesting, because the part of the mine we could see was bigger than all the other mines I had been in before and the guide was really good in telling us about history and ways it was used. At the end of our tour, we were picked up by the mine train, though we did not need to walk all the way back, we had seen. Outside was the driver with the bus waiting for us and took us throughout alleyways back to the city center. I was thinking, that it was a high price for such a view sightseeing points, but the cable car had a high price and the tour actually was worth it’s price.
On the way back to Ibeth I bought meat etc for the meal I promised her to prepare as a thank you for hosting me. I cooked as usual Swedish meatballs and even she and her sun liked them. Afterwards it followed the same procedure like the day before. I would have liked to update my blog instead, but thought it would not be nice, if I would not have company with them.
4th Dec 2018
I have got a cold, though I stayed in bed until high noon updating my blog. When I left the house, my first stop was the Oxxo again for a breakfast or better brunch. Unfortunately there are not really brunch to get. I also charged my Telcel data traffic – for the last time in Mexico this year. Then I took the bus for the Zacatecas center again. I would have liked to see the ruins of “La Quemada“, but Ibeth had told me before, that it was complicated to go there. I did not try, because it was already so late. Instead I was walking the center – first to the Alameda and the museum there. It was closed, when we reached it on Sunday afternoon. I was very disappointed, because Ibeth had told me, that I could see tools for mining there, but there was only a mural about mining. The rest was about Genaro Codina, who also had been a politician and tourist information about the pueblos magicos in Zacatecas. They actually have seven of them.
From the museum I continued to the Paroquia Santa Fatima, which is one of the few churches in New-Gothic-style. I was a little disappointed, because the church was not open and the building can not be compared with the Saint Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest. It is too simple, even it is beautiful. An Aqueduct is not far away from the church. Even this is not much to see, because it is very short. Finally I was looking for a restaurant for a meal. The one I liked had a little high prices, but compared with Europe, they were OK. On my way back to my host, I made a new stop at a supermarket to buy more tissues. I needed a lot at this time for my cold.
For more photos of Zacatecas, please click here.
Even this evening was like the others before. I was to bed a little earlier to care about my cold and for the early hours I had to be awake the upcoming morning.
5th Dec 2018
I was already up at 5am for two reasons, both depending on, that I was going further this day. The first reason was, that I had to leave almost together with Ibeth, because there was no way to leave her keys, which I have had used the days before. The other reason was, that my next destination was Morelia in Michoacán and an almost seven hours trip was awaiting me. Ibeth was so kind and called an Uber for me. I had to pay 70 MXN this early morning from her home to the Central station of Zacatecas, where I bought a ticket for half the price again, because of my age. I had still to pay 474 MXN. I had no coffee in the morning and tried to buy a coffee at the station, but did get warm chocolate instead. I hoped, it would help me as good as coffee, but it did not.
The bus arrived in time, but after our luggage was taken on board, we had to wait to enter, because the bathroom of the bus had to be cleaned, before we could go further. That took a while, but I prefer clean bathrooms and do not mind to wait for it. At the end, the bus was a whole hour late to leave, which surprised me, especially that there were no paper for drying the hands and no soap either in the bathroom. Leaving the state of Zacatecas by bus let me enjoy the beautiful nature one more time.
For following me further, please click the link for Michoacán and scroll down to the 5th Dec 2018.