We spent a few days in Guanajuato after Luis’ first visit from the stomach fairy, otherwise known as Montezuma’s Revenge… Oh yeah, he was down for the count 2 days. No fun. But we have a pact that goes something like this: if one of us gets any kind of stomach problem we pause the camping and stay at a hotel, it does not have to be a nice hotel, but it needs a bathroom (in the room) and running water. I know that may be more info than we needed to share, but this blog is also for the Luis and Lacey of the future, a journal of sorts.
Back to the post… Guanajuato is awesome. We really enjoyed our few days there, tons of walking on ankle hating cobblestone streets. The city was founded in 1554, so it has been around the block and you can tell (in a good way). The city is also designated a World Heritage Site which is some program concocted by UNESCO to preserve certain spots around the world, neat.
The city sprawls over a relatively small valley, the houses spread throughout the valley and climb up the folds of the mountains. This location means that there are tons of narrow little callejons (alleys) winding up the steep hillsides. The locals have got to be in good shape to live here. Some of the callejons are so narrow a young Romeo and Juliet couple are fabled to have exchanged kisses across the ally (unfortunately we don’t have any pictures of this particular ally because every time we went the ally was packed full of tourists lined up to take pictures). A very interesting fact is that the valley used to be a river basin (the Guanajuato River), when the Spanish built here the river mostly flowed through tunnels underneath the city; however, after many years of raising buildings to accommodate repeated flooding a damn was built and some of the water from the damn is rerouted to an underground aquifer, but in our humble opinion a large storm could be trouble. The tunnels where the river used to flow under the city were then paved for automobile traffic. This series of tunnels run all over the city and minimizes vehicle traffic through the city, can’t say that this works all that well, but it is very cool and a point of interest of the city.
I think we are not gonna bore you with semi decent descriptions of the city and yada, yada, yada… so we are gonna post a ton of pics and describe them. We will say, however, that Guanajuato is a beautiful city and one of our favorite for historical buildings so far.
But before that… The Mummies of Guanajuato: here is a place we visited mostly to satisfy some inner morbid desire to experience it and understand why it exists. All of the mummies in this museum are naturally mummified, they do not go through the extensive process that Egyptian mummies went through. The dead bodies in this museum were part of a group exhumed from the catacombs under the Panteon (the main church) between 1865 and 1958 in Guanajuato, at a time when law required relatives to pay taxes in order to keep the bodies of their deceased in cemeteries. If the relatives could not pay this tax, they would lose the right to the burial place, and the bodies were exhumed. Ninety percent of the bodies in the Guanajuato Panteon were exhumed because relatives did not pay the tax; however, only 2% of them were naturally mummified. Some of these 2% are in the museum we visited. WARNING!!! Do not look at the following pics if mummies and death may disturb you… we were deeply disturbed after the visit to this Mummy Museum. Most folks in Mexico view death in a very different way than other cultures do.
O.K. now without further a do: the photos of Guanajuato