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Old 10-23-2013, 05:44 PM   #64
Water Bear
SeanPNW's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Somewhere in Latin America
Oddometer: 494
19. Queretaro

Time to hit the road again, I figure Iíll head east right now (for the most part) towards Mexico city. This is about 5 hours away though and Iíve heard there is plenty to see in between. One of those places I heard I should check out is called Queretaro. So this is where I pointed my bike.

Catch you later Guanajuato.

The roadwork here can be fairly elaborate sometimes.

Key word is sometimes. Other times itís just good olí el natural.

I think I made a wrong turn though somewhere. This doesnít look like a major road.

Yep, made a wrong turn. Here we go, this is more populated.

I stopped off at a restaurant up in the hills for a road-sammy. $1.50 for fresh delicious bread and fresh ingredients, hard to beat.

Heading up into the mountains the weather was chilly. Still no need for another layer yet though.

The road was twisty and scenic.

I stopped off in a small town called Atotonilco, about 20 miles before Queretaro.

Iím told that itís a cool old town and there is a church here with a cool painted ceiling. Psshhhh, Iím in no rush, sure why not.

The outside had a patio that must have taken quite a while to make.

Honestly, I donít know much about this place, or the paintings, but as an opinionated person, I can tell you that they appear to be old.

And elaborate.

Iím told that the entire ceiling, and all of the paintings on the walls in here, were hand done by a single person.

Place also had some pretty old word-work on the floor.

Outside, there were several families milling about. They appeared to be here touristing the location as well.

As Iím mounting my bike I feel something gently tug on my pant leg. I turn around and find two little boys and their grandmother. The boys were too shy but grandma told me they wanted to come see the bike and say hey. She said that they loved motorcycles. Little kids are the shit. I picked both of them up and plopped them on the bike.

I chatted with grandma for a bit and then turned around again to see a bunch more people. This is exactly why I want to know more spanish, knowing even just a little allows you to interact so much more with people.

Again more people showed up, so we got another photo with everyone. Not sure if they all knew each other or were just friendly? Fun group though.

Leaving Atotonilco thereís some cool stonework.

The town seemed pretty historically rooted in catholicism.

A little while later after being back on the road I came into San Miguel. I had been taking my time and it looked like weather was going to start rolling in so I didnít really do much besides blow through it. Iím told though that itís another interesting place to spend some time in.

Much bigger than Guanajuato.

As I head further east and inland the weather seems to be on average cooler and rain a bit more. The greenery and lakes are good giveaways.

Coming in to Queretaro it seems smaller than San Miguel and has a small feel too.

I found a hostel where I could pull my bike inside and unloaded my stuff.

Queretaro, like many of the cities in this region, is a very old place. Back in the day people didnít have facebook or the internet. So instead people would gather in plazas and squares to chat, eat, socialize, and get up to speed on the recent going-ons around town. The plazas still exist today, but now there is free wifi in them, so people seem to gather to use that instead.

Hereís one of the plazas, pretty empty at night.

There are still people that use the plazas for socializing though, especially the younger people. I took this photo on a Sunday night. These kids were practicing a form of Brazilian martial art called Capoeira. Capoeira was developed by slaves in Brazil back in the 16th century. Slaves were not allowed to practice self defence or develop fighting skills so instead they developed a martial art whose techniques are masked as dance moves. Itís very acrobatic and is practiced to traditional Brazilian berimbau music. As the two boys practice-fought with each other the others (on the left) sang and played traditional string instruments to set the speed/tone of the fight/dance. Very rhythmic and easy to get lost in watching.

There seems to be lots of respect in latin culture for scholars and revolutionaries who helped move the country forward. This is a statue of a poet that was near the hostel.

Over the next couple days I explored the city more and got a feel for what the place is all about. The historical district is where itís at and as expected, there is lots of history here.

Some of the buildings are private residences though. The homes usually have a central open air courtyard in the middle, like their own little oasis in the heavily built historic district. This old lady was greeted by her rottweiler as she came back from the market.

The vast majority of the buildings are public or retail though. There are many small gardens and they usually are surrounding a central square or plaza.

The sound of church bells tolling and pigeons flapping away as kids chase them is a common sound here.

There is a strong shopping community here as well and the area is apparently a purveyor of fine leathers and shoes. Many housewives in heels roam the streets in this part of town, hands toting freshly purchased bags of clothes.

Food can be had everywhere, and because of the clientele there are plenty of more expensive sit down restaurants whose outdoor dining spots encircle the prime locations around plazas.

Iím on a budget though and prefer to eat what the locals eat anyways. I like street food and usually will order whatever I see that I havenít seen before. This time, my taste buds tell me that this is some sort of fried chicken with potatoes and a chile relleno. Of course one never really knows though, but it tasted good. I sat and gorged myself on two more types of tacos after this and people watched in one of the plazas for a bit.

A brazilian girl who's living in the hostel while teaching portuguese in town found out that I was into climbing. She was kind enough to show me the one and only climbing gym in town. It was tiny, but had a rad underground vibe. The people here are definitely into the scene and really do a lot with the little space that they have. Iíve now been here in Queretaro for 3 days and Iíll be leaving tomorrow to head towards Mexico city. Should only be a couple hour drive. I wonder what the largest metropolitan area in the entire western hemisphere will look like?

"In life sometimes you just need to value adventure above security and comfort."
No-Moto-Boundaries, Tanning A Ginger Tip-to-Tip, '04 KLR 688
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