We have had a busy few days here in Guanajuato.
On Saturday, we headed out on the bus to visit the Ex-Hacienda las Trancas, a former 17th century fort now converted to a luxurious hotel, about 15 kilometers outside of the city of Dolores Hidalgo, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We’d not heard of this place before; the owner, Kelley Wilkinson, left a note on one of my blog posts, and after a bit of an email conversation, invited us to come out and spend the day at the hotel – we were delighted.
We were amazingly lucky with the bus – just as we purchased our tickets and got on, it pulled away – huzzah! Suzanne greeted us at the Hacienda and gave us a tour of the whole facility, showing us the eleven very large and beautifully appointed guest rooms, the dining room (with seating for 30), the spa, the gym, the horse stables, and the pool.
After the walkabout we had an incredible lunch in the gardens and spent a couple of hours enjoying the pool.
After a taxi ride back into DH, once again, just as we purchased our bus tickets and jumped aboard, the bus pulled away for the hour and a half ride back to Guanajuato.
For more info on the Hacienda las Trancas, click here.
See more pictures here.
Yesterday, after my friend Heather had told me about a printmaking studio and artist’s residence here in Guanajuato, Ty and I paid a visit to Piramidal Grafica, the ex-hacienda and studio of Jim and Jenny Hibbert.
Originally from Portland, where Jim taught printmaking and drawing in a university, they now make their home in what used to be an old tanning factory from the 1700’s. The wells and pools from the old tanning era can still be seen in what is now their garden.
They purchased this place, just about at the top of the hill on the opposite side of the city from our house, as a ruin in 1989 and moved down full-time about five years ago, with all their many tons of art gear.
The hacienda building itself includes their living space, an artist’s apartment which they rent out, a studio area upstairs, a gallery, a huge printmaking studio, a workshop, and an outdoor area which could be used for sculpture. Jim was kind enough to show us around the workshop and gallery – what a wonderful place!
For more info on Piramidal Grafica, click here.
After a coffee at the Italian Coffee Company next to the Basilica, we made our way over to Calle Barranca to visit Carl, the innkeeper that I’d met outside the grocery store when we first arrived here.
Carl is the host of a B&B without the B which occupies a full block of real estate in the Centro area.
He, and his little dog Millie, showed us the four rental suites and the beautiful roof deck,
which has a stunning view out over the city.
On the roof they are experimenting to see which flowers will be able to flourish in the dry heat of Guanajuato. The furnishings, decorations, and colourful design of the house are really beautiful; this would be a great place to stay while in the city.
See more pictures here.
For more information on Carl’s house, click here.
Last night we joined the crowd down at the park below our house to watch the Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) Parade. Including marching bands (which we’ve heard practicing for 2 weeks),
costumed characters in tableaux on the back of trucks re-enacting the life of Jesus,
full-size effigies of Jesus on a donkey and Jesus crucified carried by townspeople,
and a crowd of folks carrying palm fronds, the parade, put together by the Jesuits, snakes its way through the city from the Park, along the main drag of Benito Juarez, to the Templo of the Compania de Jesus, taking about an hour and finishing just before sundown.
Today, to complete our round of Ex-Haciendas and churches, we visited the Ex-Hacienda del Cochero, otherwise known as the Museum of the Holy Inquisition, and the Temple of San Caetano in Valenciana, in the hills above Guanajuato.
The Inquisition Museum contains quite a few dark installations of figures being tortured in various ingenious ways, many instruments of torture, skeletons hanging and lying in graves, cages swinging from the ceiling, and three dimensional holograms (whose purpose here was mysterious to me), all displayed in lurid red, blue, and green coloured lights.
The Templo de San Caetano is a few blocks further up the hill from the Museum and is a stunning salmon-coloured Spanish baroque confection, containing three floor to ceiling golden altars
and a small chapel with a reclining Jesus in a large glass case and a severed head of Christ in a tiny one.
After perusing these, we headed back down the steps to the local loncheria, a small spot with a grill and three plastic tables, where we had a delicious lunch of tortas for about $1.75 each.
Tomorrow morning we leave for Puerto Vallarta; I’ve arranged for a taxi to meet us at 9:30 at the Museo de las Momias – hopefully he’ll show up! I have really, really loved Guanajuato and hope to be back in the not-too-distant future.
See more pictures here.