Our Trip Through Old "New Spain" In Guanajuato, Mexico & Our Friend's Beautiful Wedding

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Upon arrival at BJX (Leon/Guanajuato International Airport) by Delta Connection, the Hampton Inn by Hilton in Silao sent a shuttle for us.  They had a guy meet us in the airport with a sign with my name on it.

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The hotel upgraded us to their "Master Suite" since I am a Hilton HHonors Diamond member.  The suite was not too shabby.

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Here is a view of Silao from our suite.  It is a large agricultural area in central Mexico.

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I hired a private car service from San Miguel de Allende to pick us up at the hotel in Silao and take us to San Miguel de Allende.  They sent a Toyota Corolla for us.  I did not want to draw any attention to us by getting a Suburban since Mexico can be dangerous.

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San Miguel de Allende does not have any large chain hotels.  They have nice boutique hotels like the one we stayed at.  It was called  Hotel Tierra de Sol y Luna.

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The hotel was very colorful on the outside.  It was very well decorated too.

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Our room had an old fashioned fireplace in it too.  The rooms did not have A/C or heat however so they gave us an electric blanket.

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The room had a cool looking tub and shower as well.  It took us a day of cold showers to figure out that "C" in Mexico means "hot."  LOL.  We thought their hot water was broken.

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After we checked in to the hotel, we went for a walk around the main square in San Miguel de Allende.  This is the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel.

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Here is a picture of Joy and I outside the the beautiful baroque style church in San Miguel de Allende.

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San Miguel de Allende is "Old Mexico."  There are narrow cobblestone roads with beautiful old world charm.

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There are lots of water fountains all over the town.  Apparently, the wealthy were only allowed water back in the day, and they were given a break on the cost if they provided water to the poor people.  So, they built fountains on the outside of their homes.

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We even found a Starbucks when we were walking around the town.

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I had to stop in and get a drink.

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For lunch, we went to Ten Ten Pie.  The food was really good!  I got some ceviche style shrimp.

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Here are some more pictures of the main square area including a nice central park area.

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The main square also had local ice cream vendors.  The ice cream was really delicious!  They even had some weird flavors like "cheese ice cream."

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I am enjoying the best mojito that I have ever had at Cumpanio.  I think it's the fresh lime juice that makes the difference.

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Here is Templo de San Francisco, which is another old church in San Miguel de Allende.

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This is the inside of the Templo de San Francisco.

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It looks like this building was built in 1542 by missionaries.  So many of the buildings in the town were from the Spanish colonial period in Mexico.

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Some of the streets in San Miguel de Allende were quite a trek since they were up hill.

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That night, we attended the rehearsal dinner for my friend, Manny, and his bride, Mari at Casa de la Noches.

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The main dish was a Mexican favorite called Pozole.  It is a soup like meal with chicken and fresh vegetables.

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Joy and I are pictured with Manny and Mari in this picture.

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My friend's wedding was awesome!  It started out with a beautiful ceremony in the main cathedral followed by a parade through town with a mariachi band and large puppets.

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There was also a donkey.

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Of course, there was also tequila too for us along the parade route.

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I am posing with Senior Donkey here.

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Joy and I are enjoying drinks and appetizers during the cocktail hour at the reception.  There was live music too.

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The view from the reception area was amazing.  One could see some of the churches in San Miguel de Allende.

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We got these cool tiles to take home also from the dinner.

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The food was excellent!  We started off with some amazing ceviche.

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They had a Mexican dance show also during the dinner for us.

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The dancers were pretty good, and I liked the Mexican Hat Dance the most.

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What blew us away was the fireworks show too that night.

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Joy and I are pictured with Manny and Mari.

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The cake is pictured here.  They had so much food there.  We even had flan for dessert before the cake.

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The music and dancing continued well into the early morning.  They gave us lots of cool party favors too like these masks and beads.

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The next morning, we had a private tour guide and car service take us along the Mexican Independence Trail from San Miguel de Allende to Guanajuato through Dolores Hildago.  This is a church on the outskirts of San Miguel de Allende.

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This is inside the Sanctuary of Jesus Nazareno de Atotonilco.  A famous painter painted the ceilings and inside of the church.  He used Spanish soliders in lieu of Roman soldiers since he only knew what Spanish soliders looked like.

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This is the famous church in Dolores Hidalgo where Mexican Independence was proclaimed in 1810.

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Here is a statue of Cortez underneath the "weeping tree" in Dolores Hidalgo.  It was said that he wept after the local native people defeated his army at this one battle.

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We toured a pottery factory in Dolores Hidalgo also.  This part of Mexico is known for the pottery work.

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Once we got into Guanajuato, we saw this church called Cayetano Temple.  It was built during the boom times from the silver mines.  Guanajuato is known for being a large silver producer.

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This is the Church of the Basilica in Guanajuato.

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Since most of the streets are too narrow for cars, Guanajuato has a network of underground roads which were built after the underground river was relocated.

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Joy and I are standing in a small alleyway in Guanajuato.

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We are pictured by a cool fountain in the city.

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We are outside the main University here.

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The view from the overlook above the city was amazing!  It is a really beautiful city.

    In December of 2015, Joy and I went to Guanajuato, Mexico to attend my friend's wedding as well as see old colonial Mexico.  Guanajuato is located in Central Mexico, and it is about 3 hours north of Mexico City.  The state is relatively safe compared to some of the states to the south which have drug violence.  We flew home to Sacramento from Las Vegas the Sunday before we left after visiting my family for Christmas.  That night, we drove down to Livermore to stay the night at a Courtyard Marriott so we did not have to get up that early to fight the morning traffic from Sacramento to San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

    On Monday morning, we took off for San Francisco International Airport from Livermore, and the traffic was very light since it was a holiday week still.  We got breakfast at an IHOP in San Mateo before heading to the airport.  Since my company lets me pay for airport parking with my Fastrack Toll Transponder, we just parked my company car at the Long Term Parking Garage and took the shuttle to the airport.  Our flight to Los Angeles was on Delta Shuttle, which is a new service between SFO and LAX using Boeing 717 aircraft.  They even gave us a small healthy snack consisting of some crackers with hummus and veggies.  Our short flight into LAX gave us about two hours to get lunch at the airport before our connection to BJX or Del Bajio International Airport otherwise known as Leon or Guanajuato International Airport.  Delta Connection which is operated by SkyWest flew us there in a CRJ-700, a small jet.

    After arriving at the airport and clearing customs, I called the Hampton Inn by Hilton in Silao with my International iPhone that I use for traveling overseas to pick us up.  They sent a guy into the terminal with a placard with my name on it to greet us.  I was surprised at how clean the airport and surrounding areas were.  They upgraded us to the "master suite" since I am a Hilton HHonors Diamond member.  The master suite had a living room, bedroom, and 1 and a half baths.  For dinner, we ordered in Dominos since we were pretty tired.  The best part of the meal was the Mexican soda.  They use real sugar in their sodas down there.  I was able to watch Monday Night Football too, but it was in Spanish.

    The next morning, our car service arrived promptly at 9:00 AM to take us to San Miguel de Allende.  They brought a new Toyota Corolla to pick us up in.  The drive took about one and a half hours from Silao.  After arriving into San Miguel de Allende, we had time to explore the city before the rehearsal dinner for my friend.  We checked into our boutique hotel, the Hotel Tierra de Sol y Luna, and we found the charm of the hotel to be very nice.  It was well decorated, and the staff was friendly despite not knowing much English.  I had to use Google Translate to talk to them.  San Miguel de Allende is truly a beautiful city.  It is representative of old Colonial Mexico.  The whole city is practically a UNESCO site.  We even found a Starbucks to get a drink at in town.  There are really good restaurants in the town too.  The city is built on a hill so the trek up hill is a lot of work, and we only did that once.  The hotel pays for one taxi ride back each day.  The taxis are very cheap however.  Overall, the costs in Mexico were pretty low compared to the US.  Also, the exchange rate was in our favor too.  There are lots of foreign tourists in the town, and there are also lots of ex patriots that live in the city.  I heard that 20-30% of the town's population is made up of foreigners.  I felt like Joy and I were in an episode of House Hunters International during this trip.  It was just amazing walking around this colorful town and trying the local foods.

    We had a fun rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding at another boutique hotel.  They served pozole which is a Mexican soup with chicken and hominy corn.  In addition, they brought chilis and other veggies on the side to put inside the soup.  We were also served some great guacamole with chips as well as flan for dessert.  There was a ton of tequila also.  Moreover, we had a drink called "ponche," which is like a punch made from boiling various fruits together.  One can add tequila to it too.  It is served hot like cider.

    The next day, Joy and I took a nice walk around San Miguel de Allende again.  Walking down from the hotel to the main square was not a problem since it was down hill.  We had to take taxis back up however for around 40 pesos (which is approximately $2.25).  The wedding started around 1:30 so we made our way to the cathedral before that.  The wedding lasted until midnight!  They have a nice church service in the main cathedral.  Afterwards, we walked from the church to the reception area through town.  There was a huge parade with a mariachi band, donkey, horse drawn carriage, and even two large puppets.  They gave us hand made pottery cups to put around our neck so waiters could fill tequila in it while we walked through town!  I was so buzzed by the time we go to the reception hall!  LOL.  They had nice appetizers and margaritas for everyone when we got to the reception area.  Afterwards, we went into the outdoor hall where the dinner was served.  They had traditional Mexican dancers perform for us as we started dinner.  Afterwards, they had a live band, and there was lots of dancing and partying until the early morning hours.  There was a ton of tequila also.  Moreover, they had fireworks!  It was just such a beautiful wedding!

    Our private car service and tour guide arrived the next morning to take us on a tour of the Mexican Independence Trail from San Miguel de Allende to Dolores Hidalgo.  This car service was really good.  The driver spoke English very well, and he was very knowledgeable about the historical facts.  It cost us about $200 US, but I think it was well worth it.  He showed us the first church in San Miguel de Allende before taking us to another church on the outskirts of town.  This church was once a fortress also during the Mexican Civil War.  Since it was around Christmas time, people left candy inside the church for Baby Jesus.  Apparently, there are pilgrims that come to this church to flagellate themselves with coarse ropes and whips to be closer to the suffering that Jesus endured.  We toured the little shops outside the church too, and we bought some local Mexican goods like a mochahate.  A mochahate is a stone bowl like thing with a stone pestle that is used to ground things or make salsa.

    Afterwards, we went to Dolores Hidalgo.  Dolores Hidalgo is where the Mexican Independence movement was born.  A local priest called the people to arms against the Spanish on the steps of the main church in the city.  Although independence was proclaimed in 1810, Mexico did not become independent until 1821.  I asked the tour guide a lot about the history of Mexico.  Particularly, I wanted to hear his take on the Mexican-American War and the Texas Independence War.  In 7th grade, we took Texas History, and we were taught about the Texas Independence Movement, and how Texas became a free nation after defeating General Santa Ana at the Battle of Guadalupe Hildago.  The guide said that Santa Ana is not held in high regards in Mexico.  We saw a monument dedicated to the war once we arrived in Dolores Hidalgo.  Afterwards, we were given a tour of a pottery factory.  Dolores Hidalgo is known for pottery.  Afterwards, we were shown the church where the Mexican Revolution began.  There was a nice park across from the church too.  We also got to taste some local homemade ice cream also from a street vendor.  Afterwards, we had lunch at a fast casual chicken restaurant in Dolores Hidalgo.  It is kind of like El Pollo Loco, but the food was way better.

    Our driver took us to Guanajuato next.  The drive through the Sierra Madres was beautiful, and we stopped at a famous church once we got into the area.  Guanajuato is known for silver mining, and it was a very prosperous area of the Spanish Empire in the New World.  They built this church with real gold on a lot of the walls and decorations inside the church.  After we saw the church, we headed to the main area of Guanajuato.  Since the roads are so narrow, they built a network for underground roads beneath the city.  It was pretty cool to see how this underground network of roads was planned out.  There was a river underneath the city before that was diverted a while back to prevent flooding.  Afterwards, they were able to use the caverns that were made by the river for these roads.

    We got a nice walking tour of Guanajuato from our guide.  We saw another cool church, an opera house, university, and even a mummy.  The soil around Guanajuato can mummify bodies easily.  As a result, there are lots of natural mummies around that area.  The weather was perfect too for our visit.  After the walking tour, we drove up to an scenic overlook of the city from a hilltop.  There is a statue of a guy who helped win a battle against the Spanish during the Mexican Independence War on that hill too.  Guanajuato was very colorful.

    Afterwards, our guide dropped us off at the airport, and we flew back to Los Angeles on United Express before we connected to another flight to San Francisco.  We actually spent New Year's Eve in the air, but we were so tired that we did not feel like partying much.  Our flight was delayed too.  I ended up ordering a bottle of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, and that was about all the alcohol I could take.  We took a taxi to our hotel in South San Francisco after arriving since we were too tired to get my car from the garage.  In the morning, we took the hotel shuttle back to the airport to get my car so we could drive back home to Sacramento after a nice visit to Central Mexico!


Last Updated:  January 8, 2010 10:54 PM
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