It has been a week of two halves. The first not so good the second wonderful. We started our mainland Mexico adventure in Mazatlan. This is a huge, rundown, seaside resort on the Pacific Coast, very reminiscent of somewhere like Jomtien in Thailand and fairly underwhelming as a destination. We found a lovely apartment where they let us bring the bike inside at night. Security is very tight here as it is on the edge of Sinaloa, one of the cartel strongholds.
We moved on to a small village town called San Blas. This was a very poor place but had a rustic charm. The people were lovely and we stayed opposite the school where the marching band was having their rehearsal. In the morning on our way to breakfast though we saw a needle and other things lying in the street which made us feel there may be a more sinister side to the place.
Our next destination was Guadalajara, the second biggest city in Mexico. We rode through the area where they grow the cacti and make most of the Tequila in Mexico.
To be honest, I was pretty disappointed and felt quite overwhelmed by the noise, traffic and potential security issues. The historic centre was lovely but a very tiny part of a huge, sprawling city.
You can see how much of the beautiful old city has been torn down, although there is some interesting brutalist architecture, if you are into that kind of thing. We could not find anything to eat there to satisfy our needs and ended up back at the room with a pizza and warm beer. I would not go back there.
Things started to pick up when we arrived at Guanajuato. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the stunning silver cities founded by the Spanish in the 18th century. The nearby silver mine once produced 65% of all of the world’s silver so there was incredible wealth here and it can be seen in the amazing colonial buildings.
We first stayed in a village nearby called Valenciana. Our little rented house was beautifully rustic but was very chilly at night being at 2,000m.
We then moved into the town and stayed in another little house at the top of a very steep hill. This is inescapable as the whole city is build on steep hills.
The houses are all painted wonderful bright colours.
There is also a labyrinth of tunnels acting as the road network and as city car parks. These are quite extraordinary. The streets are so steep that I had to get off the bike and walk. It was pretty scary as the roads are also cobbled. Dave is certain that we will drop the bike at some point in one of these towns.
With a huge student population, there is a great vibe in Guanajuato. There was great food and plenty of places to sit out and drink cheap beer. We loved it.
These amazing sculptures are dotted about and you can visit the birthplace of Diego Rivera, the famous muralist who was married to Frieda Kahlo.
The city is incredibly beautiful and somewhere we would come back to.
Only 90km up the road we headed for San Miguel del Allende. On our way we passed about 1000 cowboys all heading for some special party.
San Miguel is another stunning colonial city, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built on very steep hills.
It has been populated by a large number of expats from the USA. It is extraordinarily well preserved but does not have the Disneyland feel that some over persevered places can have.
Although there are fantastic European style bakeries, vegetarian restaurants and swanky craft shops to service the gringo population and visitors, it is still a real Mexican town full of friendly locals going about their daily business.
When we arrived yesterday, I visited the dentist to have root canal work done. It was not the best evening of my life but it was OK and it feels good now it is over. Today, I have been treating myself to some cafe culture by way of reward for my braveness. Dave also had his eyes tested and ordered some reading glasses. So we are taking advantage of the cheap medical services Mexico has to offer.
We are staying in a lovely, old hotel. Many hotels have shared or private kitchens so we can cook.
Santo Domingo Suites-our hotel