Living “high life” in Central Mexico

Real de Catorce Travel Blog

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Zacatecas "viaducto"

The planned 2-3 days in the colonial gems of Mexico turned out to be a two-week long journey. Zacatecas, Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende listed by all Mexico travel guides as the best preserved historical cities in the whole Mexico have beaten all of my expectations.

My initial tendency to be extremely “polite” with the ancient towns have changed into an amazing experience of interacting with the contemporary daily life of ever young and vibrant cities.

Guanajuato street singers
In Zacatecas I visited every possible museum until I started to feel that I  was missing something extremely important. And what I almost missed was the beauty of the modern day Zacatecas.

 Having arrived in Guanajuato I was more into experiencing the amazing night life of this superb community of students, professors and … miners. A quarter of Guanajuato population (total of 80,000 people live there) are students. Guanajuato nights are filled with street performances given by local youngsters and or visiting superstars of national importance.  Just the streetlights decorating the downtown with amazing shadows and new colors compared with daytime Guanajuato made me thirsty for long late night walks around this miraculous city.  I was already seeing how it would be great to teach finance at the local university, enjoy the central garden military orchestra performances while having a late morning “chocolate caliente”, paint the innumerable crooked “callejones” in watercolor becoming a part of this almost surreally happy community.

Incredible ghost city at 2,760m above sea level
 

But seeing and processing so much of cultural data for two weeks non-stop almost led me to a nerous breakdown. My mind cried for a well-deserved break. That’s why I was so happy to find myself in Real de Catorce, where we’ve been enjoying the thin air and relative solitude for over a week. The city, once super-rich with silver mined at almost 3km above sea level and being home to over 40,000 people, nearly deserted by 1980s. Even now, when Real has been a world known mecca for contemporary artists, hippies, and psychedelic practitioners, its population is still below 1,500. It still creates the ambience of a ghost town with most of the buildings, particularly in the outskirts of Real, still empty and even ruined. Add to that a relative difficulty of reaching it by any means of transportation (other than helicopters) and you get a physical manifestation of that dream world refuge that so many of us are seeking and can never find.

 I totally fell in love with Real and all of my lazy part is telling me to stay “just for another day”. But my inner explorer pushes me to go for the next set of experiences. So, in 5 hours a small group of people including myself are leaving this high altitude miracle to descend to the desert that is a mile below. The goal is to look behind the curtains of the performance called “daily life”.

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Zacatecas viaducto
Zacatecas "viaducto"
Guanajuato street singers
Guanajuato street singers
Incredible ghost city at 2,760m ab…
Incredible ghost city at 2,760m a…
Guanajuato downtown streets
Guanajuato downtown streets
Real de Catorce
photo by: lilplasticgirl