Day 12: Zacatecas - Guadalajara
Zacatecas Travel Blog› entry 12 of 120 › view all entries
I got up at dawn, in order to be able to see as much of the city as I could, as I had to get back to Guadalajara again tonight.
Zacatecas is a really nice, beautiful city, with many buildings in the typical colonial style of a rich silver mining town.
Part of the former silver mine is open to public, so obviously that was one of my main destinations. As I had gotten up so early I arrived at the “Mina El Edén” at a quarter past nine. I was greeted by a large sign, saying “open: 10:00”
Ah well, I enjoyed sitting in the gorgeous morning sun and met a nice Mexican family. Friendly father, crazy mother and three ugly daughters.
And later the same thing, she asked if I had a girlfriend. No? Well, I've got three for you!
The mine opened and we had to sit in a little train, which brought us 500 metres into the heart of the mountain. From there onwards a guided walking tour started, which ended at the other side of the mountain in bright sunlight.
Mina El Edén is a former silver mine, where, just like everywhere else in Latin America, the God-fearing Spaniards had indigenous Indians and African slaves dig passages and mine silver using little more than basic tools and bare hands.
Last time I visited a silver mine was in Potosí in Bolivia, where in 400 years over 8 million people had perished in the mine. Mina El Edén wasn't as bad though. The official dead toll is only in the hundreds...
As I was doing this tour with a Mexican family, I decided to ask their opinion about the Spanish conquest. After all, the conquista had destroyed the entire indigenous culture and stolen their natural resources, resulting in poverty which most Latin American countries suffer from to this day.
Jorge didn't agree with me though. “Sure, they stole all our gold and silver, but they also gave us beautiful churches and at least we all speak Spanish now”
At the other side of the mine we took a cable car up to the top of the mountain, to Cerro del Bufo (buffalo rock?) from where you have a terrific view over the city.
As I had to catch the bus back to Guadalajara I had to say goodbye to the nice Mexican family. The mother did seem a bit disappointed that I hadn't courted any of her daughters.
The trip back to Guadalajara was even worse than the trip to Zacatecas had been. Most of the busses were full, and because of a delay I missed my connection in Aguas Calientes, and had to wait for an hour. All in all it had taken me 9 hours to travel from the centre of Zacatecas to the house of Miryam and David, which is no more than 320 kilometres. In hindsight this turbo visit to Zacatecas hadn't been worth it. Not that I hadn't liked the city, on the contrary, it is a very beautiful place, but I had spent 15 hours in uncomfortable buses in order to visit Zacatecas for 18 hours (8 of which were spent in a grimy hotel). It just hadn't been worth the effort. A pity.