We loved the national parks (NP) and want to visit even more parks. The next one is gonna be Sierra de Gorda NP, BUT on our way we decided to visit Jerez, which is known for is traditional Easter celebration. The Eater holiday and celebration is big in Mexico, and this was Easter Sunday. The center of Jerez was closed of and people was celebrating the holiday on their horses. Drunk and happy Mexicans on their horses. Only 5 minutes went by before Esben was talking to one of the horse riding Mexicans, and he offered a free beer, and who can turn down a cold beer, when it is warm and the sun is shining.
They were six men on horsebacks, and they had their own band with them. When the band was playing, one of the horses was dancing to the music.
The traditional way to party in Mexico is also called “callejoneadas”. A group of professional singers and musicians, dressed in traditional costumes, starts up in the center of town and a crowd gathers. Sometimes the whole mob will winds through the streets and plazas playing, dancing and singing heartily. The tradition is said to have come from Spain. Often everybody is expected to join the party, so bring your own vine and beer and have a great day.
After waiting 15-30 minutes a guy showed up with the cold beers. The beer was not just a normal beer, it was called a clamato, which is half beer and half spicy tomato juice (clamato juice). It was a first, but will not be the last. It is different and we love it! Enjoying the clamato in the shade buy the church in Jerez and praying for more cold and free beers/clamatoes in the future.
In Zacatecas we decided to stay at a Hostel, but because of the Easter Holliday everything was fully booked until Monday, so we had to camp one more night before going to Zacatecas. We could camp for free just outside the entrance to the La Quemada ruins. They closed the gate at 6:00 pm, but still several cars came by to ask when it would be open. We couldn’t tell them anything, and the gate was not open until after 10 am the next day – In my tourist book the La Quemada ruins should be open from 9 am to 5 pm… well the Mexicans are really relaxed about timing. Everything here in Mexico are different, and when it will not done today, they say “Mañana”. “Mañana” translate into tomorrow, but here in Mexico it doesn’t mean that it will happen tomorrow, it just mean “Not today”. So several days can pass by before anything happens.
The next morning I went for a run in 2100 meter elevation – just saying that my legs were burning because of the altitude. I still did 6 km in 34 minutes . Esben adjusted the carburetor by lowering the needle, which lowers the amount of fuel the bike receive when riding. It did a huge difference, because my bike had been drowning the last week. We got to the Hostel where we had to pay 200 pesos (10 USD) per night for a private room with a double bed and shared bathrooms. The owner allowed us to park our motorcycles right in front of the hostel, where there was video surveillance and we stayed in the room on the second floor with the balcony, so we could always look down, to check if the motorcycles where still there. We put on the steering lock, a strap lock (can also be used to locking the helmet to the motorcycle) and a lock for the break disc with an alarm. And covered by our fancy camouflage covers.
Zacatecas is the capital in the Mexican state Zacatecas, which is known for its wealth due to silver mining. The city runs along a narrow valley in the elevation of 2400 meters. A local tribe Chichimec mined a local mineral deposit for centuries, but when the Chichimec gave a piece of the fabled metal to the Spaniards, they founded a settlement in 1548 and started mining operations, creating wealthy silver barons in Zacatecas. To learn more about the history of silver mining in Zacatecas we visited the El Eden Mine.
We went on a tour, which was in Spanish. But just walking around inside the mine was amazing. We would love a tour in English, but it’s rare to get a tour guide, who can speak English here in Mexico.
The El Eden Mine was one of Mexico’s richest mines from 1586 to 1960’s mining for silver, gold, iron, copper, zinc and lead. By the early 18th century, the mine of Zacatecas were producing 20% of the Nueva España’s silver. The mine was first opened to the public in 1975. The workers were enslaved indigenous people (on the bottom picture), and up to five people a day died from accidents, tuberculosis and silicosis. The picture show how the mining methods changed over more than 300 years of mining from hammer to air pressure tools. The mine was closed during the 1960’s because urbanization, inundations and that the mine was to close to the city.
Water runner through the El Eden mine. There was a lake at the bottom of the mine, which was more than 200 meters deep.
After the tour we walked through an exhibition of different rocks, crystals and minerals from all over the world. Remember: if you want to see the original size of the picture, just click on it
The green crystal was used as kryptonite in the first superman movie in 1954
The hostel had a fully equipped kitchen. So we went to the local marked and shopped for fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. What is on the pictures?
Upper left and right picture: belts and dried chilies
Bottom left and right picture: heart from a cow and chicken feet
Buying pumpkin seeds and meat from the butcher
Walking up and down the steep streets of Zacatecas… during the day and in the evening.
On our way to the viewpoint “Cerro de la Bufa”. According to my activity watch, we walked more than 100 floors that day. We walked all the way up there, but it is also possible to take the cablecar “Teleférico” for 50 pesos one way.
Panorama picture of Zacatecas from “Cerro de la Bufa”
Beautiful view and a great walk. Birds on the cliff side going the last few meters to the top
Resting our tired legs at our room, and enjoying the view. Zacatecas became an important base for the Catholic missionaries. In the right picture you see the tower of the cathedral, which was built between 1729 and 1752.
Visiting the cathedral where the 12 Apostles are featured. In 2010 the grand altar was finished by Javier Marin, a famous artist from Mexico. It features 10 large bronze figures and the figure of Christ, arranged on a backdrop of golden blocks.
The view of the cathedral during daytime from our room at the hostel. The pink-stone cathedral is an ultimate expression of the Mexican baroque
We did fell in love with Zacatecas. We loved walking in the streets and visit the local market. Also the history of Zacatecas was of interest, which explained how the the town became wealthy because of mining, which is still visible when you walk through the town. It’s also one of the cleanest towns we have visited, and less touristy, meaning that we could walk around without people trying to drag us into restaurants or trying to sell us stuff. There are several green parks around Zacatecas and almost all the streets have sidewalks. That’s why we will end this post with a few good pictures from Zacatecas. We can recommend everybody to visit the town, and it is a good alternative to Guanajuato, which is more touristy.
Our adventure is continuing to Jalpan, a smaller town in the middle of Sierra de Gorda National Park. For the first time we have used couchsurfing, and we are gonna stay with a guy called Marco. Learn more about Jalpan, Sierra de Gorda and our stay with Marco in the next post.