Saturday, December 21, 2019

Querétero, Mexico, el veintiuno de Deciembre, 2019

There’s a huge grocery store a couple blocks away called Comer which is funny because that’s the verb to eat in Spanish. I love visiting grocery stores to see the products and prices.  This one is very similar to a Walmart.  I bought a few supplies, came home, then started ‘touring’.  What a beautiful place!  It’s just church after plaza after monument after fountain after .......

Queratero was founded in 1531 as an Indian town in the middle of the Canada Valley.  The Centro Historico has more than 1400 monuments in 204 city blocks which is 4 square kilometres.

The Fountain of Neptune was built in 1797-


There are many pedestrian only streets.  The architecture is so European.  Coming to Mexico is a much cheaper holiday than going to Europe - the food is awesome, the exchange with the Canadian dollar is good, the climate is nice - except this apparent unheard of cold snap I am experiencing. There are so many reasons to get away from the beach and see Mexico-


They too have an ice skating surface-


In the Jardin Zenea there are a lot of statues and scenes for Navidad including Noah and his ark-


The diablo-


Pregnant Mary on her way to Bethlehem.  She doesn’t look too pregnant to me-


and the stable-


Across the street is the Templo San Francisco which was the first religious complex in the city, dating from the 16th century.  It housed the Franciscan Order who were the first to arrive to Christianise the Indigenous.  Should have left them alone I say.  It is in Baroque style. The facade features a monumental tower of canters, a native rock of Mexico.  The figure of the apostle Santiago - Saint James is also on the front.  The convent/Templo divided the city.  To the east lived the Indigenous and to the west were the Spanish living in their Baroque mansions-


A special mass was being performed for a girl celebrating being fifteen-


Nearby was the El Danzante Conchero Chichimeca Statue.  The legend goes that on July 25, 1531 on the Sangremal hill, the Spanish conquerors, allied with the Otomi chief Conin, fought a battle against the Chichimec Indians.  The Chichimecas were about to win when a solar eclipse happened and scared them.  Soon, and to appease the Indians, Senor Santiago appeared on a white horse with a cross. The Indians cried “He is God” and began to dance and worship the cross-


Seems there’s a statue around every corner-


This one is really cool because the strings are falling water-


Homeless.  He was picking something out of her hair.  I think she was alive-


I took a wrong turn and ended up at Plaza Alameda, a huge park-


Walking back to where I was supposed to be, I passed by a pollo stand and got a whole chicken for $4.87-


In the Plaza de Armas is the statue of the Marques Juan Antonio de Urrutia, the benefactor of Queratero.  It’s better known as the Fuente de los Perritos - Puppy Fountain-


Also in the Plaza is a New Year greeting-


The Palacio Gobierno-


is also in the square.  Construction began in 1740.  It’s also known as the Casa de la Corregidora- the mayor’s home.  There are three murals depicting the history of the city.  This one speaks of the Reformation and includes, from the left, Guadalupe Victoria, Ignacio Allende, Miguel Dominguez, Miguel Hidalgo, Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, Jose Maria Morelos, Vicente Guerrero and Augustin de Iturbide-


Independence-


The Constitution of 1917 is shown on red travertine marble and displays Venustiano Carranza and Francisco I Madero-


There’s a Christmas tree in the centre with a Nativity scene-


Just a few steps away is the Templo de la Congregacion de Guadalupe where I crashed another wedding-


I only stayed because a man was singing Ave Maria to music played on the pipe organ while they signed the guestbook.  Acoustics in these churches are awesome.  Once married, the couple didn’t rush down the aisle and leave the church, they were congratulated by the guests before they walked out. I liked that.  Once outside on the front steps, soap bubbles were blown and rice flew-



Just around the corner is the Parroquia de Santiago-


where a girl, called a quinceanera - a combination of the words quince and anos, was celebrating her 15th birthday with a mass called Misa de Accion de Gracias. It’s a thanksgiving mass to give thanks for the girl making the transition to a young woman.  This custom dates back to the time of Porfirio Diaz, president from 1876-1911, who loved all things European so he made sure the country adopted European customs.  I didn’t stay until the end but the mariachi band was waiting at the entrance to the church to play for her.

I continued on to the Convento de la Cruz which was built in the 17th century and is where Franciscan monks prepared for missions to Catholicise the Indigenous-


There are two chapels-




And another large Nativity scene-


Outside there’s a statue-


that says “He is God!  Why the word “He is God?”  Why always mention God?  Because God protects the dancer who says “He is God!”

I walked to the mirador to see the aqueduct which is almost 2 km long and dates back to the 1700s.  It’s 100 feet high and the 75 arches have been delivering water from the mountains for centuries-


It was raining so I decided to head towards home.  In spite of my careful walking, I fell.  I tripped on a platform for a light maybe?  It was a six by six square, flush with the sidewalk but there were four six inch bolts coming up out of it.  I didn’t even see it.  I fell forward, my chicken went flying and I skidded along the wet road on my belly. There were people around who helped me up and picked up my chicken bag. I was so pissed off but then a man pointed out what I had tripped on and you really couldn’t even see it.  Luckily, for the second time this trip, I wasn’t hurt but my pants were soaked and my hands were filthy. I’m glad I’m wearing black pants. Who knows how really dirty and disgusting they are!

Continuing on, I stopped in a couple hotels to see their courtyards.  In the Hotel Gran Misiones-


and la Casa de la Marquesa-



There are so many pedestrian streets-


Another cool fountain- the strings on the cello are flowing water-


I want to visit three museums and have today and tomorrow to do it.  I’ve booked a wine tour for Monday - museums are closed Mondays so that works out perfectly.  El Museo del Calendario is a calendar museum!  So cool!  It talks about a lot of things including piñatas.  There were 9 piñatas in the museum, for nine days - the 16th to 24th of December, also representing the 9 months of pregnancy and the birth of Jesus.  They also represent strength, humility, disappearance, charity, trust,  justice, purity, joy and generosity. The piñata was brought to Europe by the Chinese and the Spanish brought it to Mexico.  It changed from the form of a pina - pineapple to a star.  There are seven points representing seven sins.  Man, these people can twist and invent and make anything seem like that’s the way and why it is-



Besides the piñatas, the Museo has explanations of where calendars come from, including the Roman, Aztec, Hindu, Muslim, Chinese, Mayan, Celtic and even French.  According to the Chinese calendar, I’m a bull which means I’m a Capricorn.  I’ve always been a Sagittarius. Whatever.  You have to take all of this with a grain of salt.  They have a copy of an Aztec calendar that weighs 24,000 kg and was made in 1479.  I’ve seen the real one in Mexico City-


They also have hundreds of calendars.  Women had to look sensual in the 50s-


Bullfighting was also a popular image-


Artisans were portrayed-


There were paintings by various Mexican artists.  I remarked to a worker that even though we were in Mexico, all the subjects in the paintings were white. He said the artists were all Spanish-


A calendar from 1937, the year my Mom was born-


1930, when my Dad was born-


1956-

My year, 1961-




1989-

1990-



1992-


Farming-


The courtyard was beautiful-


I have seen these dolls for sale in the last few places I’ve been.  A woman in the gift shop explained that they come from Amealco, Queretaro which is a puebla.  They represent the Indigenous from this village where they speak Otomi.  The dolls are all called Lele which means baby in Otomi.  The clothing they wear is typical of the Amealco-


After the museum I headed home and passed by the Cathedral San Felipe Neri but it was closed-


I had a big day but a good one.   It’s still raining, harder than ever but it’s supposed to stop in the night. I’m thinking of going to see Star Wars tomorrow but it’s only in Spanish. I’m hoping it’s mainly about the special effects so it won’t matter that I can’t understand much!  I’m also planning to wander and visit another museum or two!  Buenas noches!

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