Travels with V
A sidestep kind of town
We’ riding in a super comfortable bus from Mexico City 230 kilometers north to the city of Querétaro. Not so well known as it could have been, in the 19th century Mexican leaders were debating wh ich city would be the capital city, Mexico City or Querétaro. And we all know the winner. It’s a quiet but developing city, on the surrounding hilltops you ca see lots of new multi-storey houses looking down on the old city center. A center that reminds us of Guatemala’s Antigua, maybe just a little more untamed.
In Querétaro we go see an old friend who these days is sort of half Mexican. Our first stop is the City hall where we persuade a guard to let us in to see the murals. Here heroes of the Mexican revolution are depicted, determined men and one woman. In spite of the fame of popular fighters like Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata it’s now obvious that it was a revolution that put the power into the hands of big business and major landowners.
Querétaro’s biggest tourist attraction is really big. It’s an aqueduct that cuts right across town, with wide arches. It’s 1 280 meters long and was built in the early 18th century to transport clean water from springs in the mountains down to the expanding city.
Downtown Querétaro we find ourselves in the middle of a university festival (!) with performing bands that consist of teachers and students. The most popular song that day is a real Mexican classic, ”Cielito Lindo”, written in 1882 by Quirino Mendoza y Cortés. The song became immensly popular in Europe some 60 years later, often called “Oh señorita”.
This band surely has some acrobatic talents!
As we stand in the audience listening to this concert suddenly a small indigenous woman with fiery eyes appears next to us, carrying a heavy bag on her back. She’s maybe 1,20 meters tall ans sells some kind of vegetable. A kind young man wants to give her some money, but isn’t interested in the vegetables. But she can’t accept this and runs after him. So the man buys her whole bag, lifts the heavy weight off her and walks away with it. It’s a very touching scene.
The comfortable bus that we took from Mexico City is the standard means of transportation between the cities. Querétaro has an airport but the jump is so short it’s pointless. There is also a train line, but these days it’s only carrying goods from the south up to USA.
Querétaro gives us the impression of being a well off and young city with lots of creativity and culture. It’s lively but secure and equipped with many nice waterholes. We recommend the “Hercules Biergarten”, an artisan beer brewery, restaurant with excellent food lodged in an old factory. Really big so there’s space for everyone.