Baroque fatigue

Thanks to a stupid mistake when reading the bus timetable, I ended up breaking the journey between Guanajuato and Zacatecas with a night in Aguascalientes. I think coming straight after Guanajuato any city would have struggled to compete; Aguascalientes didn’t even come close. Still, it gave me a chance to have a quite evening in reading, which is good to do from time to time.

Aguascalientes: Dont bother

Aguascalientes: Don't bother

The next day I didn’t want to hang around any longer than I had to, so hopped on an early bus to Zacatecas. Since leaving Mexico City, I’d stopped at three of the finest colonial towns in northern Mexico, and all three world heritage sites. Zacatecas was to be the fourth, and after enjoying the other three so much, I was really looking forward to getting there.

Yet when I arrived, I just felt flat. Yet another imposing baroque cathedral? Wow. More gorgeous colonial buildings and pretty squares? Big deal. A cultural festival too? Yawn. Yes, it was time to learn a travel lesson: too much of the same thing, however nice, gets boring pretty quickly. I needed a change of scenery. So I resolved to change my plans: I’d cut some time from my planned stay there, and skip stops in Parral & Durango so as to get away from towns and back to nature as soon as possible, by heading north to the Copper Canyon.

Zacatecas: Yet another cathedral

Zacatecas: Yet another cathedral

Now don’t get me wrong, Zacatecas is lovely, I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it. uckily my hostel was fantastic, with a roof terrace overlooking the cathedral, and I met a lovely crowd of people from France, Ireland & Israel who helped distract me until time to leave. The other highlight was the masks museum, showcasing the rich history of mask-making in Mexico since pre-Hispanic times to the present day.

At least the masks were cool

At least the masks were cool

Getting to the Copper Canyon ASAP necessitated an overnight bus journey to Chihuahua, where I planned to stay the night before heading on down to Creel, my first stop in the canyon. Now overnight buses are never the most appealing prospect, but I figure I’ll be taking a lot over the next year, and I had to start somewhere.

When I bought the ticket, the woman told me it’d arrive at 8am; I figured with the usual Mexican levels of punctuality, it’d be late and arrive at a civilised hour, after which I’d spend a relaxing day in Chihuahua. It was not to be. She was either blatatly lying to me, or the bus driver was a maniac, and instead I found myself being turfed out of the bus (just as I’d drifted into deep sleep, of course) into a chilly and rather empty bus station at 4am. Lovely. Rather disorientated, I headed for a coffee to wake myself up, and soon realised that most of the hostels in Chihuahua wouldn’t be open yet, so I was faced with a long wait. So I decided to cut my losses and jump on the first bus straight to Creel instead, which left at 6.30am.

One way of dealing with being in Chihuahua at 4am

One way of dealing with being in Chihuahua bus station

19 hours after leaving my hostel, I finally arrived at my destination, absolutely shattered, but very, very pleased to be away from the cities, and enjoying the fresh mountain air of Creel.

You can see the full set of pictures from Aguascalientes & Zacatecas by clicking here


9 responses to “Baroque fatigue

  1. Wow, sounds like a bumpy couple of days. Good that you were able to realize what you needed and get out of Dodge.

  2. dooo doo doo doo doo


    so where are you now then?


  3. Can’t wait for your report on Copper Canyon. Yeah, too much of a good thing becomes a bit boring.

  4. Just arrived in a rather anonymous town called Tepic, just breaking the journey on the way to Guadalajara, where I’ll be tomorrow. I’m knackered and just chilling out in my hotel now.

    Copper Canyon report coming soon…just had to sort through about 500 photos first!

  5. This post brought a smile on my face. So many times we get duped by this time thing…. arriving at odd hours and finding nothing to appease us.

    2nd photo is wonderful.

  6. so good to speak to you on friday! I miss you! It’s always good to change your plans, because you can. too much of the same thing will inevitably become duller than a dull thing -I felt the same about NZ after a while and was glad to do something different (though I wouldn’t recommend fracturing and dislocating your shoulder as a way to pass the time!). Good to hear you’re being flexible – and reading is always good. You have to take the time to stop every now and again – you’ve deserved it! enjoy the time away from work. xx

  7. hahaha. your bottom photo/caption made me laugh!!

  8. I just went to Aguascalientes and it’s gorgeous, I strongly disagree with this article. Maybe you should visit a National Park if you want to be away from architecture and culture … and cities.
    I did bother reading about the rich history of the city, and went to the elegant hot spring baths, it was phenomenal!! Don’t bother reading this if you wanna see breathtaking architecture….

    • I have to disagree with you there Pascual – I do think Aguascalientes has a few stunning buildings (and I will admit that casually dismissing the place in just one short paragraph was a little harsh) – but the fact of travel is that you are not going to like everywhere you visit, especially if you visit similar places in quick succession – and the fact is, after being wowed by the stunning colonial archticecture of Mexico City, Queretaro, San Miguel de Allende & especially Guanajuato in quick succession, I found Agusacalientes to be a real disappointment, and nowhere near as pretty as the others. After travelling for another month or so in Mexico after this, it just confirmed my view – yes, Aguasacalientes has a few pretty buildings, but it just does not compare to the majority of Mexico’s great colonial cities.

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