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.
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.
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.
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.
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