So, as I've already said, Guadalajara was the next destination following San Miguel de Allende. Down the road from San Miguel, we made a little stop in Guanajuato, another colonial city. I had forgotten how the whole town is basically a maze of tunnels, at least to enter and exit. Makes for absolutely confusing driving, but still very cool.
The second largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara was a place we new very little about and therefore we didn't really have any expectations either. Arriving after dark we made our way to San Jose del Tajo Trailer Park after a few circles past on the highway. (The whole lateral road thing gets tricky). No one was around in the management office, but a friendly permanent resident from Thornton, CO told us to pick a space and make ourselves at home. I'm not gonna lie - it was pretty much one of the grossest campgrounds we've been to and to make it even sadder, there we a bunch of permanent residents that had built themselves patios, carports and additions to their rigs. They were parked and not going anywhere. God, I hope my retirement never looks like that. The bathrooms were Nasty (with a capital N) and we didn't stick around long after we got up. Actually not even long enough for the main office to open up, so we slipped some pesos under the door with a note that we had paid what we thought the short stay was worth.
We found ourselves quite delighted with Guadalajara's city center considering our lack of prior knowledge. There a lots of plazas and walking malls and mini parks that connect to the main square. Plus our travel companion was ecstatic over the amount of fountains around! We did a few hours worth of basic touring, lunching and hanging out. Ben had been dying to try the local cuisine, torta ahogada (drowned sandwich). We're not sure whether it was where we chose to eat it, or the actual torta itself, but unless you like week old bread that's as hard as a rock, we can't really recommend it.
Hidalgo's cry for independenceAfter lunch we headed on our way to the nearby suburb of Tlaquepaque, where swanky design boutiques line pleasant cobblestone streets offering everything from ceramics to exquisite light fixtures and handmade wood furniture. Guadalajara's best interior designers are said to do much of their buying there. We strolled the afternoon away, stopping in a few of the more moderate looking galleries and boutiques. I even found a few Mexican hand blown glass items to add to my collection. If there's one thing that I may love more than textiles, it's glass.
The main square was hopping in the evening.
Not sure what we'd be doing for the night, we luckily stumbled by a cute hotel that accepts and welcomes pets! Yay! How could we say no? All three of us were ready for a break from camping. Not only did Mia have a cute little playmate for the rest of the night (the owner's pup), but the hotel also had a courtyard full of parrots and pygmy monkeys. Very cool again.
We're always up for ice cream!
We're always up for ice cream!
The next day we rose early to hit the much talked about market in Tonalá. Supposedly there are great finds at a fraction of Tlaquepaque's prices. There were certainly a TON of choices at the market, but it was such a headache pushing through the crowds with our hot little dog that we gave up and hit the road for the long awaited return to our favorite beach trailer park!
Glass blowers in Tonalá