2012 Mexican Roadtrip: Our Three Days in Zacatecas, Zac., Mexico

Zacatecas is one of the colonial towns in Mexico that is great for tourists. It grew rich with mining silver and other metals and the architecture and charm shows the wealth. It's at 23° N and about 2200m (with highest elevation being 2690m at Cerro El Grillo).The municipality is wedged between the Sierra Madre Occidental and the sub-range called Sierras y Valles Zacatecanos. The area is very rugged terrain filled with narrow valleys, ravines and mountains.

There are about 150000 people in Zacatecas city but the tourist area is compact. Off of the main tourists streets were streets where the people of Zacatecas live and work--a thoroughly functioning city. 

We were out every morning early, before the city woke up. The combination of high walls and big doors hide whatever is behind them--and they are typically closed in the mornings. We walked from our hotel toward the touristic area, after having room service breakfast delivered.

When we got to the main, rococco, baroque church, there was a service being conducted.
The main cathedral of Zacatecas
 At around noon we took the Zacatecas Tolley Tour "Tranvia Panoramica" (for M$50x 2 = M$100). It was enjoyable and took 35 minutes.  (Servicios Turisticos y Recreativos, informacion: (492) 924-8779, e-mail:grupodivierto@hotmail.com). The buildings look like they are well-maintained. They are painted lovely shades of mellow colors and look great. The town itself looks wonderful, and with its cobblestone streets, is charming. The brown hill surroundings are less than pretty.

After our trolley tour we went to the Museo Pedro Coronel de Zacatecas (M$15 x 2 = M$30).
Pedro Coronel was an artist from Zacatecas and was very rich. While we didn’t like his art, his collection was phenomenal—Picasso, Chagall, Miro, Motherwell, Dali and that’s not all. He bequeathed his work and his collection to the city. Amazing. It also appears that he was in competition with his brother. The next day we went to the Museo Rafael Coronel who was also an artist and an obsessive collector (Museo Rafael Coronel, tel. (492)924-2160, e-mail: museorafael@hotmail.com M$30 x 2 = M$60).Rafael’s collection is an astonishing and colorful display of masks from around the world. He also collected pottery, puppets, instruments, pre-Hispanic objects and folk art. Wow.
This is an example of the gazillions of masks at the Museo Rafael Coronel
The site for his collection is excellent--it is in the Ex-Convento de San Francisco. 
The Ex Convento de San Francisco where the Museo de Rafael Coronal is located
On Sunday afternoon there was a big event re-enacting a battle on a huge field. Our car was safely in the hotel's parking lot so we took a taxi there. It was quite a scene. And then it started to rain in Zacatecas for the first time in 3 years, we were told. It poured!
Lomas de Brancho festival
We had lunch on Sunday at the Acropolis, Cafe y Restaurante (Fundado 1943,  e-mail: impresos_digital_zac@hotmail.com tel. 491-107-2748) From what we could glean, it was started in 1943 by some Arabs. This restaurant, like every hotel, other restaurant and shop is obsessed with art. We had tamales for lunch with a watermelon juice and it cost M$85.50.

We also went to the Museo Zacatecano (M$30 x 2 = M$60),  Antigua Casa de Moneda, Calle Dr. Hierro No. 307, Centro Historico, Zacatecas, C.P. 98000, tel. (492)922-6580, e-mail: museozac@hotmail.com, web: http://www.zacatecastravel. We started our tour of the museum with a good video and then walked through the museum. Newly renovated, it has lots of interactive exhibits. It was excellent particularly the part on the Huichol people. The building is impressive too.

For dinner on Sunday night we went to Gabiota Tequilera (Lopez Portillo 208, Conurbada, Zacatecas, Mexico). It is on the way out of town, where all the big box stores are. 
It was recommended by Alberto at reception at Quinto Real and we were the only customers. When we left at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night the restaurant locked up. The service was good and so was the food. First they brought an amuse bouche of “caldo de camarón” which was a delicious light soup that tasted intensely of shrimp and had small morsels of shrimp at the bottom of the glass. Dimitri said he wanted to order some more and the wait-staff said no, he could have more for free. We were also brought rolls (squishy) with two dips. One was a creamy salsa verde and one was a ranch dressing that had a spicy kick to it. As usual we shared everything and had a “El Filete de Pescado (Tilapia) al gusto a la Veracruzana” with tomatoes, olives and peppers. We usually avoid tilapia but this was good (though frozen) and the sauce was good too. With that we had one coppa de vino tinto (M$45), one guarniciones de veduras mixta a mantequilla (M$45) and one appetizer of Champiñones al rebanada de baguette (M$75). We also had 2 vasos de agua filtrate. For dessert we had “El Pastel de Elote-suave pastel de eltoe recién horneado y helado de coco (M$52). It was a moist cake of corn and good. The coconut ice cream was good too. When we paid the bill we were given tiny cups of coffee liquor. The meal was enjoyable and the service was good too. They closed when we left as there were no other customers. We spent M$361 plus tip.

On Monday we continued our tourist-ing and our museum-ing. We went to the central market (where we bought fruit for lunch) in Zacatecas and the Plaza Bicentenario.

On Monday night for dinner, we went to La Leyenda (Matamoros 216, Zacatecas, Coahuila, Mexico, tel. 492-922-3853, web: www.restaurantezacatecas.com).This was a whimsical place with a collection of masks and other folk art that was impressive. Again it struck us that every hotel, restaurant and shop in Zacatecas was obsessed with art. It was very entertaining as we walked around looking, appreciating and sometimes gawking. At La Leyenda we gawked. We were brought chips (totopos) and a salsa Molcajeté. We decided on a sopa and a main course. The sopa was de nopal, the flat cactus, con camarón (M$55). It was tasty and not too spicy. The nopal still didn’t have much taste but was good in the soup. For our main we shared the “Adobe de Puerco” (M$70). It is a stew-like dish with a thick sauce reminiscent of mole. It came with rice and beans. It was a good meal and not too much food for us, for once. The meal came with tortillas. For dessert we shared one guabate con helado (M$25), guava and ice cream. The guava was fresh and Dimitri liked it. There was one other customer when we were there. We would recommend going to La Leyenda just to see the place. We spent M$185 plus tip.

We felt like we had done a good job being tourists in Zacatecas and the next morning we set off for San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato state for our three month stay.

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