Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bus Morelia to Guadalajara

The Cathedral in the center of the Historic District

     Primera Plus Bus offers a luxury ride to Guadalajara from Morelia and I enjoyed the four-hour trip over 180 miles of hill country with a view of largo de Cuitzeo  and the high plateau north of Lake Chapala.

     We arrived at the new Terminal Nuevo Millenium (Nuevo Central Camionera)  bus terminal where Omnibus de Mexico, TAP, ETN, and Primera Plus serve much of Mexico.

Premera Plus has a sparkling new terminal to the right as you face the stations. The terminal offers immaculate rest rooms and decent food I had discovered on a previous trip passing through.  I ordered a burger which the clerk popped into the microwave and then laced with onion.  Coffee would wait till I reached the old section of the city.

Primera Plus Bus terminal in Guadalajara is new and sparkling clean.

     The cab took me the six miles to the historic center for 120 Pesos.  The cab driver made some hotel suggestions and I took one.  Although I usually shop for a deal,  I was tired and took his advice.   Of course, the driver is going to get a commission on this recommendation but his advice and kind answers to all my questions seemed a fair enough trade.  We reached the center and it was still just as beautiful as many proclaim.  (The most beautiful city in Mexico, some say)

Guadalajara is the capital city of the State of Jalisco and located in what is considered the western Pacific area of Mexico although it is still a two hundred mile, four hour jaunt to the coast at Puerta Vallarta.

     The city itself incorporates several barrios and numbers about a million and a half in the center and about four million in the suburban region to make Guadalajara second only to Mexico City in population.
     Industry and high tech give Guadalajara enough leisure time for culture which includes an international film festival, an international book fair, the annual Mariachi Festival, and the bragging rights for hosting the 2011 Pan America Games.

      First settled in 1532, Guadalajara started its cathedral in 1561 after the area had been secured from Indian attack.  Augustinian and Dominican priest arrived to begin the conversion the indigenous people to Christianity while the construction of the cathedral was underway.  The building was dedicated in 1618, that is two years before the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth MA.

The taxi took me to the historic downtown area of Guadalajara the oldest section of the city where the Cathedral, the rotunda dedicated to the famous citizens of Jalisco State, and many parks make Guadalajara's Center an easily walked area.

The large park east of the cathedral is the scene concerts and 
art exhibits.

The Plaza de Armas offers gardens and wrought iron benches and a 19th century iron kiosk constructed in Paris. Also in the historic area are many other parks such as the Plaza de Liberacion, Plaza de los Mariachis, and the Plaza de Agave.

The Cathedral, a combination of Gothic and Renaissance style, dominates the downtown skyline with its 19th century towers, a restoration after an 1818 earthquake.

Guadalajara's ideal high plateau, mountain climate at 5,400 feet makes it a comfortable city for walking. Golf is also available at one of the area's five 18 hole and three nine hole clubs. On Sundays from October to March, bullfights are held in the Plaza de Toros.

Another tourist activity is Guadalajara's shopping for arts and crafts made by the local people of Jalisco State. Of note is the Mercado Libertad in Guadalajara billed as the largest Market in Latin America under one roof. Another market of varied goods, located outside of Guadalajara center is the Tlaquepaque, it has the reputation as the world's greatest shopping experience. This market attracts international interior designers.

I booked a room in the Don Quixote hotel, a decent and clean, older hotel about three blocks from the Cathedral.  In-room Wifi and cable are becoming standard amenities in Mexico's modern city hotels.  The room went for 550 Pesos.
For the first day I relaxed in the Centro Historico where outdoor restaurants and coffee shops offer a respite.
There are over 100 hotels in the city that range from 5 star to 3 star. These old hotels give Guadalajara a European flavor which is made more international by national and international flight service out of Guadalajara's Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, International Airport (GDL), 12 miles southeast of the city. The airport serves Houston, Chicago, and LA as well as Mexico City where flights reach Europe and South America.

The Museo Regional de  Guadalajara displays 
historic artifacts and fossilized bones of  animals that
 once roamed the high plateau of  Central Mexico.

  My first stop was the plazas where artists had set up to demonstrate their craft. Interesting to note that Guadalajara also has a zoo and an adjacent children's amusement park. The Cultural Museum (Museo Regional de  Guadalajara) is located in the historic district near the Cathedral.

Regional Museum (Museo Regional de
Guadalajara) displays artifacts from

various ruins in the area. Find the
entrance at the Rotonda de los 
Jaliscienses Ilustres. 

Find the entrance to the Regional  Museum of Guadalajara 
across  from the park honoring writers  and other notable figures 
from Jalisco State of Mexico. 

During October, Guadalajara hosts an Octoberfest that draws musicians and performers from all of Mexico to celebrate culinary and performing arts.

Guadalajara is also noted for its mariachi bands, strolling musicians who entertain at the restaurants in the Centro Historico.  In September, Guadalajara holds a Mariachi Festival.
The Plaza de Armas offers gardens and wrought
iron benches and a 19th century iron kiosk 

constructed in Paris.

Tequila is another signature tradition  particular to Guadalajara and Jalisco State. 
From Guadalajara I planned a trip to Patscuaro and the ruin site of Tzintzuntzan before I headed north and east to Aguascalientes.

Next: Bus to Aguascalientes

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