Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bus to Aguascalientes

Bus to Aguascalientes

Aguascalientes Cathedral
      Many bus companies serve Aguascalientes.  Chihuahuenses, Primera Plus, and omnibus run buses from Mexico city north and west.  Primera Plus reaches Aguacalientes with several trips each day from Guadalajara that take three hours and cost 216 peso.      
      Primera Plus goes as far north as Mazatlan, Chihuahuenses reaches the border of the US.
       I took a cab into the center of Aguascalientes and read the tourist brochure on the way.  Aguascalientes was founded in the 1570s and later became the capital of Aguascalientes State.
I was happy to learn that the city is blessed with many pedestrian only streets and a huge plaza in the historic center. Automobile traffic goes under the plaza in a tunnel and this has created a spacious walking area in front of the cathedral.

      The mountain climate at over 1800 meters above sea level (6200 feet) is temperate at the coordinates of 21° 51′ 0″ N, 102° 18′ 0″ W 21.85, -102.3 where the city is in the center of Mexico's Alto Plano.

  Of note to visitors walking the city are the sections of the city or barrios that include Guadeloupe and its old cemetery, San Marcos for its gardens and baroque church, and the San Marcos Fair, an annual festival celebrated the last two weeks in April. Visitors can walk from the main square towards the San Marcos Gardens and then through the gardens to the baroque church and another extensive pedestrian only area of restaurants and clubs. The plaza de Toros is along the way as are many shops and restaurants that line the pedestrian only area that leads to a second bull ring.
One of two bull rings in Aguascalientes

Aguascalientes is located on the Alto Plano which is an earthquake belt with much geothermal activity. The region was named for the hot springs that continue to draw tourists to the spas. The hot springs led to the citizens of the city being called by some, hidrocalidos, or hot water people.

       Modern industry and manufacture have made Aguascalientes a prosperous city. Preservation of its historic center and colonial architecture have made the city a destination for tourists.

San Marcos Gardens
      Aguascaliente's most notable tourist event is the San Marcos Fair. This two-week music and performing art event takes over the pedestrian center of the city during the last two weeks of April. The fair attracts millions of tourists each year to the many performance events, concerts, bullfights, and crafts booths that spread throughout the historic center in the area of the Central Plaza and the San Marcos Church.

      The oldest buildings in the historic center are the 1575 baroque cathedral and the 1664 Government Palace. The palace is notable for its many arches within the interior.

        Next to the Cathedral, the Teatro Morelos is famous as a convention place during the planning of Mexico's political direction after the revolution of 1910. The center has a small museum.

     It is in this area and throughout the pedestrian areas between the Cathedral and the San Marco Church that the San Marcos Fair holds its many events from mid-April to early May.

     The Aguascalientes Museum, the Museum of contemporary Art and the discovery Museum offer exhibits.

Shopping in Aguascalientes, Avenue Benito Juarez,
 a pedestrian-only street and shopping area 
       The Ojocaliente is one of the original bathhouses and is still in use with its natural springs that feed the spas from hot water bubbling from the geothermal activity below ground.

     Another interesting tourist visit is the old railroad station and the antique steam engine. Aguascalientes produced steam engines for much of Mexico   and South  America.

    I knew that I would be returning to Aguascalientes to continue my trip east so I spent just half a day in the city walking the pedestrian only streets.  I caught a taxi back to the Aguascalientes bus terminal and from there I caught a bus to Zacatecas.
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