Zacatecas: Savor the Spirit of a Spirited City

October 3rd , 2012 by
Categories: Mexico

Fresnillo, ZacatecasOn Saturday evenings, people gather around musicians in red jackets who play music beside the fountain. The golden sunlight is fading beyond the palm trees it silhouettes.

While captivated by the march beat of clarinets, trombones and drums, I hesitate to follow the callejoneada (small-street procession). I’m an uneasy woman going alone, as the procession will wind through a shadowy maze of dark alleys and angled streets.

A young couple walks toward me, speaking rapidly in Spanish. “...habla un poquito Espanol,” I said, meaning I speak only a little Spanish. “That’s ok”, says the man in crisp English. “We are teachers!” “The procession ends at Plaza de Armas,” says the woman.

That’s one of the few places I know! Several friends and I walked that first morning, past potted weeping fig trees and cheery, red geraniums at Meson de Jobito, the venerable inn where I stayed, through the city’s historic heart.

Except the modern cars on cobblestones, I might have been walking to La Catedral in the 18th century. Feeling the same warm sun and cool shadows, breathing the same rarified air.

A leisurely breakfast, including huevos rancheros and membrillo (quince) --fueled a walking tour of central Zacatecas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. We’d stood in the Plaza de Armas beside a Mexican baroque cathedral with an exhuberant façade, striking double towers, and surprising secret passageways. A smiling man with a burro was walking along Avenida Hidalgo, cooperatively posing for pictures.

The fast pace of a group tour became an impressionistic blur. Outside the Palacio de Gobierno, we found a mural in a stairwell depicting regional history.

Click here for photos of Zacatecas