04th September 2011

The Mexican hat dance and mariachis come from Guadalajara [29], Mexico´s second largest city – founded in 1542 in the Western Highlands of the country. Colonial stone mansions, churches and government offices in the historic centre stand amidst graffiti covered derelict buildings. We stayed about 6 blocks north of the centre at Las Sabilas, a hotel owned by an expatriate American garden designer. The wonderful garden with hummingbirds feeding on the flowers was a haven from the busy streets.  It happened that the annual Mariachi Festival was on, so we caught a free performance outside the Cathedral.  Click here for a short video.
Carne en su jugo, meat served in its own juice, is the culinary specialty here. We enjoyed it at Karnes Garibaldi while listening to mariachis. Torta ahogada, pork sandwich drowned in chilli sauce is also popular.
Rows of blue agave plants grow around the village of Tequila where the famous drink is made. After an interesting tour of the fields and factory we got to try the various finished products – clear, aged a little, aged a lot, and margaritas. Next day we headed out to Lake Chapala, the largest lake in México. Many North Americans are retired at the pretty lake side village of Ajijic. Tlaquepaque, about 10 k from Guadalajara is another colourful village, now absorbed into Guadalajara but with its own history and artisans.

Guadalajara Cathedral

One of 23 stone courtyards in the former orphanage (1805)

Torta ahogada - pork sandwich drowned in chilli sauce

Government building with Spanish coat of arms

Santa Monica - corner statue

Santa Monica - ornate carvings

Carne en su jugo - meat cooked in its own juice

Mariachi in the restaurant Karne Garibaldi

Garden haven at Hotel Las Sabilas

San Filipe

Ex-Convento El Carmen

Blue agave growing near the village of Tequila

The leaves are first cut off with a special tool ...

... then the agave pineapples are steamed at the beginning of the Tequila making process

Toilet signs in the pueblo of Tequila

San Agustin in Guadalajara

San Francisco

Free concert in a city plaza ...

... during the Mariachi Festival

Lake Chapala, the largest in México, is an hour southeast of Guadalajara

Colourful Tlaquepaque, home to many artisans, is near Guadalajara

Plaza at Tlaquepaque decorated for Mexican Independence Day