On another “field trip” with my Spanish school, Escuela Falcon, six of us students load up into a van on an early Sunday morning to explore the nearby city of Dolores Hidalgo, another “Pueblo Magico,” or Magic Town, a tourism designation for cities with natural, historical, or cultural significance. Dolores Hidalgo draws crowds for three very different reasons. Continue reading
Sitting in Starbucks just inside the large floor to ceiling open wooden doors, I can hear two different mariachis bands battling it out in the Jardin, complete with dueling snare drum and cow bell. A group of estudiantinas, strolling musicians like Pied Pipers, are conducting a sing-along at the end of the block. There is a crowd following them, Continue reading
We make one last stop before leaving the Huasteca Potosina region at the Sotano Golindrinas, or Cave of the Swallows. Falling just six feet short of being 1,000 ft wide at it’s widest point, this air pit cave is over 1,200 ft drop from its highest karst ridge overhead, making it (according to wikipedia) “the largest known cave shaft in the world.” Although swarms of birds are reported, Continue reading
As we continue our southerly loop around the Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra Gorda, we stop in the Pueblo Magico, or “Magic Town” of Xilitla. I have written about Mexico’s Magic Town campaign before, whereby towns are chosen by the Department of Tourism for their natural beauty, cultural riches, or historical relevance. I make it my goal to see as many as I can, because each offers up some gem of interest or beauty usually worthy of an out of the way stop. Continue reading
Huasteca Potosina is often referred to as a “water wonderland,” or place of “aquatic adventures.” For the next two days, we will be spending time canoeing and floating down rivers, swimming in caves, and jumping off waterfalls. A photography enthusiasts dream! So one would think what a great opportunity Continue reading
I’ve quickly learned to not ever say “no” when an invitation comes from my newly acquired group of friends, as I am sure to regret it. At the conclusion of a recent violin concert, I am chatting with Karen, the friend I hiked with in Santa Rosa. She asks if I would be interested in joining a group of friends on an upcoming trip to Continue reading
At the first mention of “Mexico,” ones thoughts instantly turn to “cerveza!” Mexico has recently overtaken Germany in beer production to become the fourth largest brewer in the world. Beer production was up 8% last year. Of course, much of this is attributed to the duopoly of the two well-known Mexican brands, Continue reading
As much as I love Guanajuato, there are days that the “verticality” of it all starts to get to me. Everything is either up or down, including the three stories of the house where I am staying. The callejones are steep, the buildings stacked on top of one another, and I can’t see up over the “rim of the bowl” that is the valley of Centro. If I let myself start thinking about it, I can imagine the walls of the valley closing in. I feel the overwhelming urge to take my arms and push against the opposing hills so I can see out. A “verticalilty attack” has me feeling a little like Rapunzel up in the tower who has just pulled out all her hair.
When I get an email from newly made friends asking if I am interested in a Saturday hike, Continue reading
One of my favorite offerings at Escuela Falcon, my Spanish School, goes beyond the “escuela” (school) part. It’s the field trips. I still remember the excitement of a field trip as a kid…getting a break from school, time to hang out with other classmates, an exciting adventure, and even refreshments!
At Escuela Falcon, these are typically organized in the afternoon following the class schedule, and are led by one of the instructors. Though the instructors may not be official “guides,” they are a wonderful resource in helping translate and interpret Continue reading
Guanajuato is known for its language schools. Being a smaller city somewhat removed from the heavier touristed locations where English is more widely spoken, it offers more opportunity for immersion without the crutch of English speakers on every corner. The renown University of Guanajuato with its over 34,000 students also makes for a higher concentration of foreign students than one would typically see in a town the size of Guanajuato, many of them seeking accelerated Spanish immersion. The town manages to support five different Spanish schools in addition to the University’s language curriculum. Continue reading