Queretaro, Mexico; Part 1
Took the 10AM flight from DFW, arrived in 2hrs. Nice flight with American Eagle.
The QRO airport is small, no jetbridge; you get off the plane, walk over on the tarmac to the Immigration station in the building and wait as they only had 1 person processing in Immigration.
Weather was a little cool for us, as we had just arrived from 85F weather (supposed to hit over 100F in Dallas this weekend), and it was in the 70’s here. Apparently, it gets in the 80’s during the day, and in the high 60’s at night; perfect weather. Highland location helps with great weather
Got outside airport, and did not see the Holiday Inn person who was supposed to pick us up (arranged the night before). So found free airport WiFi, got on Skype, and called the hotel. The guy was on his way was the answer. Waited about 10 minutes, and the shuttle arrived. Took about 30 mins to get from the airport to the city center where the hotel is located. Nice hotel, clean, and recently renovated. Got upgraded to an Executive room, which was very nice.
Decided to hit the town (mid afternoon by now); the Centro is supposed to be very nice with Spanish Colonial architecture, plaza/gardens everywhere and lively. The hotel staff gave us a map and told us it was a 15min walk. So started walking. Immediately around the corner from the hotel, hit a school (pre-K to high school) and hit a lot of traffic; where parents were driving up to the school to pick up their kids. Interestingly, the names of the kids were being called out as their parents drove up, and the kids were escorted by adults to their parents cars. Very civilized and organized.
Kept walking 15 mins, still no centro historico. Asked directions, and were told we were on the right path. After total 30 mins, we finally arrived. (I don’t think any hotel staff have ever walked this road before). Nice old town, cobble-stone roads, with many old churches, historic building, plaza’s with nice gardens and people chilling and milling around.
Were getting hungry by now, so asked a local shop guy for a good local restaurant; fortunately he spoke some broken English, and directed us to a small restaurant where he told us we would get good local fare. Went there and got the menu in Spanish; nothing in English, and staff did not speak English. Fortunately, a young guy sitting at the next table spoke some English and offered to help. Ended up ordering a salad, and some local special Enchiladas; with fresh fruit juice. Great tasty food, with lots of different salsas/chutneys. Great food and cheap .
Then did a walking tour around the centro, saw the Govt building, the Teatro, multiple churches etc. Then came across a Tourist Info office; so went there and got decent maps. The lady there highly recommend the Templo de San Francisco, where a tree grows which has thorns in the shape of a cross. Told us to hurry there as they closed by 6PM.
So hurried there, and saw the 2 sanctuaries of the church, and went to the side where the monastery was and were shown the place by an older man, who spoke decent English. Saw the tree with the thorns in the shape of a cross, apparently this tree only grows here. The guide also showed us around this old 15th century monastery, which was quite something. The building walls were about 3ft thick, and had water delivered there by an aqueduct built specially to bring water here from a spring in the hills. The place was quite a maze and would have got lost without the guide. Tour was well worth it.
Then went over to see the aqueduct; which is the symbol of Queretaro. On the way back, Dilshad spotted a local bus at a bus stop, and asked the driver if he went by our hotel. He said he did, so hopped onto the local bus #38, which fortunately took us right to our hotel, for 3 peso’s each! Not bad at all.
Back at the hotel, it was time for happy hour, so while drinking, decided we should do some tours around the area, and so booked a car for the next morning. However, car was only available at the airport, so after confirming with the hotel that they could give us a shuttle ride to the airport the next morning, booked the car.
Then took a taxi at night back to the Centro historico for a meal. Ended up at a fancy restaurant in the Plaza des Armes with live music. Food was OK, but not as good as the lunch place. Took a taxi back and hit the sack.