It was another long bus journey to the city of  Guanajuato, one of the biggest silver mining areas in the world. One of the old mines was founded in the 1500's and is still functioning. The city is set in a valley, consequently it is hot in the day and nice and cool at night. It is another old colonial city with  imposing churches.
Because it is in a steep sided valley, expansion has taken place up the hillsides creating wonderful views of the city.
In order to make the city more vibrant, the owners have been allowed to paint the buildings in 'Colonial colours'!
The city parks stand out very clearly.
And as always churches outsize the rest of the buildings.
The traffic was becoming a problem, so they built a whole subterrainian street network. The tunnels create a completely different network of roads - quite remarkable and easy to get lost!
They have a bizarre museum in the city. By accident they discovered that people buried in the cemetery were 'Mummified'. It is a natural process. Because of the rock formation and the dripping of the water through the caskets the bodies were naturally mummified.
they have removed the best bodies and made a museum of them, it is bizarre!
and a little disturbing - they claim to be doing research!
Every year a Cervantes, Don Quijote  Festival is held. The Don Quijote museum is fascinating, over 500 different painting, sculptures and murals have been assembled. I managed to take a photo of The Don Quijote chapel before I realised 'photos were not allowed! The murals are by Dali.
 We climbed up to the Victoria mine, the oldest silver mine in the world. The 15th century smelting plant is still standing - but not used any more!
The buttresses were interesting - this one of an elephant makes you wonder how they knew about such things in those days!
The mine shaft is still the original, but the ore is taken out at the bottom of the shaft now.
The original owners built a church for the workers and I presume to thank God for their good fortune!.
It is one of the oldest, biggest and most decorative churches in the area.

The door is still the original.
The baroque stone carving exquisite.
Inside all was gold and silver.

The tiny figure of Christ was one of the best we had seen.
The city itself is a delight, a maze of twisting streets and tree filled plazas.

Places to sit and eat were abundant.
The brightly painted houses added real character to the city.
We wondered what these were.
We discovered they were huge sheets of pork scratchings!!!
The market of course was a riot of colour.
with some very whiskery masks!
The Cathedral was a major building!
The inside as impressive as ever.

The city has the oldest university in Central America, and is in fact older that Oxford and Cambridge!
The city is full of students, which makes it very lively.
The opera house has been refurbished, we were sad not to see a production.
The outside is especially magnificent at night.
We really enjoyed the three nights we stayed, especially the sitting in the parks watching the world go by, as we are beginning to feel a little travelled out!



We stayed in Torreon overnight - this is all we saw of it!
plus a hotel and a big double bed!
Then we were off again on another big bus.
Passing the desert for many miles
Arriving in Zacatecas was rather like coming in from the cold.
A beautiful Colonial city founded on the wealth from the Silver mines.
Needless to say there were many churches, but our favourite was this.
At one time it was a prison, but the government converted it into a Museum and a library to hold the ancient city records.
How old are these?
The Franciscan Monastry next door was remarkable.
The door in was small but impressive

What was behind it took our breath away. 
Along the walls were gold retablos.
There were seven!Each one as impressive as the other.
They were busy restoring them.
built in Pink Stone the building glowed in the strong light.
One of the oldest mines is now a visioers centre. It demonstrates the diabolical conditions the miners had to put up with in the old days!
We were all kitted out with helmets, but higiene was important! A shower cap had to be put on first.
this little mine train pulled us into the tunel.

It was dim and cold inside,
A museum of old machinery and remarkable crystals.
 This is a lump of silver!
children worked in the mines as well.
great gaping caverns made me feel very insecure!
But the little shrine protected the miners.
The beautiful streets reminded us of Bath.
We are still in Cowboy country!
Not 'kitch' this time, but Silver!

The last night we went to one of the reccomended restaurants for a typical Mexican meal.
The restaurant was called:
The decor was not what we expected.
and the flower arrangements were different too!
But the food was delicious, note the dark Mexican beer!
Very nice and malty.