Friday, January 8, 2010

New Years Road Trip Part 1

Okay Girls.... I have finally found my Mexico. Much of Guaymas is so new and modern that it doesn't really seem like Mexico to me. I have missed the "Mexico" sites and experiences we had while living in Manzanillo. Well that changed last weekend.
On New Years Day Darryl and I took a 2 hour drive south and then for 30 more minutes up into the mountains just east of Navajoa, to the beautiful town of Alamos, Mexico. Alamos was founded in 1681 and 188 structures in the city are declared National Historical Monuments. Population 13,000, Elevation 1,346 ft., there are 200 Americans and 50 Canadian who live there. It is one of the cleanest municipalities I have ever been in in any country. It was 83 degrees on New Years day. I took over 150 pictures while we were there, so I will have to make more than one post. This is just the beginning! On the road to Alamos..
as we climb into the mountains....

we find our first monument. A replica city gate built in 2005 to commemorate the city...

This is a beautiful new home we passed about a mile outside of the town proper.

Yes... Darryl's creative wheels were turning like crazy the whole trip.

Coming into the town.......
We are driving a 2006 Dodge 3500 1 ton flat bed. It is very large and the streets are very narrow. It added to the adventure.
Yes, that is a cobblestone street.

Below- Behind the bars are the front doors to houses and some businesses.
At one time Alamos was the Capital of North Western Mexico, including Sonora, Chihuahua, Baja California, Sinaloa, and Durango. It was a bustling city then with many rich and important people living here and a big silver mine.
This is the main plaza across from the big Cathederal, The Church of the Immaculate Conception.

The Handpainted ceiling of the Gazebo is breathtaking!

The Church. I have many pictures of this beautiful Cathedral, so I will make a separate post ot them next week.

Pictured Below - The long row of houses on your left are actually 4 or 5 different things. 2 hotels, a couple of shops and 1 residence. From this end to the sign hanging in the middle was one Hacienda. (All of the haciendas around the church were owned by the wealthy families.) It belonged to the silver king and when his daughter was married in 1864 the paved the steps and the street and the entry of the church with silver bars for her to walk on. They took them up later that night. I am standing in the side yard of the church taking the picture.
The City Hall which was built in 1905.

I think this is the modern internet and satallite cables going into City Hall. . . . Not sure.

Now, close your eyes and imagine that there is no ceiling over this structure, because that is how it was until the signing of the NAFTA agreement with Canada and the U.S. in the 1990's when they put this "dome" skin covering over it to shade it for the dignitaries. Geez... Politicians spoil everything, don't they.
It is a beautiful building and the acoustics are marvelous!

Yes, the building was empty except for a tour guide so I tried out the stage. "Think of Me" sounded pretty good in there. See the windows above my head?

The view from the stage.

This is the view from the outside of those windows that were above the stage. I don't know why the only have bars over part of it.

Another beautiful street.
Some of the doors were just plain cool!

The area of town affectionately called "Gringo Gulch" because of all the Americans and Canadians who live on this street.

Let me tell you about the Entry. Steps on one side and a ramp on the other. Do you know why?

Because the stables were located at the back of the courtyard and the only way to get the horses inside was through the front door. Hence... stairs for the people, ramp for the horses.

The minted a lot of silver coin in this town. This building below is now a school, but at one time it was the mint with the assay office on the right. They minted coins for Mexico, Japan and Spain.
Some very well known Americans had winter homes in this quiet place. Mary Astor and Caroll O'Conner (Archie Bunker, or Grandpa in Return to Me) as well as the baseball player who lived behind this gate....

...the great Micky Mantle.
In the late 18th Century or Early 19th Century they raised silkworms and manufactured silk. The silk factory was on the left and the rest of the building on the block was the owners hacienda.

I can't describe how beautiful these homes are. They have no front porches or yards outside their walls because their Courtyards inside are huge and all open to the sky. (I couldn't help but think of Jesse in our house in Idaho spreading her arms wide and exclaiming "If this house was in Mexico we wouldn't need this!!" talking about the dome ceiling.)
This little girl is dressed for their cooler weather. It was about 82 degrees when I took this picture. What a cutie. She was standing by a house bearing this name. . .
The House of 14 Little Angels. :-)
A fixer-upper.
That tall palm tree, pictured below, is actually growing out of their courtyard.

Below you can see the remains of the Governor's Mansion. It was built in 1905, but after the Revolution in 1915 (Think Pancho Villa and Emilio Zapata) The silver mines were shut down, Many of the wealthy people left town and the Governor's mansion was abandonded.

Below - A differnt view of the church.

We took a walking tour, but for 100 pesos ($8.00) we could have toured in this little gem.
And Darryl likes the little doors. I think it reminded him of Morocco.

Below - The other Plaza we drove past on our way into town. They had several of these huge trees in the plaza. Darryl and I are wondering how old they are. I am sure they are at least 25 -30 ft. in circumference.
This town is just so peaceful and tranquil.
Another little door for Darryl. Yes, we peeked in a saw the courtyard. That's in the next post.

In it's first life this building was a bank it is now a private home.

We walked on some back streets and found this other fixer upper. Darryl said he could probably afford this one for me. :-)
It's a little more open than I would like.
And, if you are wondering how they keep people from coming over their walls, this is your answer.
Tune back in next week for "Peeking through the gates at the courtyards", "Inside the Church of the IC" and "Just who are Jerry and Steve?"


Cali and Travis said...

Yeah. I could live there.

Adele said...

What a beautiful city. And gorgeous pics. Looks like a marvelous afternoon.