We arrived in Guanajato with several hours to explore the town. Emilie had told me where a good free parking spot was, so we left the campers there and walked down into the town. It was Sunday, and the streets were lined with stalls. We tried some new and heavily fried street food while we wandered through the markets.
We then walked down the streets towards the historic centre, via some of the roads that run through the reinforced walls of the city. This definitely felt more like Mexico.
We stumbled across one of those shops that sells endless woven tops and ponchos, just what I like. After restocking my wardrobe with more rainbow items, we continued. We had walked through the majority of the town centre, before heading towards The Alley of the Kiss.
This is a famous place in the town where the street is so narrow it is possible for two lovers to kiss each other from houses on the opposite sides of the street. Naturally, it was Sunday and very busy so we walked past but didn’t join the long queue of people trying to get their perfect instagram moment.
From here, we started hiking upwards. I wanted to visit the Al Pipila monument. This giant sculpture resides on the hillside above the city and offers the view that the town is famous for. By the time we hiked up, the late afternoon sun shone on the buildings and gave us a fantastic view of the city.
Not wanting to be arriving at the camping spot in the dark, we didn’t stay long. We were enjoying the city and decided we would come back again the following day, we still had time. We knew that the dirt road to the free camp spot on the hills above was rough, so wanting the daylight, we set off walking back to the campers. From the free car park, it’s not a long drive but the roads climbs steeply out the back of the city into the hills. Once at the top, we turned off and headed on a much rougher track over the hillside. We could probably have gone further, but we had find a nice quiet empty spot already and with the engine rebuild still very fresh in my mind I didn’t want the extra stress of the dirt road. The sun was setting already. It was a beautiful spot, quiet and surprisingly remote considering it’s vicinity to city.
The next morning was perfect. We awoke in the sunshine, to a clear bright morning. It was quite accept for a few cockerels crowing, a dog barked in the distance. It was the first morning we had camped in the wild since we had been back on the road and after over a month of cities, it was glorious. I love that feeling of waking up in an isolated spot. You didn’t pay any money to be there, yet you have the best view. No one really knows where you are and you have the whole day ahead of you to enjoy. I think it’s the reason we travel, that feeling is liberating.
After packing up the vans we headed back into the town. A little more purpose now than previously. First things first, we dropped off the laundry. That wouldn’t be ready until 3pm tomorrow. We headed off to find a phone shop. I had dropped my phone in Baja and slowly the black edge was taking over my screen. Very annoying. Lee had also repaired his phone, but the guy hadn’t cleaned the camera lens before fitting a new one over all the dusty bits. Needless to say, this didn’t work very well. I had been quoted 5,000 pesos to fix my phone, the reason it remained unfixed. The little phone shop we found was jammed between two normal sized buildings. Barely wide enough to fit a desk and a chair, it reached a far back enough for three blokes to be sat there. They said they would clean inside Lee’s camera for 200 pesos and swap my screen for 2,200. Not bad really.
While my part had to be ordered, Lee’s could be done right there. So, while we waited for Lee’s phone, we decided that we would like to sit in the restaurant on the viewpoint at the top. We had seen it yesterday, but didn’t have time to go in.
This time though, we took the cable car up.
After a brief wait, we were sitting in the sun overlooking the entire town from an amazing vantage point, cold Michelada in hand. What a life eh.
After collecting his phone, it was time to head back up to our spot for the night again. The following morning, we would be leaving. As we drove out again, we waved as we passed the Argentinian family we had spent Christmas with. Overlanding is a small world sometimes.
Before leaving the mountain that morning, we walked further down the dirt road to where the others had previously camped. Lu had left his bike there and we wanted to see if we could spot it for them. Unfortunately and probably unsurprisingly, there was no bike. The views were fantastic though.
Back in the city for the final time, I went and dropped my phone off to be repaired. The time, while we waited we found a 20 peso restaurant in the town. Everything is 20 pesos, drinks, food, whatever. These are quite fun sometimes, it means that while the portions aren’t large, you can try a lot of different things. We sampled many of the options while we killed an hour, leaving feeling rather full for less than the price of a pint back home. Picking up my phone, we just needed to collect the laundry. Luckily it was ready a bit early, as we still had a few hours to drive that afternoon.
The final stop was the beer shop. We had been in yesterday and given the others a chance to order any nice beers they wanted for new year. They had a pretty good selection, and not too bad a price. We got some nice bottles and a keg before driving out of the town for good.
The drive out of Guanajuato is quite epic itself, the city is located at around 6,700ft above sea level. By the time we reached the highest point of the road we were at 8,500 ft. The new engine as definitely being broken in. Now we had a couple more hours to drive before we reached our stop off for the night. Another pretty mountain spot, just to the east of San Luis Potosi in the sierra.