11 Dec 2007

Veracruz!

Posted by Deborah

As you probably already know, I have a constant urge to travel. So, seeing as I only had a few weekends left in Mexico, I had to make the most of them. I decided to go to Veracruz and Karin, Iole and Manuel, a new student from Switzerland, said they wanted to come with.

A cool building in downtown Veracruz

We overnight-bused our way through Puebla to Veracruz and checked into a cheap hotel downtown. After some coffee at the famous Gran Parroquia Café, we took a Turibus tour to learn about the city. We stopped at the aquarium on the way back, which was very nice even though the biggest tank was closed for renovations. We also made time for the beach and visited the Forte de San Ulua, where Spanish explorers first entered Mexico. At night, we listened to live son music and later went to a club district further north on the beach.

The Forte de San Ulua

On Sunday, Manuel slept in while the rest of us took a bus about an hour north to the ruins of Xempoala. They were small, but interesting, especially the gladiator pit and a statue of a death god covered in human skin that was on display in the adjacent museum.

From there, Iole and I continued another hour north to Xalapa, the state capital, while Karin and Manuel returned to Cuernavaca earlier in the afternoon. In Xalapa, we visited a top notch archaeological museum, a small art museum with landscapes from around the state, the zocolo, a Carlos Rivera mural in the state government building and the cathedral. We also happened to run into a free holiday performance of danzón and traditional music in the plaza next to the cathedral. The overnight bus home was not as comfortable as we expected, but I’m glad we spent the extra time in Xalapa.

Colossal Olmec heads at the archaeology museum

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