Gay Nagle Myers traveled to Guadalajara following the Tianguis Turistico trade show in Puerto Vallarta. Her dispatch follows. Click to read Gay's dispatches from Puerto Vallarta.
I traveled by bus from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city, on ETN lines. And what a ride it was — more first-class than many airlines. It featured a roomy reclining seat, a headset and a video that worked, large windows, a clean bathroom and an on-time departure and arrival.
The $33 ticket also included a ham and cheese sandwich and a bottle of water.
The five-hour ride wound through the Sierra Madre mountains and passed fields of agave near the town of Tequila.
The hillsides will turn green when the rainy season starts in late May, but the jacaranda trees with their purple and yellow blossoms already are in bloom. It’s a short season, just three weeks, but stunning in its colors.
Guadalajara is a mix of very modern, such as the glass-and-steel Riu hotel that punctuates the skyline at 40 stories, and the very old, the 451-year-old Guadalajara Cathedral that is the city’s signature attraction in the central square.
I visited the artisan section of the city called Tlaquepaque (Ta-lack-ee-pack-ee) with pedestrian-friendly streets lined with art galleries, Huichol Indians selling colorful beaded jewelry (they do not like their photo to be taken, even though I asked politely), furniture stores tucked behind massive wooden doors and cantera (stone) fountains in courtyards.
Lunch at Adobe restaurant was a complete Mexican experience. My Mexican friend ordered empanadas de cameron con chimichurri de nopal, which for a gringo means shrimp in a tortilla with cactus sauce.
And my dish was something I probably never would have ordered or eaten had I known what it was: rollos with huitlacoche (fried tortillas filled with pumpkin flowers and corn fungus). It was delicious, despite the corn fungus sounding off-putting.
Everyone in Mexico, it seems, is gearing up for Semana Santa, Holy Week, which begins following Palm Sunday and runs
through Easter Sunday.
Most businesses, companies and schools shut down for part or all of the week. Highways are crowded as people head out of town to the beaches and countryside.
I’ll be long gone during Semana Santa, but I found the mariachis before I left.
The music originated in the state of Jalisco (Guadalajara is the capital of Jalisco), and I headed for Mariachi Plaza in Guadalajara’s central plaza to sample one of Guadalajara’s treasures.
Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.