Vera Cruz, Vera Cruz
Saturday, March 9, 2013
After exploring the grounds of our hotel and Ken explaining to the desk clerk our dissatisfaction with the hotel, we were off to Vera Cruz.
Once in the city we wanted to find a good, reasonably priced hotel. Boca del Rio in the south, is where we started.
Bello Hotel or Hotel Bello was fantastic, ticking all our boxes. They were having a sale, too, but it was fully booked.
We explored other hotels, thanks to Ken's hard work looking on the internet and weeding out duds. One hotel had the oldest elevator in the New World, made in France and shipped to Mexico.
One hotel had rooms with spiral staircases in them going up to little mezzanine areas. It was very old school (not one else appeared to be staying at that hotel).
We came to the Baluarte Hotel - secure parking for Pepe, having an ADHD conference, very clean, alert and personable staff, well kept rooms, near downtown, AC, funky common area, overall great hotel - we are staying.
We got back to our van and it had a metal lock on the back tire so we could not move. Ken talked to a parking dude who directed us where to pay our one hundred peso parking ticket. He actually escorted us to the fine paying booth. Nice.
Supper was at a huge diner. They poured the cream or milk into your coffee from about a meter from your cup, lechero. I had spaghetti with shrimp and chopped, dried peppers - yum!
The overall look of Vera Cruz was of a place fairly well cared for. We have seen better and worse. At initial walk and viewing the city gave us a good feeling and we like it.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Being Sunday we marked the occasion by going out for breakfast at the Gran Café and listening to marimba music. They bring the actual instruments into the restaurant and play for tips.
We again walked the malecón, taking in all of the sights. We walked to a park which at first we thought was the zócalo.
In one little lane way we saw very old homes. One even had a tree growing, integrating into the walls.
There were grey squirrels with what looked like red furry vests.
The city displayed an old street car for all to investigate.
On our return to the hotel we checked out little streets, almost like little alley ways. They had more shade and were quieter.
Once we returned to the hotel we took pictures, not knowing how long we would stay. There was a stained glass mural from floor to ceiling.
Our supper restaurant served me fried plantain with cream and cheese on top platano fritos con crema y queso. What a treat! I must have that again.
We returned to the zócalo in the evening. A stage was set up with troops of dancers. When the main stage is finished for the night, smaller stages take over the musical scene.
Monday, March 11, 2013
The sound of the wind was what was heard as we woke up. We knew we did not want to be too out and about in that blowing mess.
We did a walk about to a laundry. We had a rather nasty experience with the clerk because we know so little Spanish. We were not prepared for the situation and freaked the clerk as badly as she freaked us out.
Ken was upset with our performance in the laundry situation, he asked me to handle the laundry and I blanked on the Spanish. Walking again was out of the question so we ate at the hotel restaurant – best black beans ever!
|Baluarte de Santiago|
We stayed in the rest of the day and worked on the blog. I got very frustrated with Dragon App. for dictation and decided to type and type. Yes, my arm let me know who was boss. Never break your arm/shoulder – it hurts plus is very inconvenient!!!
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Woke up early with the sound of no wind – very pleased about that after yesterday.
Ken had made up a good plan on Google Maps of where we would go. The plan seemed to revolve around food and going to “Antojitos Anita’s” in Colony Candido Aguilar, Vera Cruz , about four kilometers away.
We chose not the main road, but a secondary type road. It was so big we walked down a treed centre sidewalk.
Before actually eating, we checked out a park which appeared to have no gate. A zoo was our discovery. Lunch was small corn pizza crust things with wonderful sauces and crumbled cheese (ranchero, mole verde and bean sauces) plus we had papaya and cantaloupe juice.
At the zoo we saw well cared for, happy animals from many parts of the world. We were most fascinated with the young tigers. I enjoyed petting the baby goats.
|The battle took a while ....|
|... a winner was declared in the battle of the tortuga.|
|A reason to pause.|
|Antojitos Anita - just around from the zoo|
We were tired by this time and walked to Soriana for coffee plus saw a lagoon with unusual ducks – black with white bills. I tripped crossing the street, the squeegee kid there was most concerned and offerred to call an ambulance, he was so nice. I dusted myself off and walked on.
We saw what we thought was a wholesale vegetable market. I could have passed on seeing that.
We also walked in real neighborhoods, very different from Canada. Exhausted, we took a bus back, then picked up our laundry.
|Love notes for each other - the wall downtown by the bus stop.|
Went back to the Zocola for drinks and food. Walked home ready for a good nights sleep.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Today we had some failed plans, but it was still a good day. Breakfast out, was a great option, over our usual granola. Our first attempt at a café failed – too expensive and not great service. We left and went to our usual Gran Café de la Parroquia, " a cafe older then Saskatchewan" Ken would always say.
|The main restaurant.|
|The branch restaurant at the other end of the block.|
It was a day of seeing working horse drawn carriages.
|Low emissions, recargable.|
Museum of Vera Cruz was housed in an old orphanage.
Highlights were an authentic Olmec head. Depictions of battles in flat black stone fitted into the sidewalk outside and the building itself. They had models of Christopher Columbus’ boats.
|Ken's figures some guy just parks it here, safer then the street.|
|Video shoot for some TV show, not sure.|
The upstairs exhibit was old media.
|We absolutely love the Mocambo.|
The sidewalk was decorated with a scene of some event.
We found a cultural centre near our hotel. The students from the school across the street come here after school, a show was on.
Santiago de Baluarte, one of the remains of the walled city of Vera Cruz, was one of the four corners just kitty corner from the hotel It housed pre-Hispanic gold jewelry and ingots.
|Santiago de Baluarte|
Pépe, the van, was in bad need of an oil change. The owner of the service shop spoke English. Good experience.
El Mocambo - we love old hotels, who knew?
We drove to Boca del Rio with new oil. We found the Mocambo Hotel, popular in the 40’s and 50’s with the Hollywood stars of that period.
It was massive terracing down to the ocean. We had an excellent supper there in a restaurant where the efficient waiter could service only us.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
It has been two months since I broke my arm/shoulder. It still hurts and causes me grief every day. I would not wish this on anyone.
We decided to check out Boca del Rio today.
Coffee on the Terrasse at the Mocambo was on our list of activities for the day. We went and had coffee on the terraza, a bit breezy, but fine with such a view. Ocean view plus overlooking balnearios (pools).
We drove to Boca del Rio Centro. It is just below the main highway. It was under construction and totally refurbished modern. Great if you like that sort of thing! We left and tried to find comida – no luck.
We decided we needed a big mall experience, since I obviously ate something I shouldn’t have yesterday. I wanted today to be totally “not worrisome” food. We found a wonderful varied buffet comida fit for a queen. We each had like four courses. Very excellent!
|Ken is always fascinated by large touch screens.|
As the day was fast escaping us, we wanted to go to the Casa Museo Augustin Lara (famous poet/singer). We had no luck finding the address, let alone the actual museum. We were not pleased.
Friday, March 15, 2013
We left Vera Cruz, enlisting a hotel attendant to take our luggage to the van.
We drove once more, past a few, now familiar, buildings and on to Jalapa (This is the way the town is referred to on highway signs.) The city is the state capital of Vera Cruz. It is very lush, well care for and appears much better cared for than some previous places we have been.
|The docks in Vera Cruz|
I hate to keep talking about food, but we had the best comida ever. Little cups of a very rich drink were the first items, soup, fish with arroz verde and salad, plus plantain with cream.
We explored Xalapa in the mist and rain, going into several art galleries. Same styling art! We visited a market and walked around a laguna. By 7:00 it was definitely cold and rainy. The locals refer to the layout of the city as the “broken dish.” It is definitely not in a grid, but topography dependent. We got lost for awhile. Off to sleep for the night.