I’ve been in this fantastic city for two weeks without writing about it. That’s just wrong!
I haven’t exactly been neglectful – because I’ve been thinking about what I would write and making notes the entire time – I’ve honestly been overwhelmed. There is so much to talk about that I’ve had a hard time focusing. So, the only solution is to break it down into manageable pieces.
Today’s installment is about all the wonderful plazas that dot the historic district. The official area is about 10 blocks long and four blocks wide, and nearly every square block has at least one plaza, varying in size and focus.
I definitely have a favorite – and oddly enough there are no cafes or shops around it. It is as pure a plaza – my definition is “an open space to restore yourself and appreciate the surroundings” – as I’ve run into – Plaza de Armas. It has a lovely wrought iron gazebo, where families pose on the steps for photos. For some reason, it is also the place the pigeons gather and I watched the little ones chase them, giggling, for a half-hour at least.
It is also across the street from the Palacio de Gobierno – a still functioning government building with historic murals by José Clemente Orozco – as famous in Mexico as Diego Rivera. However, for me, the exterior is the truly fabulous part of the building and I found I could just stare at it for very long periods. The plaza also abutts the backside of the gorgeous Cathedral (the subject for another day).
Of course, the Plaza de Guadalajara is fabulously fun, with its large fountain, and being surrounded by shops and restaurants. In fact, I’ve eaten there four times so far, my best dining experience being the Antigua Restaurant, overlooking the plaza. Two for one margaritas didn’t hurt at all!
Plaza de Liberacion has an odd feel, with its famous and sombre statue of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla breaking the chains of slavery residing mere yards from a giant hot pink and white monument sign with “Guadalajara” written across it. Hidalgo sported an excess of pigeon dropping atop is balding and was virtually ignored as tourists, like myself, were drawn to the big pink sign.
This is just a taste of the plazas in the heart of this vastly interesting city. There are another three major ones listed on my “turista” map, and many others unlisted. I’m absolutely sure I haven’t discovered some of the plazas, but I have another week here, so I’ll ardently attempt to find others.
Honestly, when I took my first walk around Guadalajara’s Centro Historica, I was definitely a rubbernecker – swiveling at every turn trying to take it all in. I’ve been back several times, each visit a further exploration and appreciation of the district. I’ll bring a couple more posts from Guadalajara to you over the next couple of days, hoping to drill down enough to give you a good idea of what you’d experience if you come this way!