For us, that was enough… Cuernavaca is called the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ and has been the weekend getaway for wealthy Mexico Citians since the time of the Aztecs and Mayans. However, in my mind, 95 degrees is NOT spring weather! It feels like Las Vegas in July but you can´t run into a casino to get the fresh air-conditioned feeling. They say the water has been disappearing from the city and the temperature has been rising but no one really uses the term global warming like in the US.
Jacaranda trees and mountains on road to Cuernavaca
The drive to Cuernavaca was mountainous but luckily we figured out how to take the toll road this time so we avoided the topes (speed bumps) that plagued us on the way through to his town the first time. In many spots the road was lined with trees that were covered in purple flowers, Jacarandas they are called. Beautiful and strange because they have hardly any leaves. We found our bed and breakfast, La Casa Mediterranea, after not too many wrong turns.
Casa Mediteranea bed and breakfast in Cuernavaca
There is no signage on the outside because, according to the owner, signage = inspectors dropping by and collecting “fees” all of the time. It was on a side street about 3 blocks from a main road higher up the hills in the city so it remained somewhat cool there with a fresh breeze in the morning and evening. Our host, who spoke no English, told Mex it was only a 20 minute walk to the zócalo (downtown plaza) but I had read in my travel book it was at least 3 km (1.5 miles) so after walking a few blocks the three of us decided to hop in a taxi. I don´t know how fast of a walker our host is but the taxi alone took 20 minutes so I cannot believe there is any way to walk it in that time.
Sitting on the top level of the tour bus was a little nerve-wracking at times since you could almost reach up and touch the electrical wires.
We got out at the zócalo in front of the Cortes Castle at about 5 pm and saw some bus tours there so we decided to hop on and sat on top of the double-decker bus in the open air. Unfortunately, the tour guide talked non-stop so it was difficult for Mex to translate for us. It was fine since we had to keep our eyes open for tree branches, traffic lights, and electric wires which would have scraped the heads of people not much taller than us. We got off the bus at a park that had a small canyon in it. There are apparently 50 or so of these canyons all around the city… After interrupting a dozen couples enjoying ‘cuddle time’ our tour group went down about 70 steps to a platform and looked around. Sadly, there was not much water in the canyon and it smelled awful. We took some very, very steep steps back up and returned to the bus to finish the tour which went past the cathedral complex and some huge hacienda where they film a soap opera. I didn´t really pick up much else from the tour and didn´t enjoy it as much as the one in Aguascalientes because we were stuck in traffic most of the time.
Templo de la Asuncion de Maria - Cuernavaca
After that we walked around the zócalo which was crowded with people and actually not that impressive because it doesn’t have a cathedral on it. It is actually the only main plaza in all of Mexico without a cathedral. The three of us walked about 4 blocks to where the main cathedral and a few others are. There are two churches inside a big brick wall and three more nearby. Then we made our way back to the zócalo to have dinner.
On Tuesday (25th) we got up and tried to go to the Feria de la Primavera which is like the Morelos version of the State
Flower display at the Feria
Fair. We arrived at 10:30 only to discover it didn´t open until 12:30. Since it was a 30 minute taxi ride just to get there we decided to walk down the road to the flower show which opened at 11. We were almost the only ones there so it was fun to walk through all the gardens and enjoy the greenery. There are very, very little spots in this entire country that we have found to be green. It was welcoming to see grass and little ponds loaded with the biggest coy fish I’ve ever seen. There were even some bonsai plants and a flower fountain. It was nice and relaxing and not too hot.
Yep... we were the only ones at the Feria. Mexicans are late partiers unlike loyal MN State Fair goes who get there at dawn.
At about 1 we started to walk back over to the Feria, thinking the action had started for sure by now. Oh no… there were maybe 20 people besides us there that weren´t employees. The rides weren´t running and only a handful of the craft booths were even open. After walking around and buying some water and habas (the fried lima beans with chili and lemon that I love) we decided to leave. The security guards tried to convince us to come back after 4 when the palenque (cockfights) and other action starts and it supposedly fills with people but we had enough by then.
Mural depicting events in Mexican history by Diego Rivera - Cortez Castle
Tired and sun beaten, we took another long taxi ride to the zócalo and went into the Cortes castle which is actually small a Mexican history museum. It was difficult because there was very little in English and even though my reading in Spanish is better than my speaking, museums don´t hold my attention for very long. At the end of the museum there was a mural by Diego Rivera which was interesting since Mex just studied his wife, painter Frida Kahlo, this January for school. It was amazing to see the size and detail and story that is wrapped up in one of his murals.
Mmmm.... Elotes! Corn smothered in crema, cheese and chile. The ultimate Mexican street food!
Overall, our impression of Cuernavaca was ´big city.´It is definitely somewhere I am not interested in living or visiting very many times. The plaza seemed crowded, traffic was horrible and it was just too busy. Everything was very expensive by Mexican standards also.
We did go to dinner at Las Mañanitas. See review here.