Guadalajara City
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  Posted November 24th, 2015 by Zdenko  in Travel | One comment

Travel Mexico

By: Zdenko Kahlina

We arrived in Guadalajara city!
Madness on the road! I am the slowest driver on the streets of this dynamic city. Welcome to Guadalajara. Mexico’s second largest city with over 5 million inhabitants. The charm of Guadalajara rests with its Spanish colonial flavor (established in 1542). No visit to Guadalajara is complete without spending a day in the Centro historico..

 A Champagne Vacation On a Beer Budget

 Mexican Journey – Part 9.

A Series of Personal Experiences (Nov 28 – Dec 15, 2008)

 

This is it. The end of our Mexican journey is almost here and we are in the city where we started this journey 15 days ago – Guadalajara. 

dsc_4552This time Vera and I are traveled thru Mexico’s central part, far away from the popular tourist zones. We visited the biggest lake in Mexico, Lake Chapala. From the Lake Chapala we drove thru the province of Jalisco, following the road through the towns of Acatlan and Zacoalco De Torres, and Guzman, all the way to Colima in a province with the same name. We continued our journey thru the province of Jalisco and visited towns like Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta. We also learnt how beautiful is Costalegree area and Riviera Nayarit. On our journey we passed thru a number of small ‘pueblos’. At one point we had to stop, to allow heard of cows cross the road. This was real Mexico.

 

For those of you who followed our little adventure from the beginning, we hope you enjoyed reading about it just like we enjoyed it while we were there.

Guadalajara city

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The charm of Guadalajara rests with its Spanish colonial flavor (established in 1542). No visit to Guadalajara is complete without spending a day in the Centro historico. The historic district is a nice blend of buildings (which are hundreds of years old) with pedestrian only streets, park benches, fountains, monuments and sculptures. In a large city full of traffic jams, noise, and the constant hustle of people trying to get from one place to another . . . the historic district is a great place to slow down and take in this beautiful center at your own pace. 

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Guadalajara Mexico is 5200 feet high (1585 meters). The bottom line there is that while many other destinations in Mexico are too hot to enjoy being out and about in the summer, Guadalajara is just right. The added bonus being its close proximity to Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and nearby Lake Chapala. When you combine the availability of nice affordable housing with the temperate climate and location… it is easy to understand why Guadalajara has become a popular place for Americans looking for a place to retire.

We should not forget to mention shopping in the large Mercado near the historic district. Deals you will find in these places make the trip worth it. Even if you are taking a short excursion to cool down away from nearby Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta. Shopping in the large Mercado is a must if you are looking for something that screams out, “Made in Mexico”. Some of the best deals here include hand tooled leather saddles, cowboy hats, boots, blankets, home decor, curios and gifts.

 

Guadalajara Attractions

 

What is there to see in Centro Historico?

 

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The Cathedral on Av. Alcalde between Av. Hidalgo and Calle Morelos is a good place to start. It was begun in 1561 and took about 30 years to complete. Dedicated to the Virgin of the Assumption, this Cathedral is easy to spot with its twin spires. The spires were actually destroyed in an earthquake (1818) and replaced in 1854 with the spires you see today.

 

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Also of note are the 10 silver & gold altars which were gifts from King Fernando VII of Spain to thank Guadalajara for its support in the Napoleonic War.

 

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Relics from the past: The Cathedral is home to the “Virgin of Innocence” located in a small chapel on the left as you enter. The story about this relic dates back to a time when large Catholic churches needed some sacred artifact to make it a holy place. Churches in Europe already had more than one John the Baptist head, duplicates of Apostle bones, and enough pieces of the “true” cross to fill a small forest. Lacking an established relic or remains of a dead Saint, they needed something else. So, the Roman Catholic Church came up with the bones of a young girl in 1786. The bones were sent to Guadalajara with a story about a young Christian girl who died while protecting her virginity in the 3rd century. Presto, a Martyr with a story that would make all love and adore this new addition to the Roman Church’s list of pseudo-saints murdered by the Romans. Whether or not the story of how the girl who died 1300 years before her bones were pronounced holy was ever true is beside the fact. The fact is that if you say it long enough, history turns the story into tradition, and tradition becomes a historical fact which has no room for the truth. So no, there is no proof whatsoever to back up the story, but the faithful BELIEVE the bones to be those of a young girl which TRADITION says was killed while protecting her virginity.

 

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While exploring the historic center with its beautiful buildings, fountains and monuments. Bear in mind that Av. Independencia (near Plaza Tapatia) runs right past the Mercado Libertad. Look for the elevated pedestrian walkway that leads to it. The Mercado is a must for shoppers looking for something to take home.

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Lake Chapala is close by and you should take around an hour to get there from most parts of Guadalajara.

 

dsc_4559Tlaquepaque & Tonalá
Virtual paradise for shoppers!

 

 Tlaquepaque, once a town of it’s own and bedroom community of the rich in Guadalajara, has been incorporated into the city.Tlaquepaque is  one of those places that shoppers dream of. This Guadalajara suburb is a “must” on many vacationers agenda.

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The main shopping area has been closed off to traffic so that you can stroll and shop at a leisurely pace. This is where Vera and I spent most of the time in Tlaquepaque. Specialty shops are everywhere you look. Over three hundred quaint shops will make your shopping experience, in this traffic free environment, a real pleasure. This seemingly small town offers some great bargains and an incredible variety of items in just about anything in the way of quality handmade goods, from fine crystal to furniture, and almost everything in between.   

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If you are in the area, plan on at least one full day for your visit to Tlaquepaque. If shopping is the main purpose of your trip you may even want to spend a night or two at one of the bed and breakfast inns that have recently appeared nearby. 

 

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For our stay we have chosen one of the best places, B&B called “Quinto Don Jose”. Take your time and explore the shops that really interest you. Make time to enjoy a fabulous lunch at one of the sidewalk or patio cafes.  A few of the shops have their own restaurants so that if you are so inclined, you may shop during your meal.  Mariachi bands play in many of the restaurants and plazas. Tlaquepaque claims to be the original home of the mariachis, but this claim is also shared by another town, Cocula, which is also in the state of Jalisco.  

  

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El Parián, which was built in 1878, is a block square cantina that offers snacks, meals and very cold Margaritas. There are some shops also, but the main attraction (late afternoon & evenings) are the strolling Mariachis. El Parián is a good place to rest, after a long day of shopping, and enjoy some local charm.

  

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Prices in Tlaquepaque may surprise you, as they are usually very reasonable when you consider the quality offered. The quality of any item, of course, is what usually determines the final price. Most of the stores offering the higher quality items have fixed prices. If you are buying a houseful of furnishings and accessories, be sure to bargain and agree on the final price, for all merchandise, before you agree to your purchase. Most of the shops here are more than willing to handle all of the arrangements for shipping on large orders.  For smaller purchases, there are a few pack and ship establishments located within in the relatively small shopping area of Tlaquepaque.

 

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There are numerous companies that offer guided tours to Tlaquepaque, but a taxi is probably just as easy, as a guide is really not necessary. Vera and I did it on foot. 

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 Tonalá 

On our last day in Mexico, which happened to be Sunday, we wanted to go visit another village called Tonala. A few minutes from Tlaquepaque and a bit smaller, Tonalá offers another exciting shopping experience that you are sure to remember fondly. This is a village of craftsmen, it is where many of the artists make and sell their goods. 

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On Sunday and Thursday they have a huge street fair with vendors set up selling stuff. We really didn’t get there early enough and would have liked more time. The streets are filled with stalls selling everything imaginable in the way of handicrafts.  Some real bargains can be had, as the competition is fierce on these special market days.  

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We shopped for an hour or so and bought some nice Mexican craft. Tonalá is not a glitzy as Tlaquepaque, this is more a city of factories than stores but most is open and willing to sell to the public. Much of the ceramics, pottery and some of the finest dinnerware sold all over México, is made by the estimated six thousand artisans living in Tonalá.  

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For those of you who followed our little adventure from the beginning, we hope you enjoyed reading about it just like we enjoyed it while we were there.
 Sorry this was so long, just thought I would share our experience.

 Hasta Luego!

More pictures….

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Have a good and healthy season.

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One comment to “Guadalajara City”

  1. Comment by pinedude:

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    Jeanine

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