Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sombrerete and the Sierra de Organos - April 3 & 4, 2015

Pueblos Magicos

The next stop on our Truck Odyssey was Sombrerete, one of Mexico's pueblos magicos (magic villages). The pueblos magicos program was created by Mexico's Secretariat of Tourism as a sort of counter-balance to the attention and money that has long been lavished on Mexico's beach tourism businesses. This program recognizes that there are a lot of reasons for travelers to travel beyond the beach. 

If you are interested in experiencing the charms of small-town Mexico - and they are many - you should consider a visit to one or more of the 83 villages or towns designated as pueblos magicos.

Travel Tip: Those visiting pueblos magicos should keep in mind that pueblo means "town" or "village" rather than "city".  Depending on your level of expectation, you may be disappointed in the tourist infrastructure available in some of these little places, though some (e.g., San Cristobal de Las Casas) have lovely hotels and great restaurants. Check on the internet to determine what your hotel and dining options are before you go.  


In Sombrerete we stayed at a very clean but basic hotel. The majority of the other guests were not tourists, but employees of a mining safety and security company working at one of the nearby mines (Sombrerete has been a mining center since the 16th Century). The mine employees were very quiet guests - even when they changed shift at o'dark-thirty in the morning. But we quickly realized that they must eat at their job site because when we asked about the breakfast hours of the hotel's purported restaurant the woman at the front desk was extremely unenthusiastic. She mumbled something about someone (she did not use the "cook" word . . . ) getting eggs . . . We decided to find breakfast elsewhere in town.  

Sombrerete - Also an Agricultural Center
Population 20,000 . . . ? 
Templo de la Tercera Orden -- 
In Part, a 16th Century Convent

Viernes Santos  

We happened to arrive in Sombrerete on Good Friday. We found all of the saints covered in sorrow.

Awaiting The Resurrection

That evening, there was a service in the side chapel of the Templo de San Francisco (18th Century). We didn't intrude on the service, but it was followed by a silent procession (well, as silent as any big event in Mexico can be) of the faithful. There were groups representing the various Catholic churches in town; note that "small town" doesn't = "few churches". 

Gathering For The Procession

[Disclaimer: Our little camera is great for most purposes, but is not equipped for taking pictures of moving objects at night. Thus, many of the following pictures are blurry.]

Among the faithful were groups of men carrying their church's replica of the crucified Christ.

There were groups of women dressed to represent the Woman At The Tomb:

And other women were dressed like nuns:

Not Real Nuns - Check Out The Shoes!
Pre-School Nuns . . . Not Our Job To Worry About 
The Effect of This on Their Psycho-Sexual Adjustment

And not all of the groups were in outfits that translate well to Estadounidenses . . . 

No - NOT Who You Might Think . . . 

And at the end of the procession came the star attraction - the executed convict's grieving mother:

Periodically the procession would stop for someone to recite or sing and the men carrying statues would put their burdens down. The women would simply stop and sway silently, side to side. It was all very lovely and touching. 

There were, however, enough children in the procession to provide comic relief. At the beginning of the evening we got a good laugh watching one little alter boy who obviously thought it was his job to keep his fellow alter boys in line. His "charges" were not so sure about that. We amused ourselves wondering about what his future career path might be . . . 

Sierra de Organos

The next day we visited a nearby national park which is called Parque Nacional Sierra de Organos (Organ Mountains National Park) for reasons which became obvious as we hiked around.

Pipe Organs, Of Course!

We enjoyed a great day-hike and picnic among these strange, gigantic rock formations. 

Complete With Bird Watching

And Trying Out The Panoramic Feature
of Bryce's New Cell Phone

This was our first biggish walk since Bryce's operation:

The Hip Made It!

Even The Nurse Was Proud Of Herself

Because it was a Saturday the park was full of Mexican families doing what they do best - preparing food, enjoying each other's company, playing music - and making time to welcome foreign tourists to their country. 

The next day we drove further into the state of Zacatecas.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a beautiful place! I like the panorama photo. The photos of the Catholic procession remind me of the huge Easter parade in Valladolid, Spain, where I lived when I was 13, because they wear those same caps, and the girls at my school were encouraged to become nuns, like our teachers. ¡Buen viaje!