Monday, December 07, 2009

Remember the Alamos.....

If you looked up Alamos, Mexico in an encyclopedia it would tell you all about its rich history of silver mining and how it dates back to the 1600s.  After spending three days there for our 31st anniversary --- I think it defines romance.

We arrived at La Puerta Roja Inn,  , a hacienda built in the 1800s, now a charming B&B that I discovered on the internet.  The owner, Teri, who is originally from Alaska, showed us to our room.  Stepping inside, we found the fireplace lit, and the bed and floor decorated with flower petals! 

The bathroom and dressing room are decorated with an eclectic assortment of art.

We headed for a walk into town with Terri's recommendations of places to eat and drink.  The air was filled with the smell of smoke from fireplaces in each house - the only form of heating in the town.  We thought we would start by stopping at Charisma for a drink before moving on....but the food, margaritas, and friendly patrons kept us there.  There is a fairly large expat community in Alamos (many who have been coming for literally decades), and many of the regulars seem to congregate at Charisma.  One elderly lady came up to us and said her group were wondering who we were!  Roger said, "What?  We've been in Alamos for 2 hours and you haven't heard about us yet?" We had a nice chat with her, and several others that stopped by to say hello.  The bar had great art as well, with an usual wicker chandelier of monkeys and birds..

The crabcakes with mango salsa were amazing....

We arrived back safe and sound -- not an easy task with some sidewalks the equivalent width of a Canadian window ledge -- and had me questioning having that second margarita! (I know...still can't hold my liquor!)

The next morning, a fabulous breakfast was served in the courtyard with a fire to keep us warm.

In the daylight, we could really appreciate the beautiful cobblestone streets, the similar architecture we loved from Europe and exploring the museum and various shops.  Alamos is another town hit by the recession and negative media attention.  The people are so friendly and helpful that it's sad to see tourists stay away because they are fearful of getting sick or they think it is dangerous.  We, along with everyone we've talked to have had nothing but positive experiences in Mexico.

In our usual style, we stumbled across a wonderful, older gentleman who worked as a guide in the town.  He took us on a one hour walking tour and explained many things we might have overlooked on our own.  People like Bing Crosby, Roy Rogers, Rip Torn and many others used to come to Alamos as did the Hershey family who built a huge mansion.

When the town was built, many of the wealthy business men had tunnels built from their mansions to the church.  During the revolution, treasured artifacts were hidden in the tunnels and fortunately preserved.

The churches in Mexico are beautiful ornate -- and much brighter and cheerier than their counterparts in Europe.

There is a print shop with presses over 100 years old that are still in use.  It's nice to see computers have not completely taken over!

Below: I thought Alamos had been extremely forward thinking by building everything wheelchair accessible until our guide explained the ramps were for the horses! He also showed us the ruts in the cobblestones that were created by the horse driven carriages.

Our guide also told us how during reconstruction of many buildings in town, bodies were found in the walls.  In some cases, unwed pregnant girls were killed ("mysteriously disappeared") and buried in niches in the walls so they wouldn't be a "bad influence" on other girls.  You can see one of those niches in the photo below ---- look on the wall (in shadow) just to the right of the center point in the gate....

To celebrate our anniversary, Terri made reservations for us at Hacienda del Santos, a mansion built in the 18th century and now home to a beautifully restored hotel and restaurant.  We started off with drinks in the bar that boasts 300 types of tequila --- I must say they make a mighty fine margarita.

Cowboy gear lined the walls...

We met 3 very interesting couples and while we were talking, we could hear fireworks nearby.  Turns out Alamos celebrated the start of the Christmas holidays with a fiesta in the plaza and a beautiful display of fireworks so we all went outside to see.

The restaurant is a series of small, private dining rooms and we shared ours with a fascinating couple from the States --- she is a pilot of their single engine plane, and he is a doctor who comes to Mexico to medically certify pilots.  They fly all over Mexico as well as other parts of the world --- what a great team.

We even had a guitarist stop by our room to sing us a special song to celebrate our marriage...

We look back on our 31 years and can't believe what we've done, and how incredibly lucky/blessed/fortunate --- you name it --- we've been.  Our weekend in Alamos will indeed be remembered for a long time to come.  Here's to the next 31....

"Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that."     Michael Leunig


Brad and Anette said...

Wow! Looks like you had a great time & a lovely celebration! 31 years - that's amazing!

(I think we will have to put Alamos on the list if Brad and I come down for a visit. ;) )

Anonymous said...

Heather, always love the story. 31 years, congrats! Andrew

Anonymous said...

Another great mile stone along your exciting journey through life, congratulations!!
Best Regards from a FROZEN Calgary,