We loved Guadalajara, capital of Jalisco state and commonly thought of as Mexico’s Second City, and it really felt like you were in Mexico (to contrast it with, say, Puerto Vallarta or even San Miguel de Allende). Four days wasn’t enough.
First off, it’s a big city; at about 1.5 million people it’s the biggest “new” city we’ve been in since Yangon over a year ago. There’s lots to see: churches, museums, cool neighborhoods, and colonial architecture. There’s good food and definitely a good bartender or two. It’s even the home of mariachi! And the climate is spectacular, at least in early February; every morning felt like spring and even in mid-afternoon the temperature was never higher than the mid-70s.
One of the highlights for us was the Cabañas Cultural Institute, an art museum housed in a 19th century orphanage. The main exhibit there consists of 1930s murals by José Clemente Orozco. These are powerful images embodying all the anti-fascist passion you’d expect from a leading artist of the era. After that we saw two other exhibits in the building, one of which was just amazing.
Máximo Gonzalez is a Argentinean artist who lives in Mexico City. His exhibit in Guadalajara, “Pogo”, was closing just days after we saw it, so we were lucky. I’m not sure how to describe it, so I’ll just include some of the pictures we took. It was art that made us laugh and have fun and just ooh and ahh over the crazy things he does.
Another awesome spectacle were some of the churches. Our favorite was the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, started in the late 19th century and finished only in the 1970s. Beautiful stonework, soaring steeples, and – most important – amazing stained glass. Mark & I have seen a lot of churches and cathedrals and temples and on and on in our travels, so it takes something to impress us these days. This one had a true “wow” factor.
Otherwise it’s a great city for walking long distances and visiting cool neighborhoods. This is a place we truly want to come back to. For now, though, after a total of some 10 weeks in Mexico, from the Yucatan to San Miguel to Puerto Vallarta and here in Guadalajara, we’re off to Chicago to help friends celebrate their 25th anniversary. And then it’s back to Asia; we can’t wait for Bangkok.