I’m now in my hotel room in San José de Gracia, after leaving Zacatecas this morning and spending a good part of the day in Asientos.
Before leaving Zacatecas, I enjoyed a final breakfast at Acropolis, the same place I had breakfast my first morning. I went early, and it’s a good thing, because by the time I left, people were waiting for tables. Finding the hottest breakfast joint in town is always satisfying.
The Drive to Asientos
It seems I have to miss a turn or take the wrong almost exit every day, and this morning was no exception. I pulled off the highway to get gas, and when I got back on, I didn’t believe Google Maps when she told me to turn off. So I had to go around some back roads and eventually got going. The brilliant thing about Google Maps is she always gets me back on track.
Most of the trip was on highways, but Asientos is seemingly in the middle of nowhere. About 12 kilometers before Asientos was the town of Tepezalá, where I had to stop to take pictures of the pretty church. From there to Asientos, the road twisted through hilly mining terrain.
Just before arriving in Asientos, I passed the Templo y Ex-Convento del Señor de Tepozán.
I got to the Pueblo Mágico of Asientos around 12:30, and I was hungry for lunch, but first I wandered around the main plaza, which is charming. The 18th-century Templo de Belén (photo at the top of this post) is beautiful, and at 1:00 the bells rang gloriously. I just sat for a while on a bench in the garden and enjoyed the day. Then I found a restaurant for lunch. When I arrived, it was packed with the after-church crowed (today being Sunday), but they soon cleared out and Taco and I had the place to ourselves.
Following an excellent lunch of polle en mole, I went to find what I read is the top attraction in Asientos: the hidden underground aqueduct. I bought my ticket for the tour, and then I found myself on a tour all the way across town to the Templo de Guadalupe, along with the adjacent Panteón, complete with bones and mummies. The entire tour was in Spanish, and there were about thirty or forty people. The guides typed a few key points into Google translate on their phone for me. I’m sure there was a lot of interesting content I didn’t get.
At the end of that tour, we walked back across town to do the tunnel. By then I was warm and it was getting late, and when this huge group went down into the tunnel, which turned out to be narrow with a low ceiling, my claustrophobia kicked in. I could have conquered it; I’ve successfully done so before. Earlier this week I walked through the Mina el Edén in Zacatecas with no issues. But that was wide and we were just four. Walking through this tunnel single-file just wasn’t an option for me this afternoon.
So I decided to head out and make my way to…
San José de Gracia
I arrived here about 5pm. This is the one place on this trip where I’m staying at a hotel. I found the hotel and rang the bell to the office. No one was there. No one answered. So I messaged the host on Airbnb, and soon enough the proprietors showed up and I got in my room.
What’s the first thing you usually do when you’ve been driving for a while and get to your hotel room? Well, I peed. And the toilet wouldn’t flush. I opened the tank lid, and there was no water inside.
There is just one bath towel in the room. One tiny bar of soap. I went down to the office and they sent someone up to fix the toilet and bring me another towel.
Then I realized the pillows on the bed are in shams but with no pillowcases. On my way to dinner, I went back to the office and asked for fundas de almohada. Later she brought up another pillow in a sham. I said no and showed her the sheets on the bed and said como esto. And she came back a few minutes later with two pillows in pillowcases.
Yeah, so this isn’t the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in.
Meanwhile, I went to dinner and to explore the town.
Remember when I wrote about planning this road trip, and I shared a quote from the Mexican government’s tourism website about what the Pueblos Mágicos program was all about? Remember how it said, “A Magic Town is a place with symbols and legends, towns with history that in many cases have been the scene of transcendent events for our country, they are places that show the national identity in each of its corners, with a magic that emanates from its attractions; visiting them is an opportunity to discover the charm of Mexico”?
Well this town sits on a lake, and apparently the “magic” and “charm” that emanate from this town is about lake recreation. If you’ve ever been to a tacky beach town in the USA, with tacky souvenirs and fast food and drinks, you have no idea what this place is like, because it’s worse than any of those kinds of towns.
These boats ferry people out to an island to see this big sculpture called El Cristo Roto (The Broken Christ). I’m lucky enough to have a view of it from my hotel room.
I’m glad I’m only staying here one night.
Check out all my photos from today. And if you didn’t listen to the bells, don’t miss that (it’s in the album).