SLP, as it seems often to be referred to, was a picturesque bus journey east from Zacatecas. The scenery was low mountains with scrub and trees with outbreaks of grazing cattle.
This site is actually only a part of a much larger world heritage site called the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro – the royal inland road, also known as the silver route. It stretched from Mexico City up to Texas and was a trade route from the 16th to 19th centuries. The whole WHS includes 55 places and five sites already separately listed by UNESCO. I think you can probably guess that I won’t be visiting them all. I have already visited one, another former monastery, whilst in Zacatecas, but this is the one you’re going to hear about.
This was the first place I’d visited that did not have a hostel listed on my usual hostel booking website, so I turned up, got a taxi to the town centre and found a 3* hotel. I can’t afford to do this all the time, but it’s nice to indulge myself now and again.
I liked SLP. It had plenty of little shady garden-y squares to sit in and just felt pleasant. It has, regular readers will be unsurprised to learn, a goodly number of baroque churches. It also had a remarkable number of shoe-shine men and a department store called Woolworth. I didn’t check to see if they had pick’n’mix.
This is also an historic place because it is where I finally took the plunge and bought cooked food from a mobile street stall. It was incredibly chilli hot maize kernels. Now Mexican food does tend to the spicy – they offer to sprinkle chilli powder on your fruit for goodness sake – but this was remarkably eye-watering. It turns out that this was not just me being a wuss, it really was very hot – a young Mexican woman sat down on the wall beside me to eat hers and said as much to me (in English). People generally speak to me in English, or offer me the English menu in restaurants, if there is one. This is hardly surprising since I’m pale and ginger. Everyone except old ladies and taxi drivers that is, who even after I’ve said “no comprendo” and “no hablo espanol” still chat happily away to me. Not that that isn’t fun of course. I’ve had some very entertaining moments with people I barely understand.
Despite the plethora of churches, I thought it was time to build something different in Lego, so I chose this building, the Caja Real. with its pretty semi-circular balconies.
You’ll notice I’ve edited out the large banner for my model:
Finally, you will I hope be pleased to learn that my flirting with digestive danger had no subsequent ill effects.