The bulk of my fourth week here in Querétaro has been largely focused on classes, and I didn’t have much time for anything else until the weekend, when I went to Guanajuato with a few other students. Since passing the half-way point of this study abroad session, I’ve felt as though I am running out of time to experience as many things as possible, and I am very glad I chose to go on one last excursion on my final weekend here. The downside to all the classwork during the week and going out of town on the weekend is that I hardly had any time to spend with my host family or around Querétaro, which I hope I can make up for during my last week here before I return to the U.S..
Guanajuato was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. They have very much embodied the tourist culture, but aside from all the vendors and attractions, the city itself is amazing with such a wide variety of colorful buildings and architecture. It was very different from being in Querétaro; there were many tourists other than ourselves, and it was interesting to hear such a broad mix of languages, including a lot of English. The people there were also a lot more friendly than those from my experiences in Querétaro, likely because they are more used to tourists stumbling over their Spanish.
That night in Guanajuato was the first opportunity I’ve had to stay in a hostel, something I’ve been eager to experience for a while. It was the last one available when our resident director made the bookings, and there was probably a reason for that. I am definitely grateful to have had the experience, but from what she said, it is certainly not representative of the majority of hostels. The beds only had one thin blanket and no pillow cases, there were no curtains over the windows, one of our doors wouldn’t close, and the walls had been painted that same day so the paint was wet and the fumes were strong. Everything was tolerable for the price, however, except for the bathroom; aside from having no hand soap, which was expected, there was a red liquid continuously dripping through the ceiling above the shower, forming a large dark red stain on the floor and puddling around the shower drain. It looked exactly like a scene from a horror movie, and the staff member on duty that night had no idea what it was. Consequently, none of us were brave enough to shower there. All in all, it was a very unique experience, and one which I am grateful for but would not like to repeat under the same conditions.
The next day in Guanajuato, we hiked up through a very steep part of the city to the Pipila, a giant statue above the city. It was mildly exhausting, but completely worth it when we reached the top; the view was absolutely spectacular, and we could see the entire city in all its many colors. It was amazing to be able to look so far out and see generally where we had started, which at that point seemed so far away.
Overall, in spite of the homework, I believe I was able to make the most of this second-to-last week by going to Guanajuato and experiencing a new part of Mexico. I look forward to tackling finals week and getting to see my family when I return home in less than a week now.