2016-09-20 – Day 9 – Real de Catorce, SL to Zacatecas, ZA (314 km – 4:00 hrs)
2016-09-21 – Day 10 – Zacatecas, ZA to Durango, DU (292 km – 2:30 hrs)
Tuesday morning, I left Real de Catorce slowly, but surely, in an atmosphere much quieter than when I arrived. I had to ask for help to lift the motorcycle from the side stand and went down the very steep street very slowly to avoid falling. The tunnel was now empty I was quickly when under the mountains that once isolated the village, to regain a semblance of civilization.
I drive west for three hours on the Altiplano, in fact, for a long straight line of 100 km, and then, after turning left onto the highway to Durango, on another stretch of 200 km.
Life sometimes surprises us and the city of Zacatecas, which I was not supposed to visit, proved to be a great find.
I was heading towards Durango but seeing this town, with a modern touch visible from the road, made me decide to make a detour to the historic centre and I never came out!
Standing at 2,400 metres above sea level, the city quickly presents itself as clean, easy to discover, with splendid buildings, churches and small parks everywhere.
After finding a small simple hotel (Hotel Posada Tolosa, Juan De Tolosa 811, Centro Histórico, 98000 Zacatecas, Zac., Mexico +52 492 922 5105 https://goo.gl/maps/sjB3LFexHZw) with parking, internet and great location, I got lost in the streets that intertwine in no particular order, making the charm of the place, along with small crowded spaces, shops or restaurants, and in some cases, great small quiet parks.
As a bonus, although busting with action, the city is not overcrowded and the traffic is reasonable.
I end the day and evening in an Argentinian restaurant (Garufa, Jardín Juárez 135, Centro Zacatecas, 98000 Zacatecas, Zac., Mexico +52 492 924 2910 https://goo.gl/maps/4vHKrNgrfwL2), which frankly has the most beautiful terrace of the city, adjacent to a quiet park with no cars around.
Although my budget was slightly exceeded for that day, it is without regret that I appreciate this unplanned stop.
I also had the chance to exchange words with a Mexican lady and a German gent sitting next to me. They were a little stunned by my travel plans and I had to respond to the full set of questions!
Really, I highly recommend this place to spend one or two days. It is also likely that there are several cultural attractions just waiting to be discovered.
The following day the waking up was rather difficult. I left around 11:00 in the direction of Durango, as it would be the base for the next stretch of driving on Route 40, which is supposedly superb between this city and Mazatlan, located on the ocean side.
The exit from Zacatecas was rather ordinary, the first 100 km passing through villages without interest and some construction sites. Subsequently, the landscape greatly improved, changing to beautiful green hills, farmlands and a totally blue sky, with a beautiful 25 degrees Celsius without wind. Biker paradise!
Unfortunately, the city of Durango quickly proved to be a disappointment. Perhaps it was the contrast from the previous day, but the place was upside down, polluted by old buses and very noisy.
I decided to stay anyway because the road tomorrow would take at least 6 hours, so impossible to do today. I found a large room in a hotel for $15, including parking, internet and as a bonus, a fountain with cold water!
I understand this may seem ridiculous, but on the road, this kind of little thing can make a difference!
I decided not to buy bottled water during my trip, unless obliged to do so, for economic and ecological reasons. I use an ultraviolet filter that allows me, in 90 seconds to filter one litre of tap water. However, it is never cold.
What a moment of happiness to enjoy this water that reminds me of the one we take for granted in Canada!
As it is already the custom, I go out sightseeing. Although offering some beautiful squares and churches, I must admit that Durango has to work a bit more than the average for appreciation. The large square in front of the cathedral is beautiful and a nice pedestrian street stretches for several blocks, making me forget a little about the s… boulevard where my hotel is.
This is not my first visit to Mexico, and by extension, in Latin America, but I am always amazed by the number of small shops selling pure junk present for kilometres around.
We are not talking here about hundreds, but thousands of small businesses that stretch from one side to the other, limitless.
I take the Zapaterias, where shoes are sold. From my hotel to the downtown area, I have not been able to count as there were too many of them! I am starting to think that Mexicans are born with more than 2 feet! You can do the same thinking about electronic stores, tools, linens, wedding items, religion, toys, and I could go on for several lines!
How do these businesses make their expenses? Incredible, but it should work as it is the case in a multitude of Mexican cities.
In the evening, I walk into smaller and less touristy streets, often providing me nice surprises, and sure enough, I found a Cerveseria with a great Spanish name, The Beer Company (Durango, Calle Lic. Benito Juárez 107, Zona Centro, Durango, Dgo., Mexico https://goo.gl/maps/N6DXy8m9Lrm).
Wow, super simple but affordable, nice atmosphere, good selection of beers, which are always served very cold, and a small burger for $ 2!
It’s that kind of place that changes the whole dynamic of a negative day, along with getting out of a bar, in September, with a temperature of 25 degrees that also helps a little.
As you can see, I now try to add the links to the places I visit, this being a request from certain future adventurers! Sorry if that makes reading a bit more difficult.
2016-09-22 - Day 11 - Durango to Mazatlán (320 km - 5:00 hrs) 2016-09-23 - Day 12 -Mazatlán One of the recommended routes that I read on various blogs is the 40, between Durango and Mazatlán. Normally, taking the normal toll highway, the 40D, travel time between the two cities ... Read more
2016-09-17 - Day 6 - Linares, NL to Galeana, NL (70 km - 1:30 hrs) 2016-09-18 - Day 7 - Galeana, NL to Real de Catorce, SL (241 km - 6:30 hrs) 2016-09-19 - Day 8 - Real de Catorce, SL It's amazing how quickly I have to write down everything down as I want to ... Read more