This is not the first time I write about Guadalajara, however, I spent a weekend there just last year, and felt in love with this city, again.
Getting there from Mexico City is pretty simple, you either take a 50 minutes flight (around USD$70 to $100 return), or a 7 hours bus from “Central Poniente” (USD$75 return). I chose the second option, because either I’m still an adventurous man or apparently I haven’t learnt to buy my trips on advance, go figure.
I arrived to Guadalajara’s bus terminal on a Saturday, around 7 am, and decided to hop on the public transportation to get to the city centre. As, due to some previous reading, public transportation routes are easy to follow. Once you get to downtown, moving around by foot isn’t that bad at all, or at least for me, as I really enjoy long walks.
As you can see, the day was beautiful, and as I walked from “Templo de Nuestra Señora de Aranzazú” to Guadalajara’s Plaza de Armas (its main square) stores and restaurants were getting ready to serve the peasants.
The Cathedral is incredible. Its construction began on 1561 and was finished by 1716, finally completed on 1854. To one of its side you will find the “Hombres Ilustres” (distinguished men) roundabout with all those men who contributed to either found Guadalajara or stood out for their achievements in culture, science, politics or leadership.
I continued walking through Jose Maria Morelos street and passed by Teatro Degollado. This Theatre was built during the XIX Century. Its facade is beautifully balanced by 16 Corinthian styled columns, a reminder of Guadalajara’s constant focus in culture and arts.
Just a 20 minutes walk away, in that direction, you’ll find the Hospicio Cabañas. This is a World Heritage Site, and one of the oldest and largest hospital complexes in the Americas. I’ve been there before, and I do recommend you to spend at least a couple of hours exploring it.
You might be wondering, “Luis, why did you go to Guadalajara out of the sudden?”, glad you ask. As you know, I’m from Tampico, gorgeous town on the Northeast coast of Mexico. My local soccer team was playing against the Universidad of Guadalajara’s team that Sunday, so, I packed my jersey and lots of sunscreen and just went for it.
On Saturday evening I hung out around the Chapultepec Avenue zone, it has plenty of hipster-ish pubs, restaurants, local gastronomy, and a colourful flea market. Later that night, a good friend of mine invited me over to a party in that same neighborhood, the “Colonia Americana”. Guadalajara and Merida have that in common, huge 19th and 20th century houses, which are part of the local heritage, some of them became restaurants or venues for fancy events. She took me to “Patán Ale House“, wonderful beer place, with local brews, great ambiance and good food, perfect for a relaxed Saturday night.
On Sunday I went to the football match, to the Estadio Jalisco, aye, you are right, my team won 2-0 and I couldn’t be happier. The funny thing is that around 400+ fans from my town traveled all the way from East coast to Guadalajara to support our team. That afternoon I made two more food stops. One at “El Negro”, a seafood joint. That was freaking heaven, fresh seafood everywhere, fish and shrimp tacos, grilled octopus, and beer as cold as my ex’s heart, amazing.
The second one, and a great reminder that I need to come back soon to keep on exploring this great city, was “La Res Publica“. Here we ordered one of the most heavenly “Bife de Chorizo” I ever had. Medium rare, solid salted crust, juicy meat and an outstanding explosion of flavours in my mouth with each bite.
That was Guadalajara for me, great weekend, and a must needed break from Mexico City. I highly recommend it, not only as a place to go for a couple of days. Guadalajara seems like the right place where to go if you want to experience Mexico in peaceful and calm way.
Ps. But of course I had a Torta Ahogada. This is a local dish made with hard short baguette stuffed with pork carnitas, and covered on hot or mild red sauce (hence the word “ahogadas” which means drowned). However, I had the seafood version, with shrimps, outstanding.