lunes, 1 de abril de 2013

Parras Double-Take

Mario worked the last two weekends in a row and I had enough.  I needed to get out.  Anywhere.  The trouble is 1) I haven't had much practice driving on Mexican highways, therefore I lack the confidence to go much of anywhere, and 2) we live in Saltillo, so there are very few towns and cities within four hours of us (half of those nearby towns and cities are off-limits, thanks to narco-violence . . . *sigh*). 

For a weekend our options are:
    1)  Monterrey--but I refuse to drive there.  I just don't know it well enough and it just re-joined our "safe" list, but I'm not looking to press my luck.  We'll take a bus one of these days.

     2)  San Luis Potosi--four hours south.  Just farther away than I wanted to go.  Plus, it's rumored to be packed during Holy Week.

     3)  Texas--but my parents were visiting from the US.  Seems kind of silly to take them back there for a weekend.  Let's face it--Laredo isn't THAT interesting, and anywhere that is interesting (San Antonio, South Padre Island) is just too far for a two-day weekend.

      4)  Parras--two hours west of here.  Small town, achieved Pueblo Magico status, so it's charming.  Not much to do, but it's always a good time. 

At the Estanquillo with a view of Santo Madero
Being my first trek onto the highways, I decided to try the easiest and most boring road possible . . . Parras it was! 

My plan was to take the kids swimming at the Estanquillo La Luz (a lovely, shady reservoir).  When we got there, it turned out to be chillier than we anticipated, but the three of us with swimsuits braved the water anyway.  Then we had lunch at La Casona (basically the only place we eat in Parras . . . find the plaza with the big kiosk (just past the plaza with the clock, La Plaza del Reloj, creo) find the Neveria Chepo and keep walking in that direction.  Pass Hotel Santa Isabel and it will be on the opposite side of the street).  Amazing beef.  

I was hoping to stock up on wine at Casa Madero, but we left town at 6 and they had already closed.  Nuts. 












Enjoying the very slippery kiddie pool




Warming up with Grandma
The very freshly painted kiddie pool.  Clara's swimsuit is now coated yellow.

Since I wasn't able to stockpile wine, we returned to Parras with Mario this weekend (the day before Easter).  Stockpiling accomplished. 

The chapel at Casa Madero, decked out for Easter.

Note to self (and anyone else who reads this, of course):  Parras gets PACKED the day before Easter.  People were waiting in a huge line for Casa Madero tours.  Usually it's the tour guides who are waiting around.  Oddly, I didn't see much wine leaving the sale house. 

We were hoping to re-visit the Estanquillo, but given the crowds at Casa Madero, we figured it would be packed with people.  So we plunked ourselves at the Casona again, wandered town, drooled over fantastic hippie jewelry on the Plaza del Reloj, enjoyed some ice cream, and called it a day. 

So thanks again, Parras. We'll be back. 

I just couldn't get over the fact that there was a line for tours.  And that many people in the line.  Wow.
But not for another two months or so. 
Being good little Mexicans and playing in the water on Sabado de Gloria.

Thoroughly enjoying his ice cream.