When we introduced Erica’s family to Antonio and Eloisa during their visit to Canada last September, we set things in motion for this visit. They had been pretty lukewarm about making the trip—Aidan (18), especially. But once he met Antonio and Eloisa, he decided he had to visit, and he had to teach himself Spanish. Wow. In five months, he’s become close to fluent, using online teaching aids and listening to podcasts when he drives. I’m in awe. He also began to see the trip as a chance to practice his new passion for photography, and he rarely goes out without his camera. A chip of the old block.
Downtime is generally online time. We’ve lost track of how many devices are floating around the place.
Antonio and Eloisa have loaned us one of their cars for the week, so we can all travel together comfortably, or separately when we want to. On Monday we took off for Cristo Rey, a religious shrine high on a mountain-top in the geographic centre of Mexico. A 40-minute drive from Guanajuato, winding and climbing through the mountains. It’s the trip and the view that make the jaunt worthwhile for us, though it’s a place of spiritual significance to many Mexicans and the site of regular pilgrimages.
By the end of the day, after a couple of hours behind the wheel of the car, through the city, managing the tunnels, negotiating the narrow mountain roads, I felt comfortable driving here for the first time. About time.
I did get hopelessly lost driving to Ex-Hacienda San Gabriel de Barerra the next day–which, I’m embarrassed to day, is a mere ten minutes from the house. But Erica and I finally met up there with the rest of the family, where we six were the only tourists in the 17th century hacienda and sprawling gardens—the Roman garden, the English garden, the Japanese garden, etc. It’s a place we’ve always enjoyed for its peacefulness but apparently it’s also good for playfulness.