(Apologies in advance for the quality of these photos. I don’t know why they’re all fuzzy. Hope you “get the picture” in spite of it.)
It’s hard not to feel like you’re getting enough exercise here in Guanajuato. We walk almost everywhere, and the steep hills make every walk feel like a workout. But I’ve learned, from my friendly cellphone app, Pacer, that such feelings can be deceiving. So I decided to map out a walk that would be more or less equivalent in steps measured to my river walk at home. That’s about 6,000 steps which, along the Echo River, takes me 50-55 minutes.
I leave my Guanajuato home heading down, which is pretty well the only way to go from our house,
and at the bottom of the hill turn left and walk along the main thoroughfare that goes through the centre of town. Here, walking is an exercise in patience.
In all the years we’ve been coming to Guanajuato, I’ve yet to adjust to the snail’s pace required by narrow sidewalks and leisurely crowds. I try not to be rude.
Someone told us about a new stall in Market Hidalgo (the city’s major indoor market) featuring local and organic food, so I stop in. But no luck. And it’s crowded in here.
I continue through the centre of town to what is usually a walkway through one of the greenest parks in town. For the Christmas season, though, the walkway becomes the path through an outdoor mall devoted to Christmassy items and gifts. It’s not yet noon on a Sunday, so the stalls are just beginning to open. The gift-buying season is still in full force here since January 6, Three Kings Day, is the main gift-giving event.
Emerging from the Christmas Market, I follow the main route into town, passing the grand entrance to the city and skirting the edge of another large park.
There, children are playing near a group of military guys (reservists?) practicing their goose-steps.
And then to Guanajuato’s own river. Or what now passes for a river, since it has largely been diverted as part of a massive underground tunnel and drainage system. Only sludgy puddles are visible, but the stench is unmistakeable.
The combination of moisture and organic matter supports some natural-growing greenery along the edges. This is the dry season; it’s more of a river in July, and probably cleaner.
This part of the city— only a few steps away from the centre (though I haven’t checked Pacer to see how many)—has a very different feel. Not so scenic, but there’s enough space to stride along at a comfortable pace, and I’m enjoying my last half kilometre on the level.
Soon, I will have to turn and begin the climb back up.
Longer, but much more gradual, than the descent. I allow myself a short rest partway up.
I can barely see the entrance to the city from my resting spot. You see it again here compliments of iphoto’s zoom feature.
This astounding house announces that I’m almost at the little commercial strip where I usually buy my produce and meat, and just a short (though still uphill) walk from home.
The meat guy is closed on Sundays, but I don’t think the Fruteria ever closes, and I have a small list.
It’s called a Fruteria, but you can buy almost any dry and packaged goods there as well as fresh produce.
My list includes oatmeal, rice, and dried coconut as well as mangoes and avacados (ahh, Mexico).
And now, with my purchases in my backpack and after just a short walk up some steep steps, I’m home.
What?? Pacer tells me I’ve walked just 6,000 steps, almost exactly the same as my river walk at home. And my “active time” is just one hour and eight minutes, so about fifteen minutes longer. On my Echo River walk, I don’t stop at several markets along the way, so not that much longer, either. I guess I have to call it a draw.
But can we make a deal, Pacer? Can we agree that an Echo River step is not the same as a Guanajuato step?