Emmanuel and I just arrived back in Boston from our summer vacation, and I thought it would be fun to share some photos from our trip before heading back to the office on Tuesday!
I’m married to a first-generation Mexican-American, so it’s about time I took my first trip to Mexico! We’ve been meaning to go for 3 years now, and this summer felt like the right time.
I knew that E’s family was large, but I don’t think I realized just how large until we arrived! His grandmother had 11 children and 30-something grandchildren — and that’s just on ONE side of the family. They make my 13-person family seem tiny in comparison! 😉
It was such a fun atmosphere to be a part of. Every time we went for a walk, we would run into a new relative that I hadn’t met before. You greet each other with a hug and a kiss on the cheek, which made me feel welcome right from the start.
My Spanish also received quite a workout! Growing up in San Antonio, I took 3 years of Spanish in high school…but that was just enough to scrape by. I could understand a great deal of the conversations, but I really struggled to form sentences on my own. Thankfully E is fluent in both Spanish and English, and he’s a very patient teacher!
I’ll kick things off with my very favorite city: Guanajuato! My in-laws told me that I would LOVE it, and clearly they know my style! Filled with colorful buildings nestled into the mountains, it reminded me a bit of our Italian honeymoon to the Amalfi Coast, but with more of a festive spirit.
After traveling into town with E’s parents and cousin, we split off to adventure on our own and stay overnight. Since we only booked one hotel for the whole trip, we splurged a bit for Hotel Boutique 1850. We loved the unique design, friendly staff, and unbeatable location (right in the middle of the Jardín de la Unión)!
After catching the funicular up to the breathtaking views from El Pipila for the second time, we took the slow way back downtown by wandering through winding alleys and staircases. I think every travel experience isn’t complete without getting “lost” for a bit!
Not pictured: the lively Mexican music all around town!
After the sun disappears, Guanajuato reveals its vibrant night scene. As a college town, there are lots of festivities and good vibes — even in the summer!
E’s cousin Fito attended Universidad de Guanajuato, so he had plenty of great recommendations for our visit. He told us we couldn’t miss a tour with the callejoneadas, and he was so right — it ended up being one of the most memorable experiences from our trip to Mexico!
It’s a hard experience to summarize, but it’s basically like a huge parade through the alleys of Guanajuato, led by singing students who tell silly stories and play instruments. I honestly don’t know how anyone sleeps in this town — our group was SO LOUD!
Halfway through the tour, the callejoneadas split the women apart from the men and took us off to a different area. At first I was kind of bummed (since E was translating the all-Spanish tour for me)…but then the men re-appeared with roses for us! So cheesy but also super cute! I carried around the roses like a proud tourist for the rest of our visit.
For our last stop in Guanajuato City, we truly lucked out by finding the restaurant Mestizo. Ranked as one of the best restaurants in Guanajuato, our meal was my favorite from the entire trip — and it only cost us $30 for two entrees, drinks, AND dessert. What?! I loved its artsy decor, too!
To close out Guanajuato, here’s one of my favorite pictures of E! Nothing compares to travel adventures with him.
Next up: Mexico City! Unfortunately I hardly have any photos from this part of the trip because I got sick shortly after arriving. I spent the second day of Mexico City in bed with a fever and even ventured out to the doctor with the help of my in-laws. I felt so sick that I was convinced that the rest of the trip was shot (E’s dad even suggested the possibility of flying back to Boston early). Surprisingly, I woke up the next day feeling a million times better. I was SO relieved!!
I really have to thank E’s family for taking such great care of me! Everyone had helpful suggestions and kept checking in. I was so embarrassed to have de-railed the family plans, but at the same time, I felt immensely grateful (especially considering I had just met all of them for the first time!)
After missing out on most of Mexico City, I was determined to join everyone for the trip to the archaeological site of Teotihuacán.
Teotihuacán’s history fascinated me! An ancient Mesoamerican city dating from about 100 BC, it used to be one of the largest cities in the world with approximately 150,000 residents.
The Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest ancient pyramid in the world, and you can climb to the top for a vast view of the beautiful surrounding landscape.
In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the best decision to climb up 248 steps after my fever had just broken, but I’m so glad I made the hike! It was one of my favorite experiences of the trip.
After working up quite an appetite, we stumbled upon this lovely family restaurant.
This is Isaac, the 3-year-old son of E’s cousin and her husband. I had so much fun hanging out with him! We had a bit of a language barrier, but my broken Spanish and high fives worked well enough for us to become friends. I miss him already!
How beautiful is this molcajete dish?! The green strips are actually cactus, which I didn’t realize was edible until I went to Mexico.
Next up: a little evening trip to León (only about 30 minutes from E’s family’s house)!
I’m lucky to have amazing in-laws!!
Street food is a huge part of Mexican culture, so taco stops are mandatory! This particular stand won E’s vote for the best meal of our trip.
Last but not least: Purísima del Rincón, the town where E’s dad is from! His mom is from the neighboring town San Francisco del Rincón, and they met each other at a community dance.
E’s dad lived in this house as a teenager, then purchased the home for his family to live in. The yellow walls and abundance of plants make it such a cheerful place to stay!
E’s grandmother passed away in March, and I’m so sad that I never had the chance to meet her in person. Everyone shared such fond stories of her.
E’s dad just retired after 28 years of working at Boeing/Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas. Of course some tequila was in order!
At the end of the block, this delicious stand offers a million different delicious paletas (popsicles). Sometimes we visited twice a day!
On our last evening, E and I spent some time wandering around town and documenting the place where his dad grew up.
More delicious tacos:
We stopped for a nice conversation with these two men, who have lived in Purísima for 60-something years. Their smiles were contagious!
Here’s the main square/garden in the center of town. It’s a lovely place to sit and people-watch!
Although I’m sad the trip has come to a close, I feel grateful to have spent a week getting to know my husband’s family and Mexican roots. Rumor has it that our next trip will be in 2018 for Christmas, which I hear is quite the fiesta in Mexico! I can’t wait to see everyone again!