After 4 days in Mexico City – the city of the extremes in Mexico, I came to Querétaro to visit some friends. I took the first class bus TuriFirst Lujo from la Camionera del Sur – Taxqueña for 230 pesos with a bottle of water and a sandwich included.
Other buses were full for the time I needed so it was maybe a destiny. I have never traveled on a bus with such a huge space for legs (which I so appreciated), the seat was like an enormous comfortable bed. And when they started playing my fave movie Twilight and with the Wifi connection, I could not ask for more. It was just 30 pesos more for all the comfort. My first experience on a Mexican bus was just first class :)
My friends picked me up at the bus station and we headed to their place where I stayed over for 5 days (14th – 19th March), then to have some buffet dinner and after a stroll through the centre, we finished the day with crepes in Villemot Creperia. Nutella and fresh strawberries crepes, that’s holidays!
When I did my traditional research online about Querétaro, there was not much said and not many pictures either. But I just felt I would love it. Right now I am on a branch in a park close to the friends’ house. The birds are singing but really really loud, I can hear the noise of the leaves in the breeze and it is so peaceful. People running here and exercising at these weird metal exercise machines I have never seen in my life. What surprises me the most, half of the people here are older than 50 years, and they do yoga on the grass or exercise at the machines. And the young guys run around the park.
The thing I like about Querétaro is its quietness. So not comparable with the capital city. The life here just makes you slower down a bit, the cars do not drive like crazy and it is just a balsam for the soul. My first night when we walked through the centre, I heard an American guide saying to his tourist group ”Querétaro is so quiet” and that is all one has to say to understand the city.
For my surprise, Querétaro is so different from Mexico City. The houses are not that colourful, no bright blue, green or red houses; even the part of the city on the hill is all white which looks more like a place in Greece or South Italy than in Mexico. Querétaro is nothing like from one extreme to another, it is some kind of an average when it comes to people, cars and houses. Not that many big jeeps and all those SUV cars. There are more tourists and you can hear English more often – mostly older Americans (I saw only one young couple.) There are less taxis (which are all yellow) but they are more expensive than the ones in the capital city.
The buses are not half green, half white, but just of one colour (yellow, white or green) and more new. There are six different companies that run the buses in Querétaro. Some of them use numbers, some letters to designate the route (which is just drawn on the front and side glass), but all are for the same price – 6,50 pesos. You have to wave to stop the bus and get on and give the coins to the driver, or you sit and pay him before you get off. At the bus stops you would never find a timetable, not even the numbers/letters of the buses which pass through, just ask local people or the so called checador who writes down the times buses pass. Sometimes you do not even see the bus stop, as there is literally none. To get off through the back door, press the button; or if you stand in the front of the bus, the driver stops you as soon as he can, it does not have to be a normal stop.
The place looks safer and with a peaceful way of life. People do not look at me with their mouth open, they must be more used to güeros (white people in Mexican Spanish) and the average height here is more so I do not seem ľ heads taller than the rest. The more North the country you go, the taller people you find.
Mexican people are very nationalist, the flag is everywhere, in the churches above the altar as well (which shocked me!) However, Querétaro inhabitants must be proud of their city, too. The Q symbol that stands for Querétaro, is both on the zebra crossing and sometimes metal Q on the pavement.
Querétaro is a growing city with more and more traffic, so logically more roads must be constructed. It is full of dust then, it’s so bad that after a day of walking in the city, my jeans were all dirty grey and my feet in flip flops even worse. I looked like a homeless. Not joking. No wonder you can find plenty of shoe-cleaners around the city. Maybe they should clean feet at the street, too.
The good thing is, very very few people smoke, I saw 5 all together during 5 days spent in here, while 2 of them were adolescent rebel girls smoking and hiding in the park. Nice, with all the dust in the city is enough.
What makes me feel like a weirdo here, is such a stupid detail – almost no one wears sunglasses (how can they see in this bright sun?!). If I do not want to cry, I just have to put the sunglasses on even inside the shops or museums sometimes. Probably the locals think I am posh. But no, just sensible eyes!
Querétaro women can show off their nice figures, for sure they are slimmer, taller and nicer than those from D.F. However, the little clothes sold in the local shops, would not fit like a third of girls living in Querétaro. Anyway, it is not really their cup of tea, so just wondering who buys all the clothes and as well where the local women get theirs as I have not seen any shops selling them.
You could describe Querétaro in many different ways, but the word that fits it the most would be definitely quiet. The same does not describe the tourist places close to Querétaro.