March 7, 2019: Visiting the Museo Ex Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera


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Moments before Rosa was to arrive, I got out my laptop and googled museums near me. I scrolled down the list until I found one I had not been to yet. I selected Museo Ex Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera. At 2.2 miles from the apartment, it was a good destination for the day. On a previous day I had almost walked all the way there, but on that day, I was just walking to see where the road went. Had I known about the museum, I probably would have visited it then.

Since I had already taken enough photos of the route out that way, I didn’t take many photos, until I came to the Plaza de las Ranas. Instead of it being a nice place to walk, it was buried in portable tents. Between the tents you could see the statues of the frogs sandwiched trightly among the tent floors. The sidewalks were obstructed with traffic barriers and grandstands. In several places I had to walk in the street to get buy. I made a note to myself to find a better way to walk back into town.

All this todo, reminded me of how much I hated it in Honolulu when a movies was being filmed.
This statue welcomes visitors to the city. I like the way that men and women are given an equal role in the symbolism.
I think this is a fig tree, which was just growing alongside the road, like a weed.
It looks like little figs are growing on it.
I used the zoom to get a shot of this small cupola way up on a hill outside the city.

When I arrived at the point in my walk, where I had turned around and went back before, I could not figure out how to walk down the road, which Google was directing me down. I pulled out my phone to check the map again, to find that Google was now directing me through some back roads. I walked that way and eventually found my way to a back street that lead to the museum.

I walked through a rather nondescript gate in a stone wall and found the ticket office. I was a little surprised that entrance fee was 40 pesos. For some reason, I had thought it was going to be 25 pesos. After that long walk I wasn’t going to complain too much.

Once inside, I headed up the first stairway I found. It didn’t lead into the Hacienda, but into a very elaborate garden.

I soon realized that the gardens were all themed. There was a gong in the Japanese garden, which was on the left side of the stairway I was walking up.

There was a statue at the top of the stairs, in an arbor like area.

Looking down into the Japanese garden.
These flowers grow all along the stems of the plant, reminding me of the halos of artificial flowers that are sold around town.
Another view of the Japanese garden from the upper garden.

In the arbor like garden a woman sat, seeming to enjoy her solitude. I continued on as not to disturb her.

The back of the statue in the upper garden.
Some of the seating looked like choir stalls.
Behind the upper garden was another.
I first saw these flowers in Spain. I saw them again in Ecuador.
Somehow I don’t think this bar area was original to the place.
The Italian garden.
In the Italian garden, was s stained glass window with sunflowers set into the wall.
Looking down the Italian garden the other way.
The Mexican Garden
The Garden of the Oranges
In the garden of the oranges, the fountain was flowing. You don’t see too many fountains flowing here.
I can’t seem to get away from anchor chains.
(Click the link and fast forward to minute 2:20, to hear how I feel about anchor chains.)
The Garden of the Church. I at first thought it was the Garden of the English, until I remembered that church is Iglesia in spanish.
Inside the church
The back of the wall of the Italian garden. You can see the stained glass window.
A fountain at the foot of the swimming pool.

As I came out of the garden of the church, I noticed a swimming pool. As I got closer, I began to think that this estate must have been renovated in the 1920s or 1930s to make it into more of a pleasure palace than a working hacienda. The style of the pool area added to the gardens, which I had just passed through, made me see the whole grounds as a huge folly. As in the second definition of the word, “a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose.” I searched the web but couldn’t find out anything about the hacienda, besides that it was build in the 1700s.

This pool area just reeks of the time between the wars. I can just imagine Scott and Zelda chilling out here.
The pool is in bad repair, but still has a certain grandeur to it.
Behind the pool was an area that must have once been used for entertaining.

Leaving the pool area, I followed a path to an overlook. It took a while to get the photos I wanted because everytime I turned a corner there was a girl taking thousands of photos of her boyfriend, poised leaning languidly against every picturesque thing on the grounds. I guess rather than him being an instagram boyfriend she was an instagram girlfriend. In the one above, I maneuvered to put a post in front of the pretty boy. Later when he moved, I got the photo I actually wanted, below.

As I followed slowly, hoping that the couple would outdistance me, I examined the view through the barred openings in the wall of the compound. I saw some ruins that indicated that the grounds were once larger than they are today.

These runs look like a classic folly

As I walked through the gardens, I was reminded of the ruins at Knossos. Even the colloring made me think of the hamfisted “restoration”, which was done there. In the photo above you can see an old statue and pillar, which look as if they could be part of the original construction.

The view from the overlook was not quite as impressive as the overlook itself.
The size of the overlook, like much of the grounds makes me think that much of the renovation was done with the idea of entertaining. I wish I could find something on the history of the place between the 1700s and it becoming a museum.
Looking down on the other side of the overlook, to another area which would be great for an event. When I went down into that area I found that the overlook was built over a large cistern. The cistern was too dark to photograph.

Finally, I gave up on trying to lag behind the bothersome young people and outdistanced them.

I am developing quite a love of these old stairways.
This building, which seemed to be part of the renovations, which added the swimming pool, cannot be visited, but now seem to house artists’ studios. I peeked into the window and saw a class going on.
The plaza between the pool and the studios (as I call them.)
One of the larger garden plazas was being set up as an event area. This place would be great for a wedding.
This isn’t actually part of the main house. It is just a sitting area overlooking one of the gardens. Though the garden was filled with places to sit, here the furniture was clearly labeled that it wasn’t to be used.
A chapel at the end of the sitting area.
On the other side of the wall was another sitting area.
Finally, I found the hacienda, as I passed through the door from the first seeing area, though the second, and into the Rose Garden.
This door had iron strapping over a cow hide, which still had the hair.
Standing inside the hacienda looking back through the Rose Garden.

All the rooms, which I passed through were stunning, but it was the bathrooms that I found fascinating. They definitely looked 1920s style.

I had to wonder, with all the bathrooms, why is there a chamber pot in this room?
Another bathroom I guess people used the room at the same time since all the toilets had privacy walls.
I am guessing this is a shower?
I wonder why the bed spread is laying on the floor like that.
Yep, another bathroom
How many does that make?
Another chamber pot
Cool flowers and a well

Once I was outside the museum, I decided to walk back home via the road Google originally wanted me to take. This gave me an opportunity to take photos of the outside of the building including the front.

The blue is just decoration, not painters tape
I wish that the faded red banners advertising the museum had not been there. Why they are there, I don’t know. The building can not be seen from the roadway.

When I got back to the point where they were setting up for an event, the police were blocking the roadway coming into town.

There were professional video cameras set up pointing across the road. I looked up and saw a sporting pavillion, and couldn’t understand why anyone would want to film that.

I detoured behind the plaza where all the event tents were set up and made my way up through the neighborhood behind. This led me to the El Cantador Garden. I was looking for the lady who sells fresh juices there, but she must have sold all her goods and gone home. I did see a statue I had never noticed before, honoring the volunteer firemen.

I was in centro before I found a place to get something to drink. Below is a photo of how juice drinks are often served here. I thought it was quite fun. I asked the lady at the stand if the big jar with yellow liquid was limon. She said it was “lima”. I thought that was just another way of saying limon. It didn’t taste like anything I had ever tasted before. Not overly sweet, and with an overtone that tastes like sandalwood smells. I finished it off hoping it wasn’t made from some plant I was a allergic too. When I got home I looked it up and lima is just spanish for lime. I guess it was that type of lime that gave it the unusual flavor.

I sat in the plaza watching the police blocking off more streets, wishing my spanish were good enough to ask some questions about what was going on. When I finished my drink, I went shopping for food and headed home. As I passed the Regional Museum of Guanajuato Alhóndiga de Granaditas, I saw that the plaza in front was being set up for an event. The street was blocked off all the way down to the street that leads to the street I live on. The police were there detouring people away from downtown. The heavy traffic made it hard for me to cross, but the moment the flow of traffic stalled out dashed across.

Rosa was just coming out of the apartment when I got home. We said our goodbyes, since this will be the last time she cleans my place before I leave. That makes me a little sad. I have a feeling I will be coming back to this town one day.

Categories: Guanajuato, Mexico, Mexico Travel, Nomad's Food, Photos, Street Food, TravelTags: , , , , , , ,

1 comment

  1. A most interesting museum. Not as interesting as the one with all the skeleton dioramas of Mexican history but I do like
    garden🤗👋

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