One down, one to go / by Carl Fonticella

Well folks, my time in Montemorelos at Hospital la Carlota has come to an end! Yesterday I said goodbye to the small town and caught a bus from Monterrey to Querétaro, a trip that lasted almost 10 hours with two stops included in Matehuala and San Luis Potosí. The last time I took a bus trip that long was when I went from Granada to Madrid, and then from there to Pamplona last summer; on that trip, I loved seeing the Spanish countryside and it wasn’t much different this time around. 

Seeing the mountains and the small towns that dot the highway made for a surreal sight, and I could tell even from the bus that these were towns in which time could stand still under the bright Mexican sun. The bus stations here (and the buses themselves) are such a superior upgrade from those in the United States, making the trip comfortable and bearable despite the length of the journey. 

Querétaro (from what I’ve been able to gather from these last 18 hours or so) is an absolutely gorgeous city! It’s a city of just over 800,000 people, with an incredible history dating back to 200 AD. This area has seen Mesoamerican tribes, the Aztec Empire and it’s influence here, to conquistadors. Technically, this city is called “Santiago de Querétaro” and the city itself has been in existence since 1531. In 1986, the historic town center was named an UNESCO World Heritage site, and I’m lucky enough to live very near to it; be on the lookout for photos from there as I get the opportunity to explore throughout the coming weeks! 

What’s unique about Querétaro is the fact that there is an aqueduct that still exists, which was originally built between 1726 and 1738, and beneath the arches lie “alebrijes” which are actually from the state of Oaxaca, but have made their way here to Querétaro. Alebrijes are sculptures of fantastical invented creatures, although many are based off of real animals, such as lizards and fish. 

At the moment I’m staying in a hotel near where I’ll be working (IMO, or the Instituto Mexicano de Oftalmología) and tomorrow I’ll be moving into the house of one of the doctors who’s graciously allowed me to stay in his home. I’m currently in the lobby of the hotel, enjoying a Modelo Especial and listening to a live band play music. If these next five weeks are going to be as nice as these first 18 hours, Querétaro and I are going to get along quite nicely. Bye for now!