Playing Tourist–Dolores Hidalgo, Gto

I’m not a big fan of Mexican movies, but every now and then, one catches my fancy. Our latest tourist adventure was inspired by 2014 movie En El Último Trago. Three old geezers set out on a whirlwind adventure, well, as whirlwind as 3 old geezers can spin, to Dolores Hidalgo, specifically to the José Alfredo Jiménez museum. The movie is a hoot. There was nothing for it but to recreate their journey to Dolores Hidalgo ourselves.

It’s only about 3 hours from our home, so it was an easy day trip. Thank god, we had no vehicle problems or no random police stops. Nearly all of my proposed visit sites were clustered near the centro, so we parked and hoofed it.

After stopping for refreshment at a torta place, we began our tourist adventure with the Casa Museo José Alfredo Jiménez. I even got some pictures of the signature of José Alfredo Jiménez, which is a key feature of the movie. Entrance is $40 pesos with a discount for teachers and students with appropriate ID. We bought most of our souvenirs here, which meant lugging them around the rest of the day, but after seeing the other gift shops, we decided it was worth it.

We passed the Parroquia de Nuestro Señora de Los Dolores and saw some class trips reenacting the Grito de Dolores.IMG_20180711_121814

We went to El Museo del Bicentenario which was disappointing. I wasn’t able to exactly understand how the displays came together. The nearest I could figure each room represented an oppressed society. One had posters about censorship in Russia, another Vietnam, 2 full rooms were devoted to China and the last room was all about Israel. There were some exceptional stained glass windows in one room and a few spectacular Catrinas in another, but that was about it as regards to Mexico. Oh, and the two full wall surrealist murals were something to see. Admission was $20 pesos, half price for students and teachers.

Our next stop was La Casa de Los Descendientes de Hidalgo (the House of the descendants of Miguel Hidalgo), which was also an upscale restaurant. The entrance was $30 pesos per person and $10 for camera use. As the name implies, this was the home of the 5th generation descendants of Miguel Hidalgo, the last remaining descendant having just celebrated her 106th birthday. Apparently, after the 5 generations, the blood is no longer pure and the generation count begins again. So the children of the 5th generation, are no longer descendants of Miguel Hidalgo, or so our tour guide told us. This was my favorite museum. There were dioramas depicting some of the most relevant aspects of the fight for Independence. I have to admit, I always wanted to have my own handmade wooden dollhouse and these little scenes made my heart go pitter patter with longing.

We then took a turn around the centro, which was very pleasant, and had some ice cream (another reference to the movie). There were a few nice statues, lots of benches to sit on, and a whole lotta shoe polishing carts. We admired La Casa de Visitas from our park bench.

We hiked a few blocks to the Museo del Vino and the Casa de Hidalgo. Both had a $45 peso admission fee, which seemed a little steep now that we’d been to a few of the other museums. We opted not to tour either. I did peek in Hidalgo’s house and was reminded of another movie Hidalgo la Historia Jamás Contada which as far as historical movies go, wasn’t bad.

Of course, it could be that Hidalgo, who fathered children with two different women and spearheaded the national fight for Independence, was not quite what you would expect from a Catholic priest. Hidalgo had his own vineyards which were burnt in punishment for his treason against the crown, so the Museo de Vino wasn’t a far stretch of the imagination right there next to his house in what used to be a hospital. We did hit the gift shop and bought a locally produced bottle of wine called Lloro de Tierra. It was a nice, sweet, fruity rose and we enjoyed it immensely when we got home.

We did not get to the Museo de la Independencia, nor did we stop to see la Tumba de José Alfredo Jiménez en the Panteon. When we asked for directions to the cemetery, hoping it was close enough to walk to, we were told we’d have to walk “un chingo” to get there. My son’s flat feet were starting to ache and we were getting tired, so walking un chingo didn’t seem like something we were interested in doing.IMG_20180711_140241.jpg On the way out of the town, we stopped in another nice park with statues, a playground, some nice fountains (without any water) and benches that resembled sofas.IMG_20180711_141220As far as Pueblos Mágicos go, Dolores Hidalgo should be on your must-see list, not for the quality of the museums because they were rather ho-hum, but for the historical significance of the area, and the wine. I would recommend staying more than one day since there are so many things to see.

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10 Comments

Filed under Mexican Cultural Stories, Tourist Sites in Mexico

10 responses to “Playing Tourist–Dolores Hidalgo, Gto

  1. Thank you for the nice report! Did you try any of the tequila ice cream in the zocolo? Another note to people headed that way; the talavera ceramics, plus antiques and/or antique reproduction and folk art shops on the eastern outskirts of the city are some of the best in Mexico, especially on the back road between Dolores and San Miquel, an hour away.

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    • Another reader mentioned the talavera ceramics. We did go to several ceramic places and were impressed with their quality as compared to other “touristy” towns but we didn’t know about the workshops. And we definitely passed a whole bunch of junk places on the way in and out of town–which would be those antique places you mention. There were at least 10 large places. Of course, I wasn’t in the market for a huge wagon wheel or statue of Miguel Hidalgo, so we didn’t stop, but that might be a separate trip in the future! There was also an entire mini-western town complete with the OK Corral in what was advertised as a movie museum or something like that. So really, a trip to Delores Hidalgo could take several days to fully explore.

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  2. Deborah S.

    We took a day trip from San Miguel de Allende to Dolores Hidalgo. We enjoyed the Parroquia and the Casa de Hidalgo, as well as visit to a Talavera workshop recommended by Creative Hands of Mexico. The weather in January was perfect, and the sky was intensely blue!

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  3. The ice cream is exceptional. Have you been to the church of Atotonilco? It’s outside on San Miguel. The best in Mexico, seriously.

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    • Trying some of the bizarre ice cream flavors in the plaza is a must, and yes, the church in Atotonilco is well worth tacking on several hours to see. Tony Cohan has a terrific discription of it in his book Mexico Days.

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    • No, I haven’t been there but I will put it on my list of places to visit!

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      • Another excellent excursion in that area is the old mining town of San Pedro de los Pozos (more commonly called Mineral de Pozos or simply Pozos), about an hour east of Dolores Hidalgo and northeast of San Miquel. The town is a gorgeous tangle of falling down adobe walls and buildings, with abandoned Jesuit missionary and mine buildings to explore outside of town. There is even a gallery art walk some days, least there used to be…

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  4. Pingback: Movie Review–Una última y nos vamos | Surviving Mexico

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