Mexico's Hidden Gem - Querétaro
by Reich Ramirez
You are sipping your coffee in a century old plaza, designed by a french emperor. After you finish your meal you walk down the pedestrian street on the other end of the plaza and pass a fountain with a striking statue of a conchera dancer. As you get loose track of time as you watch old couples ballroom dance in the garden across the street.
You get distracted by the clowns making groups of kids laugh in front of a tall obelisk topped by a bronze women holding a lit torch. From the theater a block away you hear the haunting music of a philharmonic orchestra as they play Mozart and Bach. On all side there are buildings who's beauty and grace has stood for centuries.
You then think, where am I? Am I in downtown Paris, or on a street in Rome? With all that is going on around you are even reminded of New York. But then in a moment of clarity you remember. You are in the historic city of Queretaro, Mexico.
You are here to learn Spanish in one of the hidden jewels of Mexico, and the world. You chose this city because you were serious about being able to speak to people in over 22 countries in their native tongue. You know of it's history, its culture, its lively nightlife, but all you knew paled in comparison to what you have experienced.
Every night there are dozens of things to do. On Monday you went to the opening of a new art exhibition at the Museo del Arte, on Tuesday you saw the folkloric dancers performing for free in Plaza de Armas, on Wednesday you enjoyed tacos at El Mercado de La Cruz, and on Thursday night there was the youth orchestra performed in front of the dancing fountains on the Plaza Mariano de las Casas.
It was now Friday, and you new that there were even more options available this weekend.
The city was not overflowing with tourists as you expected. You are able to learn Spanish in Mexico like you had planned. That allowed you to fully immerse yourself in Spanish. No menus in English, and no street vendors trying to sell you authentic Mexican art, made in China. You had come unable to communicate, but after just a few month, you were discussing sports, politics and joking with your Mexican Homestay family.
You had heard about the troubles in Mexico. But in Queretaro you feel none of it. It is known as the "safest city in Mexico", and everything you have seen, heard and experienced has lived up to the reputation. As you walked through the ancient streets late at night you noticed how they were all fully lit, and that there were always people - men, women, children and families - walking around without a care in the world.
The weather was amazing. Cool mornings, sunny afternoons, and in the spring light showers in the late afternoon. Your senses are overloaded, and even after months in the Queretaro, you are still trying to take it all in. There is not enough time. Soon your time here will end, but you are relieved to know that you will definitely return.
You were in Queretaro, Mexico. And you could not be happier.