The TG and I just came back from a wonderful week at my sister-in-law's amazing house in the city of Queretaro, the best-kept secret in Mexico. She lives in the historic center of Queretaro – the Centro Historico -- which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996, and it's a charming trip into another century.
The Centro Historico is a unique combination of the geometric (from the Spanish conquerors) and the twisty (from the original Otami, Tarasco, and Chichimeca inhabitants.) You can spend hours wandering the streets and alleys of the district. There are churches and piazzas, interesting stores and vendors, street entertainers and musicians. The area is filled with civil and religious Baroque monuments from its golden age in the 17th and 18th centuries. The city has an active cultural life, and an Arts Council that never quits.
Located in central Mexico, about a two hours drive, northwest of Mexico City, Queretaro is favored by a mild, semi-arid climate. There is a rainy season in summer; we missed. What I particularly love about Queretaro is its light. Sunsets are simply magical, especially from my sister-in-law's fabulous 360-degree-view roof garden.
The city of Queretaro is full of interesting sites including Los Arcos, an enormous aqueduct consisting of seventy-four arches, stretching more than half a mile, built in the 1700s to bring water to the city (and now used for art exhibits) ... the Church of San Francisco, the city's largest house of worship ... the Plaza de Independencia, the largest of city's many grand square and public spaces. We always say that walking around the Centro Historico is like taking a little vacation in Europe. The people are lovely, and the atmosphere is relaxed and convivial.
Regularly called Mexico's safest city and the city with the best quality of life, Querataro is a boom town with the second highest per capita income in Mexico. Fortunately, the restrictions required to remain a UNESCO World Heritage Site restrict changes in the Centro Historico, so this lovely area is well protected from the "progress" growing around it.
When you go to a restaurant in Querataro, there is no English on the menu: this is where Mexicans go on vacation.
I love going there, too.
And now, back to work.