Friday, August 22, 2008

El Fuerte (The Fort)

(All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them)

We booked our adventure through Copper Canyon through There were a few hiccups along the way. According to scuttlebutt, the owner of Canyontravel apparently is in need of a new travel agent to handle the details, as the former agent is no longer with the company.

When we got on our AeroMexico plane, the pilots could not start the engines and we were transferred to another plane which caused a delay of one hour. Our flight from Mexico City was a little over 2 hours traveling northwest to the coast. The Los Mochis airport is very near the Gulf of California and is very visible on the approach to landing. At sea level, it is hot and humid. We get our luggage and put on our Canyontravel luggage tags on so we can be identified. But there was no one there to meet us. Another travel agent noticed us standing in the middle of the small airport with our luggage tags and made a phone call and 20 minutes later a driver showed up.
After 2½ hours, the 90 miles distance between Los Mochis and El Fuerte was covered and we arrived at our very rustic Rio Vista Hotel, hot and hungry from lack of breakfast. After quickly putting our luggage in our room, we were served lunch and the El Fuerte representative and owner of the hotel met with us.

We requested to be moved to a better hotel and he immediately moved our luggage and carried it down the hill to put us up at the Pasada del Hidelgo. Interesting, another couple came later in the day and requested to be moved from the Pasada del Hidelgo to the Rio Vista. But they were bird watchers from Oklahoma City. The Rio Vista provides a room balcony overlooking the El Fuerte River where all kinds of different birds can be seen. So we were all happy with our lodging.

August is not tourist season in Mexico. It rains almost every day, usually in the late afternoon or evening. The hotel has an open court and I took this photo during a 45 minute hard rain storm. The hotel had few clients so the kitchen was closed. We walked a short distance to a good Mexican restaurant for all our meals.
The hotel lounge area is filled with interesting art objects and antiques.
Upon closer look at the stove, I saw this
For those in the know, Marion Indiana has had an everlasting effect on me and my children. There are many good memories for sure, but I am sure we all are happy to be living elsewhere now.

El Fuerte is a sleepy town of about 45,000 people, lots of chickens and a few burros. The people are friendly and you can shop without being harassed. The town was founded in 1564 by Conquistador don Francisco de Ibarra and was eventually named after the fort built by the Spaniards to protect against attacks by the local Indians. A replica of the fort was built and houses the Museo de El Fuerte. The fort’s ramparts overlook the river and the valley. The town was an outpost on the Camino Real from which the Spanish explored the area now part of California, New Mexico, and Arizona. For centuries it was a major trading post for gold and silver miners. Colonial mansions and cobblestone streets can be seen around the center of town.
Outside the fort, the catholic church is visible which stands opposite the Zocalo and the main city government building.
This is the courtyard and fountain inside the exterior of the city building. We were informed that there are 365 doorways in the complex, one for each day of the year.
We take a river cruise in a big row boat with the bird watchers and they get really excited to see the variety of birds. The guide stops the boat on the river bank and we walk about ¼ mile to see the Cerro de la Mascara, an archaeological site where rock paintings and petroglyphs are visible. I have decided that photos of petroglyphs are not very interesting after seeing a few, so I won’t show them.

After second night, we are taken about 3 miles outside of town early in the morning to the railroad station to get on the Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacifico. The train from Los Mochis is late by an hour but we get on with our luggage and start off towards the Sierra Madre Mountains and Copper Canyon.


GETkristiLOVE said...

OMG, I can't believe the Marion connection!

But what is up with that shirt?!

Dad E said...

OK, so the shirt has seen many moons. But its cotton and good to wear in hot weather.