The Fair Is In Town!

The annual Fair of Saltillo is in full swing!  It runs through August 5th, so if you’re in town, head out to the fairgrounds!  (On the road to Arteaga.)

Last year, the Tripps documented their experience at the fair.  Click on the video below to see the fair through their eyes.

 

If you liked that, subscribe to their youtube channel here!

Curious about the concerts?  Here’s the official poster!

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Mural Tour on Calle Bolivar

Last May, Colectivo Tomate took to the streets–well, one street in particular–and, quite literally, painted the town.  (OK, they painted the street.)  The effect is impressive, and one that Saltillo can enjoy for years to come.

Murals are one of Mexico’s more notable art forms.  The Mexican mural tradition dates back to prehispanic times, but had a notable resurgence in the 1930s, thanks to artists like Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siquieros.

Weaving Dinosaur
The ultimate Saltillo mural–a dinosaur making sarapes!

The Tomato Colective has been drawing attention to neighborhoods, making murals throughout the country, notably in Puebla, Mexico City, Querétaro, Monterrey, La Paz, and San Luis Potosí.  “It is a project based on the active participation of the community through the creation of murals that will be in their neighborhoods and, above all, on their houses.  This will create a connection between people:  it will tell the story of the neighborhood and, doing so, will result in a healthier society,” explained Liz Raschel, chief of public relations for the Tomato Colective to Zocalo reporter, Christian Garcia.

 

The Tomato Colective‘s artists planned and painted (with help from the community) 50 different murals, painted by 25 different artists.  Some artists are from Saltillo, some from other parts of Mexico, and some came from other countries.  (Scroll down for a list of the participating artists.)

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“The impact of the Tomato Colective‘s work is that all the neighborhood comes together and all the neighbors collaborate.  It’s not just having 50 random pieces of art.  These 50 murals reflect the history of these houses,” commented Mabel Garza, director of the Municipal Institute of Culture last year.  [Quote also from the Zocalo, May 2017.]

Not only do these murals reflect the history of the houses they’re painted on, but the artists worked closely with the families who donated the exteriors of their houses to this project, making sure that the finished products would be a source of pride for the families, the Águila de Oro neighborhood, and the larger community of Saltillo.

 

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Where to find the Águila de Oro Murals?

It’s on Calle Bolivar downtown.  Calle Bolivar dead ends at the parking lot for the Museo de los Aves.  It is often easiest to park on Calle Bravo (the next street parallel to Hidalgo), and then walk the four blocks to where the murals really start.  (There is one on a building near the Bird Museum.)

Towards the end of the Parade of Murals, some streets that cross Bolivar end in a set of stairs that will lead to the Mirador.  It’s a pretty intense hike, but if you’ve made it that far (and are in pretty good health), it’s worth finishing off the mural tour with the best view of Saltillo.

Still not sure how to get there?  Contact Jill Douglas at jilldouglas01@hotmail.com, and we can arrange a guided tour.

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Participating Artists:

 

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Downtown Tour–on Video!

For those who aren’t yet in Saltillo, and are looking to get a feel for the place, I’ve added this video from Hannah and Doren.  They’re missionaries affiliated with SALT church (on Eulalio Gutierrez, just north of HEB San Patricio, and services are informal and largely in English, for those interested).

Doren grew up here in Saltillo, and Hannah moved here last year, and this is one of their many videos showcasing what they enjoy about living in Saltillo.

This one gives us a brief walking tour of Saltillo’s colonial downtown area.

Thanks for sharing, Hannah and Doren!

 

If you enjoyed that, pass on some love and subscribe to their youtube channel!

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If anyone else has photos, videos, or written reflections they’d like to share here, send them to saltilloexpats@gmail.com or send Jill a message through the SaltilloExpats facebook group.

 

 

Government Palace Museum

 

During Spring Break, I took my visitors through the Sarape Museum, and they were still game for more museums.  (My favorite kind of visitors!)  We were hanging out in the Plaza de Armas, so I suggested that we wander through the Museum of Coahuila’s Government Palace, which is located in the back corner of the big, pink, state government building.

Now, for years, I assumed that the state building was off-limits for the public.  Then one day, I was at the Plaza de Armas with a friend and her preschooler had to use the bathroom.  She just waltzed past the security guards at the entrance and that kid was able to use a beautiful, clean, free, public toilet!047

So don´t shy away from entering the state government building on the Plaza de Armas.  The metal detectors and guards are a little intimidating, but it´s well worth a visit.  One reason for visiting is the Government Palace Museum, which occupies one corner.  Like most of Saltillo’s government-run museums, it´s tiny.  If one reads fast (or doesn’t have enough Spanish to read much), a visit can take 5-10 minutes.IMG_3819

However, if visitors do like to read, it´s a pleasant way to spend a small portion of an afternoon.

The first part of this tiny museum is a quick overview of Mexican history.  Colonialism to the modern day, all in about 5 minutes!

The second part of the museum seemed to go off on a tangent, singing the praises of
IMG_3821Coahuila’s governors.  After all, this is the building where the governors go to work everyday.  When they’re in their offices, of course.

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For those who have ever wondered who Perez Treviño and Nazario Ortiz Garza were–major streets are now named after these men–look no further.  This museum will clue us in.

The museum has a third gallery, housing rotating exhibits.  At the moment, there are a collection of photographs and some costumes celebrating matachines.  No festival in Coahuila is complete without a group of matachines, so it was an appropriate exhibit in the state government building.

 

 

However, that which makes a visit inside the state government building most worthwhile isn’t even in the museum.  On entering the government palace, look up, or go up a flight of stairs.  On the second story is a fantastic mural highlighting key events in history and a few of Coahuila’s most famous citizens.

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That mural will bring me back inside the government building.  That, and the free restrooms.  But I’ll swing through the museum before or after, so they’ll continue to keep the restrooms open to the public.

Merry Christmas from Saltillo!

Now that the Christmas decorations have been up in the Plaza de Armas for almost a month, I thought it was high time to head down and see them.

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I get a little giddy taking in the height of that tree.  This year, the government toned down the decorations (no nativity scene, and the trees were a good deal less flocked than usual), but the tree and the wreaths on the government palace were nicely done.  Even better, Santa was on duty, taking pictures at 4pm on this Thursday afternoon!  I´ll take that over flocked trees–in the desert–any day.

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Needing a few things for my own decorations, we headed past the cathedral to the Francisco I. Madero Plaza, home to Saltillo´s Christmas market.   It´s a small affair, but if you need a Christmas tree, wrapping paper, lights that play tinny music, nativity scene figurines (including Satan and cabrito  roasting over a fire), or crateloads of moss for that nativity scene, this is the place for you!

100_5452 100_5453 100_5454 ¡Feliz Navidad, amigos!  We´ll see you again in 2015!

Ecotianguis–Saltillo´s market for all things natural and locally-made

This last Saturday, I wandered my way over to the ecotianguis, or Saltillo´s market for all things locally-made and natural.  It´s been one of my guilt-free Saturday pleasures off and on for a few years, ever since they opened the market outside of Avemed.  Currently, it´s located in the Biblioparque Norte.  However, in December, they´ll move to a new (yet undisclosed) location.  And there, they´ll be open every day–not just Saturdays!  Just in time for holiday shopping.  😉

100_5375  The ecotianguis is tucked away behind the tennis courts and soccer fields at the Biblioparque Norte.  These temporary premises are constructed with used pallets, clueing us into the organic nature of this market.  The back side of the market has a few raised vegetable beds and a composting bin.  After their move, the ecotianguis will continue this garden at the Biblioparque Norte, in addition to other classes they offer at the park.

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Entering the ecotianguis on the right, brightly tableclothed makeshift tables and mismatched handpainted stools greeted us.  The food vendors occupy this corner.  About 6 seperate vendors offer quesadillas, tamales, corn, enchiladas, and a wide variety of drinks and desserts.

100_5352                 100_5347Chilango-style corn and piña colada cake?  I think I will!

Past the food vendors, the remaining tables offer a variety of gifts, jewelry, skin products, organic fertilizer, soaps and essential oils, cheese, honey, organic eggs, pecans, apple licqueur, agave syrup, chia seeds, and amaranth–a little something for everyone!

Since I was being obnoxious with my camera, I chatted up nearly every vendor last Saturday.  They were all invariably friendly, and a few didn´t hesitate to make sure we got the most of our experience, in both English and Spanish.  From the little I saw, they were a supportive community, ready to draw our attention to a spectacular product that a colleague sells.  Given small size of the market and the variety of the products sold, collaboration seems to be the name of the game, as opposed to competition.

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So this holiday season, if you´re looking for those “made in Mexico” gifts to take home to family and friends, why not go a step further and shop at the ecotianguis for some high-quality “made in Saltillo” gifts?  Your loved ones then receive a useful and well-made present, and the money you spent on it stays right here in Saltillo, strengthening our community.

    100_5369     These essential oils and a gorgous line of homeade soaps are made by a fellow expat and her saltillense husband.  Find them on facebook or at http://www.dreamlandnaturals.com.

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Fresh cheese from the town of General Cepeda–a mere half hour away and famous for its cheeses!

100_5364 Agave syrup (a great sweetener, particularly for diabetics, I´m told) and amaranth.  Next to them was a table touting superfoods!  Superfood Man distributes an information-packed booklet on the wonders of superfoods, along with selling bags of superfood mixes.  It looked like a great addition to granola, smoothies, etc.

100_5363 Gifts for your favorite Frida Kahlo fan.

100_5360   Homeade crafts

100_5359 Beautiful wooden puzzles with a sweet message inside.

100_5358 Refrigerator magnets with great sayings.  I may have to buy the one that says,”I don´t have the strength to give up!”

However, “Here lives a lovely lady and an old grouch” is pretty tempting, too.

100_5357 Natural bug repellant

100_5356 Homeade soaps listing the benefits of their ingredients.

100_5353 Apricot jam

   100_5351 The patio of the ecotianguis.  This space is used for a number of events, classes, and talks.  I´ve seen a drum circle here, and I believe they had introductory yoga classes here every so often.

Update:  The ecotianguis will sponsor a Christmas bazaar on December 6th, from 10am to 5pm.  If any crafters or those with goods to sell would like a table, the cost is $150.  Otherwise, join me shopping at the ecotianguis that Saturday!

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The ecotianguis is open every day from 10-5.  I believe they have more offerings on Saturday, but they do offer yoga and other classes during the week.

Click on this link to friend the ecotianguis on facebook.  That way you can be in the know about any programs they offer.

Where is it?

Abasolo #3335, corner with Montes de Oca (across the street from Colegio Cumbres)