Hacienda San Gabriel de las Palmas–our luxury stop. We’d love to stay here forever and invite everyone. There would be plenty of room. But more of that later. There is the story of getting here.
Our first stop of the day was Cuernevaca, a charming little colonial city with a 6th Century cathedral (what else?) as a centerpiece. Famed also for its summer palace of one Senor Cortez. It’s mountainous country, semi-tropical. Not much of a drive once you got to the toll road, which was a bit of a chore. Our first wheel-to-wheel encounter with Mexico City traffic proved way slow. Old Hernando’s house, on the other hand,
proved impressive and pleasant. Lots of period furniture, sculpture, weaponry. This was Saturday afternoon, and the main plaza was packed with families–music, vendors, everything you’d expect. Lots of atmosphere. The birds were in the garden of the restaurant where we lunched.
Then onward to the Hacienda, which Scott had touted to us so highly. We missed the first turnoff (our fault), found our way back without too much trouble. Then the complications began.
When we took the exit, we found ourselves on a high road (toll) toward Taxco, tomorrow’s destination. Parallel to us was the free (libre) road. We could see the signs for the Hacienda, but had no way to get there from where we were. We turned around, thinking we might have missed a crossover. Found ourselves back on the freeway. Stopped at a gas station. Turns out we were trapped on the freeway. Had to drive a couple of kilometers to the toll plaza. Pay. Turn around. Pay going the other direction. We then found ourselves in exactly the same situation as before. Groundhog day. Presently, red lights and a loud speaker. The Spanish was way beyond us, but his anger was unmistakable. We caught “andale”. We were going too slow for the road, we thought. Pulled over thinking we’d get help. He just parked ahead of us, more rapid fire lecturing and arm waving. We started up. Finally he did pull us over and actually came to the window. Between our limited acquaintance with one another’s language, we gathered that we had to drive quite a ways farther to get to the libre road. it took some more asking directions (me? Yes.) Turned out we had to go back in the other direction on the libre road quite a ways to finally arrive at our haven. The whole operation took a couple of hours and cost us a little over $5 extra, but we came to this great place and no one threw us in the hoosegow.
Pictures below of this, another of Cortez’s 16th century getaways. Our room is one of the top three luxury accommodations we’ve ever had. Cotez used this place as a sugar cane plantation, then it became a monastery, now a family-owned hotel. Back in Cortez’s day, they did not use the Indios as slaves. They paid them–in seeds and corn. Then charged them for their rooms, clothes, food, etc. “I owe my soul to the company store.” Now, They do weddings. Know anyone seeking a destination wedding? This would be it. And we could provide excellent driving directions.