Saturday, May 21, 2005

Church of the Week, Real de Catorce

Real de Catorce
Originally uploaded by BillieS.
What the heck is "Church of the Week?" Well you will have to excuse me while I toot my own horn, but I was pleased.

I belong to flickr a photo sharing web site. On flickr you can share your pictures with family and friends, make sets (albums) of your photos and you can join groups such as "Mexicanos" "Houston, Texas" "Doors and Windows Project" "flowers" and "CHURCHES" among 100's of other subjects. After joining a group, you can put any of your photos that fit the criteria for that group into the group pool.

The churches group decided to choose a "church of the week" from the photographs that were added during the week and my picture of Real de Catorce was chosen for this week. I feel very honored because there are some very beautiful images in that pool.

Dragon Popovic wrote, "Well, this time I have a honour to choose this week's Church of the Week...not so easy knowing that with every new day we have more and more excellent photos in this pool (522)!
...and this week is B&W!
Dramatic, spooky atmosphere, chaotic surrounding, discrete sepia-tone and all this with a tiny touch of humour (!) made me to choose this winner:
Real de Catorce by BillieS"

His comments about spooky atmosphere, chaotic surroundings is right on about Real de Catorce. It is an old mining town near Matehuala. You reach it by a cobblestone road that climbs into the mountains and then through a narrow tunnel that was a part of the mine when it was operating. As soon as you emerge from the tunnel your car is swarmed by young boys wanting to be your guide, sell you something, or watch your car. It is unsettling. Many of the buildings in the town are in ruins and there is an erie feeling to the place. The town seems abandoned except for women and children.

There are two churches in the town. One right near the tunnel exit and the other even further up in the mountains. This image was of the second church. The first church had wooden floors and as we were in it, men came to clean the floors with Kerosene or some heavy petroleum product. The smell was strong and we wondered if the whole floor could go up in flames if someone dropped a lit match.

There seemed to be two places to stay in the little village. A newer place clinging to the hillside near the second church and a B&B in the "centro." The B&B also had a nice restaurant. We stayed at the newer place and ate dinner at the B&B. During the night the winds howled and we wondered if the little cabin hanging over the cliff could be blown away but it was so cold even though we were covered by several "horse blankets," as my husband called them, that we didn't get out of the bed to look at what was happening outside.

Real de Catorce is a strange, spooky and chaotic place but if you ever get a chance you should go there.


Dick Bidstrup said...

Amen, been there twice! Road to tunnel earlier was up the rio seco, then dirt trail, and now cobble.
The hotel was under construction 25 years ago, and the owner told me he yearned for peanut butter. When I returned years later, it was too late for the peanut butter, he had passed on.
What a view to the west!

BillieS said...

Hey, Dick, I don't run into a lot of people who have been to Real de Catorce. It has been 8 or 9 years since we have been there and everytime we are driving down to San Miguel and we pass the cut off to Real, I think about going again just to see if it has changed.

dick bidstrup said...

My last time was 5 years ago, and the preceeding 20 years had changed it much. The entrance street is lined with semi-permanent vender sheds, and passage of vehicles is now a tight fit. City folks visit on weekends, and have turned it into a tourist haved. The night cold hasn"t changed. 3 dog nights.