Mexico – Chihuahua State – Hidalgo de Parral

Parral has been a silver mining town since the days of the Spanish Empire. I only stayed for one night so my impression is very superficial, but let’s just say that I was glad my stay was brief.

If you look at the Wikipedia page there are a few suggestions of things to do, but for me the best experience was the long drive across the rugged local terrain, virtually flat except for the odd rocky outcrop.

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Here’s a map of the town with the very few places I know on it.

It seems to be quite a traditional place with men in cowboy hats and Indian women in long dresses walking around.

Some vestiges of the original mining industry remain. Visitors will notice a hill in the centre of the town which was the location of the first mine, La Prieta. The winding gear and mine buildings can still be seen, alongside a statue of the town’s patron saint, San José. I didn’t have time to walk up there but the view must be panoramic.

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The centre of town is Plaza Guillermo Baca which is overlooked by the rather unnatractive Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

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I stayed at the Best Western on Ricardo Flores Magón, which is within walking distance of all the places above. It was okay (B-), and most likely the most modern hotel in town. It has a small outdoor pool on one of the higher floors.

I also ate in the hotel as there are only four restaurants listed on TripAdvisor, none of which I particularly fancied. The food (steak, rice, tortilla) was basic but fine (B-).

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A couple of Dos Equis (two Xs) lagers went down well (B).

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I did have one interesting experience going for lunch with the headmaster and Head of English from the local Mennonite school that I was working at. Unfortunately I have no record of what we ate or where (the restaurant was opposite the front of the bus station) as I was too busy chatting, but I did learn a little about the Mennonite contribution to Mexican cuisine. In particular they are famous for a semi-soft cheese called Queso Menonita. It’s also known as Queso Chihuahua because so many Mennonites live in the state. It’s similar in flavour to a mild cheddar or Monterey Jack.

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