Monday, December 10, 2007

Monterrey: Mirador Obispado and Other Touristy Things

I woke up Saturday morning when the hotel’s cleaning services tried to enter my room. It was 10:30 am. All the early morning wakeups and late night work the past week preparing for our annual security audit from head office took its toll and I slept late for a change.
One of the places I have always wanted to visit on my trips to Monterrey is Mirador Obispado (the Bishop’s Lookout) and the nearby museum. Somehow I have always missed or never had the opportunity. Seeing that I am in Monterrey for the weekend, have a car to travel, today was the day I would visit the lookout point. After a good breakfast I setout on my exploration of Monterrey. Traffic was slow on the highway into town. Either it was because the Cultural Forum came to an end today (many people heading to Fundidora Parque or it is just normal for Monterrey that traffic was so bad. The usual 10-15 minute trip took 30 minutes.

Monterrey is a stretched out city, surrounded by mountain peaks. But close to the center of the city is a hill that provides one a 360 degree view of the city. The hill, the Cerro del Obispado, got its name from the building that was erected half way up the hill near the end of the 18th century, the Palacio del Obispado (the Bishop’s Palace.)

On top of the hill, from the lookout point, is a large esplanade and a massive Mexican flag, the biggest in Mexico. If you want to get great, clear and crispy vistas in Monterrey, you have to get up early in the morning, which of course I didn’t, because after about 10 am haziness set in, either because of the fine white dust that is everywhere or pollution. Therefore, the photos I took do not show the city at its best.

Afterwards I went down the hill to the museum. It is not a big museum and its permanent exhibition reflects the history of Monterrey. Saturday they also had a small special exhibition of the Mayan culture. From here I went to Fundidoro Park, the biggest public park in Monterrey. I visited an old steel factory, which is now the Science & Technology museum where I had lunch and just stroll around the big park.

The Cerro de la Silla (Saddle Hill, for obvious reasons) as seen from Cerro del Obispado. The haziness or pollution can clearly be seen. Just to the right of the road one can see the dome of the Palacio del Obispado.

Another view of the city and a clear view of the pollution. In the centre is the Puente de la Unidad, a bridge that spans the Santa Catarina River and that connects Monterrey with the adjacent city of San Pedro Garza Garcia. Below is a picture I took from for a better view of this contraversial bridge. See more about that here.

The massive Mexican flag at the top of Mirador Obispado.

Inside the Palacio del Obispado they had a small exhibtion of artifacts from the Mayan culture. Above is an ornimental plate and below is a figuring with some earrings on the right and large rings worn on the head.

Above: A figurine of a Mayan King

At Parque Fundidora, an old steel factory area, here is one of several large water features that is all part of the Paseo Santa Lucia, a canal that flow from the park to the center of the city.
The Paseo Santa Lucia.

If you don't want to stroll along the canal you can always take a boat ride on it.

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