Today we headed up the hill with plans to tour the remains of the copper mining operation that built Santa Rosalía. Unfortunately, the museum was closed so pretty much everything historical I tell you today will have been drawn straight out of Shawn & Heather’s book.
After breakfast we headed out to climb up the hill that led to the Hospital, the museum, and the Hotel Frances. We’d read and been told that they serve a great breakfast there and planned to eat there tomorrow. The hotel is supposed to be really cool inside. So, up the hill we climbed.
The first thing that struck us was how different this part of town looked from the downtown area that we walked around in yesterday. Downtown, there had been a lot of European-style architecture but lots of Mexican architecture thrown in as well. Up near the hospital area it was like we’d been transported to what we would expect French Guiana or Panama or maybe even parts of New Orleans to look like. Lots of wide verandas to provide shade during the summer heat.
We saw lots of this type of building in Galveston, Texas as well.
From down below, the building that houses the museum is pretty imposing.
This building was originally the administrative offices for the Compagnie du Boleo, the French mining company that owned and operated the copper mines in Santa Rosalia. The building is supposed to be very original inside but, unfortunately was not open today. No signs indicating when it would be open either so, we’ll keep checking back because we’d really like to take a look inside.
It was really disappointing that the muséo was closed because, what with all the mining remains around, we really wanted to get a better picture of what everything was. Like, what’s the deal with this:
It looks like a really long tunnel up to what we assume was the mine. The column up at the top might have been an air shaft for ventilation. Was ore sent down the tunnel in a slurry or by rail cars? Was the tunnel always covered and if so, why? And, if it was sent down by rail, why bother with the tunnel at all? And what did these doors under the administrative building lead to?
The building area that we assume was the foundry is undergoing renovation so we couldn’t tour it either.
We’ve been told that there are several restaurants in town, as well as the Mahatma Ghandi Library that have lots of historical photos of the town. We’re just going to have to go check them out and see if we can figure out what everything is and/or did.
Our second disappointment was when we walked over to the Hotel Frances.
This building was originally used to house the mine’s unmarried personnel. Presumably this was just the administrative staff as I doubt they were housing miners here. Anyway, it’s supposed to be beautiful inside and we were told by Toby as well as in the Cruising Guide that they serve a really nice breakfast. What a great way to get inside to look around. But, when we got there, it didn’t really even look open. We walked around a bit and then finally opened the front door and asked a lady in the dining room if they served breakfast on Sunday and at what time. She told me that they don’t serve breakfast or any other meals except to the hotel guests. Bummer. We also read that, for a small fee, they’ll let you walk through the hotel and look at the historical photos and such. Guess we’ll go back another time and see if that’s still being done. The little glimpse we got while asking about breakfast was really intriguing.
Eventually we headed back to the boat and got our stuff together to walk back into town for some groceries. There are no chain groceries here, just a few small grocery stores. The government subsidized ISSSTE store has a lot of dry goods but no produce or meat. The Abarrotes y Carnecería Delía has a good selection of pretty much everything. Oddly, we didn’t find Valentina’s hot sauce at either place. This stuff has been ubiquitous everywhere else we’ve been. Nor could Lulu find any Ramen, even though both stores carried the cup o’ noodles version. But, we found most everything that was on our list and, on the way home, stopped off at the Tecate drive-through and got beer and Topo-Chico seltzer water.
This afternoon we wandered up to the Marina office to have a couple beers and hang out at the “palapa of knowledge”. Pretty much every afternoon a bunch of the local boaters gather to play cards, have a few drinks and generally shoot the breeze. It was a very amiable time.
Now we’re all tucked in with bellies full of the last of the turkey stew. Had the little space heater running for awhile to warm things up a bit and we’re nice and cozy now. Tomorrow we’re going to try a couple of the local eateries and try to see some pictures of old Santa Rosalía while we’re at it.