A short walk along the river from our campsite is a grouping of maybe eight little cottages. They are very cute, all different colors and decorations, but all sharing the same basic structure. They look like a Spanish version of the Cotswolds. Well, sort of…
We had some nice sunrise/sunsets…
One day we took a nice walk with new friends and birding buddies Scott and Lena. Nice folks that I never got a picture of! (Whattsa matter with me?) We came across an abandoned house. That’s not unusual at all down here; they are everywhere. But this one I found very attractive… Interesting colors, nice stonework, and the way the house was built right into the trees. The doors were missing, so some of us invited ourselves inside… I’m guessing the reason for the abandonment was the river flooding the home, making it unfeasible to continue building. The ground floor has about 6 inches of sand/silt covering the floor. It would have been a fascinating home if ever completed.
We ran out of Pesos, and there is no bank in Mulege. We were told if we go to the next town north, Santa Rosalia, there are two banks in the heart of town that could change our dollars. We’d driven through Rosalia on our way down, but hadn’t spent any time there. So now was the time.
We found the banks, just as our instructions directed. I chose one, and found they had a fancy computerized ticket gadget to ensure your place in line. It asked questions in Spanish, and we speak very little Spanish. Especially banking terms. We guessed at the answers to a few questions, and were then rewarded with a ticket. It said CC017. There were a dozen folks waiting their turns, so I joined them. The electronic sign would say something like BB004 and a window number. They would get to CC015, making me think my time was about there, and then jump into SS numbers or something else. When after about 15 minutes of watching the show, I finally got summoned to a window, the gal there politely said no, they can’t change money here. I asked where I might go, and she looked pained, and finally wrote down Banco Azteca. And my time was over. We walked around town, looking for the Aztec’s bank, and finally asked a shopkeeper. She was very animated, showing us directions and assuring us it would be easy. Turn at the church, go up the hill, etc. We were able to follow the guidance given, and did find the place on the other side of town. We felt like we’d just finished the puzzles on an escape room, except we were trying to get in someplace, not out. Great fun!
With some fresh Pesos in our pockets, we explored a bit of the town.
The French basically built this town around a copper mining operation. There are old locomotives from the mining days on display all over.
The Mining Museum is located on the hillside, with a great view of the town.
Inside are rooms full of old office machines… quite interesting to see such old tabulating machines, many of which I could recognize, but some totally unknown.
A huge safe held ledgers from over a century ago. I think if you tried to remove one of the old books, it would turn to dust in your hand!
Back at our camp in time to catch more sky art.
Our friends Jeff and Marilyn had gone further south, while we elected to stay a while in Mulege. As they started back north, they invited us to meet them in Bahia Concepcion. This is a large bay with beautiful beach camping. Less than an hour’s drive south of us, we spent the day kayaking with them. Such a glorious area!
A little ways down the bay is a colorful bunch of buildings… I can’t really call it a village. The houses were mostly on this rocky cliff, but a little ways down was a beach they could enjoy.
As we headed out into the bay again, it looked like the weather was turning ominous.
A rain squall was definitely up ahead, but we hoped it would pass by and we’d miss getting rained on.
The squall ignored us, as we had ignored it… all was sunny again.
We chose a small island as a destination, and a great place to eat our lunches.
We landed on the beautiful secluded little island… I’m sure we were the first people to ever set foot on this remote island! [HA!]
It was a magically wonderful little island, and a great place to spend our lunchtime. We shared it with a few osprey, sitting on cactus, and a few gulls. We watched some of the gulls grab a bivalve shell, closed tightly to avoid being eaten, and take it for a ride in the air. They then drop it on the rocks, and fly down to see if it had broken. If not, it got another trip to the sky. After two or three flights, the shell would be broken, and the gull would have a treat.
The whole day was so beautiful I was glad I had taken the drone… and here are a couple of pictures of the area.
If you have 50 seconds to spare, you can watch this little video…
Back on the beach, we met Will, and his interesting Ambulance – turned – RV. Will and Tiff, (combined to make Wiff) lived for a while on boats, then converted this ambulance into their personal home on wheels. You can read about them and their adventures on Teamwiff.com.
Here’s the territory between Bahia Concepcion and Mulege:
A couple of days later, Jeff and Marilyn joined us in Mulege. We’d saved a few tourist things to do with them.
Touring the old cemetery was on the list. Some very ornate tombs, some very primitive. Some maintained nicely, some decayed almost to non-existence.
We had dinner in a very beautiful restaurant, and the food was very delicious too!
Another kayak adventure was to show Jeff & Marilyn the Blue-footed Boobies. Wouldn’t anyone like to see those?? Actually, any excuse to kayak on a pretty day is great.
I purposely did not take my real camera, because last week I had to sort through about 3,000 photos. Or at least it seemed like it. If you want to see the Blue-footed Boobies, you’ll have to check out the blog from last week.
We had seen the Mission from a distance, but were saving a closer inspection to do with our friends. We also had been told there was little chance of getting inside.
If you look carefully at the door in the picture above, you will see a bit broken out at the bottom. I took a picture through that hole, and was surprised at how well it turned out!
We then climbed to a lookout point a short ways from there, and had a nice view of the river, the town, and back to the Mission.
It looked like someone arrived at the front of the Mission, and then a small tour group arrived in a van. We were admitted, even though not part of their group.
A very small staircase led up and out of the church, and I was hoping to get up to the bell tower.
We weren’t disappointed! It led to the roof, and we could look up into the bell tower and into another large room.
Another find was this old pump organ. It made me think of my Grandmother, who always played a pump organ. When we were kids, my sister and I would get on the floor, and pump the foot pedals while Grandma played. This one seemed as old as the one we saw in our grandparents’ mission in Umuchi, on Lake Titicaca, Peru. That’s another story… you can hear it here, in the Uncommon Legacy video.
The old prison was known as “The Prison without Doors” because the terrain was so forbidding that there was no place to escape to! We thought we’d get in here – we’d been told to be there before 2pm… but it was closed on Saturdays. So we got in the Mission we didn’t expect to, and didn’t get in the old prison we thought we would. Adventures are unpredictable.
Back to Santa Rosalia
When it was time to leave Mulege, and head back up north, we decided to stop for more touring of Santa Rosalia. Specifically we had to check out the church. The Iglesia de Santa Barbara.
Yes, this is the church that we had driven past several times when looking for the Banco Azteca. I had forgotten that it is quite unique… it was designed by Gustave Eiffel, of Eiffel tower fame. He designed it and had it built for the 1889 Paris Eposition. It was then disassembled and plans were to have it reassembled in Africa. It was later found, unassembled, in Brussels, and purchased by a mining company which in 1897 had it rebuilt here in Santa Rosalia. It is made of metal, with arches and trusses that might be reminiscent of Eiffel’s more famous work. It is fun to think of such a well-travelled church!