Sanctuary

The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Puerto Vallarta

There is something about this photograph that summons up the feeling I get when I am inside a church. Sometimes I enjoy going to a service but mostly I like the silence of an almost empty sanctuary. On this hot day in Puerto Vallarta, it truly was refuge from the busy resort. The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe is not a cathedral although it is often called such. Perhaps it is because of the beautiful baroque crown that is said to be a replica of Empress Carlota of Mexico’s crown.

Baroque Crown

I was utterly fascinated by Empress Carlota whose existence was unknown to me. Napoleon wanted a figurehead for Mexico – Archduke Maximilian of Austria. Emperor Maximilian married Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium) in Mexico City 1864. This is a link to the Wikipedia page about the Empress which is an almost fantastical tale of the brief influence of France on Mexico.

church side door

Mexico has held me fascinated since I discovered that many generations of my Ortega family lived in various states of Mexico. Until recently I didn’t think I had any connection to the state of Jalisco (in which Puerto Vallarta is) until I found an ancestor on Familysearch, Felipe de Jesús Quintero Rosas who was born in Poncitlàn in the late 1600s. Don’t Spanish names sound so romantic? I now regret my haste to get rid of mine when I married. I so longed for an ordinary Scottish name so I could blend in. Only as you mature, do you realize how important your uniqueness is.

When I moved back to the USA over a decade ago, I was slightly surprised that there were so many Spanish speaking Protestant/Evangelical churches in Texas. Somehow I thought they would all be Roman Catholic. This car in Puerto Vallarta amused me…😇

EVANGELISTS!

Hello Sailor!

Mexican Naval Eye Candy

Well, I have met some handsome naval guys during my life but this gorgeous specimen took my breath away caught my eye. Can you hear the low cougar purr as I admired this young cub? He was standing outside the Naval Museum in Puerto Vallarta to draw in cougars, kittens and the large gay population of the town. Well, I assume that… Just like my mum would, I went straight up to him and starting talking to him. My mum, who had a thing for Hispanic men, would have fainted. He was charming, articulate with perfect English. He told me all about the museum but I wasn’t really listening.

Eventually, I did go into the Museo Histórico Naval de Puerto Vallarta (The Naval Museum) and what a revelation it was. It was small but beautifully created. The naval history of Mexico was quite fascinating from Conquistadors to current life. All the staff was enlisted naval personnel and it struck me that this was an excellent job in an area that had limited opportunities for young people. It was situated right on the promenade so you couldn’t miss it.

Stained glass ship

The piece de resistance was this amazing stained glass artifact in the coffee shop. What I couldn’t photograph was the light display on the ceiling which was a constellation. Wow! The coffee was also the best I had tasted in Puerto Vallarta. I was curious as to why it wasn’t busier but not all the naval staff had much English. How hard is it to ask for “Un cafe latte, por favor?” It amazes me that English speaking tourists travel all over the world without even a phrase book. On occasion I have had to resort to clucking like a chicken in restaurants but at least I try…🐔

As I sat in this beautiful coffee shop, looking at the sea, I pondered my Mexican ancestors and hoped that they were proud that their ‘grand-daughter’ was determined to visit one of my homelands and understand how amazing they were.  I also realized how lucky I was to have the ability to travel the world.