Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Las Grutas de Garcia

Sunday before last was a day off. Whew! After breakfast, Alberto and I hopped in a cab to the Monterrey bus station, then took a bus to the town of Garcia, then a cab to the foot of the funicular, then the funicular itself up to Las Grutas de Garcia. I think the exact translation of "gruta" is "grotto," but this was much more than that, an enormous set of caverns inside the mountain. The caverns were discovered in 1843 and are over 60 million years old. They now have tour guides, stairs, lights, and paths that cover more than a mile inside, but it's not a cakewalk--I found myself out of breath a few times.

In looking at my pictures, I realize I didn't get any that show the scale. Mostly I was fascinated by the stalactites and stalagmites.

The shapes are incredible!
This one was called "The Hand of Death." It rose more than twice my height. [After I posted this, my sister commented to me that it looks like our hands. True! It also reminded me of the way my father and uncle would jokingly imitate a pair of very old men shaking hands--even when they themselves were getting up in years.]
Though this is labeled "El Gorila," the tour guide pointed out the striking resemblance to Homer Simpson.
Here I am in my Monterrey tee shirt just inside the caverns.
And here's Alberto, my intrepid tour manager and friend.
This is the view from the outside. In the lower right, you'll see the ticket counter for the funicular. It was also possible to walk up. It takes about an hour.

From the caverns, we went into the small town of Garcia for a delicious lunch on the town square. This is the church in that square.

Then back to Monterrey by bus. Happy-trip!

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