Friday, May 25, 2012

Hacienda Las Trancas

Now, as I think of the word escape, it is synonymous with silence: a pleasure we have not experienced in more than four years.  Silence.  What does it sound like?  Will we ever hear it again?

And I'm the one who gets away from it all every day at the office.

Three children born to us since April 2008.  Each day is filled with joyous activities, repeated continuously in no particular order until the last squirms and twists of rebellion against sleep have been put down: asking, bleeding, bouncing, cooing, crying, falling, fighting, giggling, grabbing, jumping, laughing, peeing, playing, poohing, running, scraping, screaming, smiling, sniffling, throwing, vomiting, whining, and yelling.  Despite what you may think, that list does not describe my behavior throughout each grueling day.

My use of these gerunds represents nothing new in the endless story of human parenting.  I present them here more as a marker of my development as a father.  To remind myself, perhaps years into the future, that these things occurred, we survived, and maybe I should feel a degree of shame for having given them such prominence in these early drawings of my children's lives.  If there exists a fatherhood ranking I might fall toward the lower end.  As an older daddy I surprise myself with shamefully depleted reserves of patience.

There is something uniquely maddening in the perfect storm of three young children, babies two of them, desperately needing your services at precisely the same moment.  A stubbed toe, a pacifier out of reach, and the failure to read "Goodnight Moon" just one more time, converge to ignite a conflagration of wailing desperation.  One imagines Swiss watchmakers slapping each other on the back, somewhere out there in the genetic ether where conception occurs.  "Good show, old boy!  Not a second too late!"

You will notice that I left one word off my list: griping.  That is reserved for me.  I do it and I do it well.  And now that I've had my blessed moment of whinging, I'll continue with more pleasant musings.  And, I'll say that moments such as these to follow make every excruciatingly wearisome second more than worth it.  And then some.

We took a trip.  We packed our children and our suitcases onto a bus with a tour group, and we left the city.   Hacienda Las Trancas rests in the State of Guanajuato approximately 350km northwest of the Mexican capital.

The unobtrusive entrance to this resort belies an austere, dusty, uneventful interior one would feel compelled to ignore entirely if another destination lay just beyond.  The rectangular, two-story adobe building blends seamlessly with the surrounding hardpack and cobble stoned drive.  Across a fence lies a soccer pitch devoid of grass, but well-trampled through constant use by local adolescents.  A few trees sway gently in the breeze, their leaves brushing tenderly against the nearly 500-year old structure.  The top branches of a majestic Indian Laurel peer out from above the walls, providing a glimpse of the lushness hidden within.  Enter the door, pass into the central courtyard and you are transported instantly to the artistic maturity, luxury, and wealth of Spanish Mexico.

Attention to detail within our quarters left us speechless, wandering about bumping into relics of the colonial period seemingly still warm from the touch of long-dead colonels, pastors, and silver miners.

As I staggered through history, unsure of where to rest our bags, a few of our traveling companions announced the arrival of refreshments.  Hacienda staff had prepared pitchers of margaritas and a platter of fresh guacamole with home-baked tortilla chips.  The journey from Mexico City had taken nearly 6 hours on an old, smelly bus.  Yet the simplest of gestures from our hosts, a cold drink and a bite to eat, erased our fatigue immediately.


Construction on what at the time was to be a fort, or presidio, to guard and house the silver caravans moving through Mexico to Veracruz, began in 1567 with a commission of land and troops from King Philip II to Diego Martin.  It became a hacienda officially in 1709 and was a part of Father Miguel Hidalgo's parish at the turn of the 19th Century.  At the height of its wealth it encompassed more than one million acres.

We were unable to explore all that acreage, but we did our level best to seek beauty, excitement, and relaxation in the various nooks and crannies within the compound.  The resort provides three meals a day and the dining room is straight out of "Viva Zapata!"  Pancho Villa ate here during the war of Dolores Hidalgo.  He spared the hacienda from destruction after it opened its doors to him and his men and that's a very good thing because the home cooked meals of local fare were top notch.

All good things must pass.  Our time at Las Trancas ended far too quickly.  But, yet again we had discovered something new to us in Mexico.  And with it came a little escape from the stresses and fatigue of city life.


  1. Great post. Glorious place. Lucky man

    1. Thank you, sir. What happened to your blog? I can't access it anymore. Did you change the link? Can you resend to me?

  2. Nice work, bruv. I keep my fingers crossed for Merida 2015, but before that we gotta stop by your digs in Chinatown!


  3. I enjoyed it too. I can empathize on chaos and craziness of raising littles. What a beautiful getaway!!!