Guanajuato y Ashland

One of the beautiful homes one finds in Ashland, Oregon

Ashland, Oregon’s sister city is Guanajuato, in Guanajuato state in Mexico. They are the reason I have Pedro in my life – thank goodness for that! The sister city relationship became formal in 1969. It’s the connections between these two cities that brought him to Oregon (and one of his older brothers, too). Each city has named a street after the other. Along possibly the most bustling part of Ashland is Calle Guanajuato (Guanajuato Street), which is across the creek from Calle Guanajuato Park. But let me back up just a little and set the scene.

Walking the streets of Ashland is a feast for the eyes.
I’m trying to show the mountains around the city, from downtown. It’s so pretty here.
The 1925 historic Ashland Springs Hotel

For the Shakespeare Festival we stayed at an Airbnb close to downtown so we didn’t have to drive anywhere for three days. Our hostess told us how to get downtown by following High Street without walking along the busy main street. We enjoyed not only the beautiful homes and quiet neighborhoods, but also the deer everywhere. I like them better when they are eating someone else’s garden.

High Street ends at a tile mosaic at the top of some stairs. Now, our hostess only said it’s a quiet way to get to town, no other details. We were delighted to find the mosaic and the stairs, but still did not know where we were.

At the bottom of the stairs was a trail along a creek that we followed, then we spotted a bridge, and across the bridge: Calle Guanajuato!! High Street had taken us right to the park and the street we wanted.

Bridge from Calle Guanajuato Park to Calle Guanajuato

Along this street are restaurants and shops mostly catering to tourists, so they are bright and bustling with lots of outside kiosks selling wares or tables and chairs with umbrellas. There was only one thing on my mind: the mural. Guanajuato artist Loreta designed and oversaw the painting of a fabulous mural of Pedro’s home city. We had heard about it but had not seen it yet.

Blobs of sunlight tease us with what magnificence might be here, behind the umbrellas.

We found the mural. The light was terrible for photographs. People were everywhere, seated beside the wall, seated away from the wall under colourful umbrellas that blocked our view, waiters were hustling back and forth, balancing trays above the heads of people, children and dogs were running in circles and squealing with delight. It was a warm, golden evening and the chaos seemed to fit perfectly, though it was hard to see the mural. Despite that, Pedro lit up as he pointed to the university, to churches, to plazas, to streets, telling me the story of each one, naming it, telling me it’s close to one of his brothers’ houses, or close to his own childhood home. We had SO much fun, getting in the way of diners, pointing over their heads and laughing.

After all that activity, we needed to relax with a beer, and the mural wall behind Pedro.

My goal after that was to come back under different conditions to try to get a better shot of the wall, and the mural named “Las Calles de Guanajuato” (The Streets of Guanajuato).

Better light, for sure, but still not ideal.

The colours are not an exaggeration. If you are interested and look up the city online, every photo will show you how extraordinary it is. Guanajuato is also a tourist city, like Ashland, and its beauty is part of its identity. Pedro explained that the city will buy the paint for anyone who is able to re-paint their house, and in this way the colour is encouraged. In the mural you can see the mountains behind, and that is also factual. It’s a mountainous city with steep streets that turn into creeks when there is a heavy rain.

My plan was to hit this spot early in the morning, on our way out of town. I was hoping that the angle of the sun combined with the restaurants being closed – and thus umbrellas down – would help. Pedro agreed. Then, walking home from The Tempest one night, at about 10:30 pm, he suggested we cut through Lithia Park and swing over there and walk past the mural on the way home.

The whole mural, without obstructions, finally.
How beautiful it is.

His suggestion was serendipitous. It provided us exactly the view we wanted, with strings of lights added to make it magical, and to match the moon and stars painted above the hills of the city.

He’s happy that it worked out!

17 thoughts on “Guanajuato y Ashland

    1. It turns out to be such a good connection: both cities emphasize the arts, and theatre in particular, both cities in the mountains, both cities are beautiful tourist destinations, both cities host universities. Thank you for the compliment on my night photo! 🙂

  1. What a great post! Sharing pictures of Ashland & Pedro’s home town! We enjoy Ashland & the Shakespeare Festival too, but we haven’t been in recent years! Time for another trip – with Jiggie of course! David

    Sent from my iPad


  2. I don’t remember the mural, Crystal. I wonder if it’s recent or if we simply missed it in our wandering around Ashland. Fun story, however, of how Pedro came to be living in Oregon.

    We’ve been in Bellingham this week and had a delightful 4 hour lunch with Alison and Don from the blog Adventures in Wonderland yesterday just across the BC border. We also visited with four other friends (2 couples) that live in the area. Tomorrow and Sunday we will be visiting with our niece in Olympia and then making our way down to your neck of the woods!

    We are thinking about spending a week in Fort Stevens SP just outside of Astoria. If there is any chance of getting together with you or you and Pedro, on Saturday the 29th we will stay until Sunday. Sorry about the late notice. It has something to do with our not knowing where we will be any more than a week in advance. Grin. –Curt

    1. Hey Curt! You guys should definitely come for a visit – ha haha! It was lovely to see you both. Thank you so much for making time to visit and share some of your adventure with you. I love you both. ❤

    2. Oh also, the mural was completed in 2016, so if you missed the news, you might not have known it was there. I only found out by accident too, when I wrote about the sister cities recently, and another blogger who lives in Ashland told me about the murals in both cities.

      1. Thanks, Crystal. We did miss it, for sure. I always admire and appreciate murals when I see them. I think that they make great additions to towns.
        BTW, I put up out Halloween post today and also featured our blogging friends. 🙂 Thanks for your post. Appreciated. Our visit was wonderful. Give Racecar a scratch for us. No need to feel badly about our RV parking experience. It was good practice. Grin. –Curt

      2. I saw the Halloween post and tried to comment, but I only had my phone on me all week and it didn’t know who I was because I never use my phone to read blogs. I’ll be able to comment properly today. ❤

    1. Yes, with persistence we finally got a chance to see it without all the distractions. Such a beautiful wall. I am looking forward to seeing the Ashland mural someday when we go to Guanajuato. 🙂 I do appreciate this very small way I could learn a little more about Pedro’s hometown, and hear a few more stories.

  3. ♫ Caminando por la calle, yo te vi… ♪ This is just perfect, all of it, that you went there, found it so beautiful, returned to take a better photo, that you have Pedro and he has you due to this twinning of the two cities (we have twin cities in Europe, even though sister cities sounds even better), that you took the perfect photo of Pedro relaxing with the beer, but one thing blew me away the most – all those deer! 😮 Your sentence made me think how relative everything is: “I like them better when they are eating someone else’s garden.” Ha!

    1. The deer! Ha ha, yes they are all over Ashland. It was pretty funny after a while. Deer even in the roads, and drivers irritatedly honking at them to get them to move, no one realizing how remarkable it was because they were just so used to it. And yes, I have deer at my house every morning and every evening, and to me they are a cute enemy that is always trying to eat my gardens – and usually succeeding. I love how the sister cities are the reason Pedro came to Oregon – first his brother came to Ashland and had a very successful experience with an exchange program between the two universities in the sister cities, and then Pedro’s ex-wife did the same exchange program only coming from Ashland, and so she was a fellow student while Pedro was at the University of Guanajuato. That’s how he met his first Oregonian and followed her home. 🙂

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