Las Puertas de Bucareli
Located about a 2 hours north of the city of Querétaro in Mexico is the small yet beautiful village of Pinal de Amoles. Situated in the Sierra Gorda that overlooks the valley below. As appealing as it was, it wasnt my destination, merely a hub to travel to the "la misión de Bucareli" an ex convent built in 1775 and situated on a majestic mountainous hillside. I had seen photos of the ex convent on the internet and its surroundings looks visually appealing. Getting there however was no mean feat. I arrived in Pinal de Amoles with a weighty camera bag and hefty tripod. I approached a local and asked him how I get to the ex convent, he advised I needed to walk through a canyon for approximately one hour (in the background of the photo) and then hitch a ride from a passing vehicle to the ex convent. Easy right? I was somewhat apprehensive, understandably. But I took his word and he offered me a lift in his car to the entrance to the canyon, where we parted and I commenced my walk. It was unpaved, isolated, lonely, mysterious yet beautiful at the same time...the sounds of nature flowed through the valley as I made my way in the sweltering heat. Approximately 1 hour later the canyon intersected with a dusty gravel road, as the gentleman I met earlier pointed out, and this I assumed is where I should hitch a ride. I hadn´t done so since my backpacking days in New Zealand where it was quite common practice. But hitching in Mexico is not advised, which put me on edge. I decided to go against the odds and wait for a passing vehicle, an indigenous lady passed by...bare foot and carrying a large bag of produce supported by a strap laden across her forehead. I began to follow her path along the gravel road in the hope I could find some form of transport to the ex convent, as 10 minutes had passed and there was no sight of a vehicle. Shortly after a vehicle passed me slowly, and stopped about 20 meters ahead of me, it was a black pick-up truck, I paused sceptical about what I should do, as I couldnt see who was inside because of the black tinted windows. It seemed like something from a Quentin Tarantino movie. Nobody got out of the pick-up truck and nothing was said and no hand gestures, it just sat there with its engine running for what seemed like an eternity, but was probably all of about 15 seconds. I slowly approached the vehicle and the driver, a middle aged man, lowered the window and asked where I was going, I told him and he told me to get it....I trusted my instinct and got in. We drove slowly down the dusty gravel road chatting, he tells me he is a baker and is doing some deliveries and asked if I minded that we stop off in a few places for him to deliver en route to the ex convent, no problem, i said. The trip took about 45 minutes to get the ex convent with a couple of stops en route, the scenery we passed along the way was breath taking. We finally arrived at another small village called Bucareli where the ex convent is located and he asked me how long I was going to be as he offered to take me back up to Pinal de Amoles. I asked for 1 hour, to which he agreed. It was around midday, hardly the best time to take a landscape photograph, so I surveyed the ex convent best I could which is when I found these open old wooden doors overlooking onto the canyon I had just travelled through. I took several shots inside and outside of the convent and met with the baker again about 1 hour later for the return trip to pinal de amoles. Upon arrival I offered him some money for taking me to the convent and back. He rejected my offer saying it was too much and suggested I pay him about 50 pesos (about GBP 2.50), he was adamant and wouldnt accept anymore. En fin, as one would say in Spanish, it was quite an experience and story to get this shot.