How to Fall in Love with Querétaro (4 Simple Steps!)
- Make friends with the locals. My first day here, I struck up a conversation with a muchacho playing his guitarra in the hostel. “¿Cuántos años llevas de tocar?” I asked. “How long have you been playing?” We started talking, musician to musician, and Ricardo told me about the music scene here in the city. But music isn’t the only good conversation starter – you can start with where you’re from. Chances are, they’ll have questions about what your home is like, and comparing/contrasting daily life aquí y allá is always fun and can be a topic that lasts for hours of surprise and laughter.
- Find your tertulio A tertulio is a gathering of friends over coffee, food, or drinks. It’s a simple concept – sharing stories, jokes, and just being together with the people you care about. Of course, the people you share it with make the tertulio, but location is also key. Find a spot that speaks to you, whether it be a café, bar, or park, and get to know it, the staff, and the menu well. Be sure to explore other areas of the city, but find a home base that you can always count on.
- Get a little lost. A few weekends ago, I made the mistake of buying the wrong return tickets for a trip away in the neighboring city of Guanajuato. After getting booted from the bus, myself and a friend found ourselves without a way home or a plan. However, we realized we had something better: an entire day and a gorgeous city to explore. We figured it out as we went, and ultimately, it was una bendición that I couldn’t read military time.
- Humbly become part of the family. Host families are eager to welcome students into their homes and integrate them into the family’s daily activities. It’s humbling to be so kindly welcomed into a stranger’s home – to be served, feed, and taken care of in every respect. And it can be slightly intimidating to embrace a new routine, however, try to say “yes” whenever possible. When your mamá says, “¿Me acompañarías a la tienda?” say “yes” and walk to the store with her. When the family invites you to their father’s brother’s friend’s birthday party, tag along. When they ask you to sing karoke at said party, grab the mic and sing along, even though you don’t know the words. You won’t regret it.
Follow these four steps and I can guarantee your experience in Querétaro, or any city you chose to visit, will be totalmente inolvidable. Completely unforgettable. Trust me.