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A night view of Taxco’s Zocalo (city plaza) and its beautiful Templo de Santa Prisca.

Allow me to take you from Southeast Asia to the beautiful country of Mexico. In July of this year I traveled back to Mexico City and explored new cities such as Puebla, Taxco, Cuernavaca and Tepoztlan.

Taxco ("tass-ko") de Alarcón is considered Mexico’s silver Mecca. It is a beautiful Spanish colonial town at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Since the town is located on a steep hillside the locals use Volkswagen Beetle (Bug) taxis to navigate the steep streets. They constantly roam the streets in a single file as if they were on an assembly line. You never have to wait more than a couple of seconds to flag down a taxi.

In the afternoon I wandered around the labyrinth of steep streets looking to photograph the town’s zocalo from a high vantage point. I found this very narrow street and returned in the evening for the “blue hour.”

It was a tight squeeze to setup my tripod along the very narrow street without being road kill as Volkswagen bug taxis were speeding behind me. If that was not enough concern, it started to rain and I was getting nauseated from ingesting all the car fumes.

I wanted to pack up my gear and leave, but I was waiting for the floodlights to illuminate the church. I finally asked a local about the lights and he said they only turn them on over the weekend. I took this last frame you see here before it started to really downpour. I packed up my gear, strapped on my photo backpack and headed downhill back to the plaza.

Here is a really important travel tip if you ever visit Taxco: Do not walk in the rain on a wet and slippery cobblestone street that has a steep decline.

As you can imagine, I lost my footing and was going to land on my back, but as any good photographer would do I protected my gear! With cat like reflexes, I quickly turned my upper torso and landed on my chest as if I was going to do a pushup (the locals were probably thinking who is this crazy foreigner doing pushups in the rain).

With a bruised wrist and ego, I quickly gathered myself up and ducked into the nearest bar to grab a beer.

Photography is not only an expensive habit; it can be dangerous to your health.

Happy Travels!

One more photo in the comment section.

All Rights Reserved. Photos and Text ©Sam Antonio Photography 2014

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Tags:   Taxco Mexico Zocalo Night Sam Antonio Photography North America Latin America Blue Hour Travel Photography Travel Destinations Travel Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon 17-40 Lens Traffic Light Trails Light Streaks america building hill cathedral housing town latin white view mexican day neighborhood landmark attraction panoramic old village historic church architecture city scenics country house sky vintage central america colonial santa prisca church cityscape outdoor santa prisca prisca guerrero lookout viewpoint parish alarcon heritage temple scape mountain ancient shrine landscape Alarcón

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Three of Taxco’s famous attractions: The Zocalo, Templo de Santa Prisca and a Volkswagen Bug taxi.

Taxco ("tass-ko") de Alarcón is considered Mexico’s silver Mecca. It is a beautiful Spanish colonial town at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Once an abundant silver mining town, it now thrives on its silver craft and tourism. It makes for a popular day trip from Mexico City, as it is located only 100 miles southwest from the capitol.

Taxco is a great walking town; that is if you don’t mind getting a workout from the steep, cobblestone streets. Taxco is perched on a sloping hillside 5,000 feet above sea level and the steep, cobbled, narrow and winding streets makes it a perfect fit for the compact Volkswagen Beetle (Bug). It is the only town in Mexico that still retains this classic car as a primary source of public transportation. With its rear wheel drive (the wheels do not spin on the slick cobblestone streets) and air-cooled engine, it is the perfect car to navigate the steep hills of Taxco.

The taxi driver’s modify these classic cars by removing the front passenger seat. This allows paying passengers to enter and disembark with ease. Also, the space serves as a “trunk” for luggage and shopping items. One handy modification is that they attach a rope to the passenger side door to close it once the passenger enters or exits the vehicle.

You have not experienced Taxco until you have taken a ride in a classic VW Bug taxi!

Happy Travels!

One more photo in the comment section.

All Rights Reserved. Photos and Text ©Sam Antonio Photography 2014

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Tags:   Taxco Mexico Blue Hour Sam Antonio Traffic Volkswagen VW Bug Beetle German Tilt Blue Cathedral Catholic Church Transportation Canon 5D Mark II america travel building hill housing town latin white view mexican day neighborhood landmark attraction panoramic old village historic church latin america architecture city scenics sky house country vintage colonial central america santa prisca church guerrero. silver cityscape santa prisca prisca lookout viewpoint dome parish churrigueresque Alarcón Taxco de Alarcón Silver

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Taxco de Alarcón is considered Mexico’s silver Mecca. It is a beautiful Spanish colonial town at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Since the town is located on a steep hillside the locals use a combination of Volkswagen Beetle (Bug) taxis and shared mini-vans called colectivos to navigate the steep streets. They constantly roam the streets in a single file as if they were on an assembly line. You never have to wait more than a couple of seconds to flag down public transportation. On the other hand, if you have a room located near the street (like I did) the constant sound of humming Volkswagen engines may keep you awake (bring earplugs).

This is a shot I took of Taxco’s traffic at night from my hotel terrace on Plazuela de San Juan with my camera hanging precariously over the edge. I love living dangerously!

Happy Travels!

One more photo in the comment section.

All Rights Reserved. Photos and Text ©Sam Antonio Photography 2014

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Tags:   Taxco Mexico Traffic Light Streaks Alarcón Taxco de Alarcón Holiday Car Volkswagen Beetle Bug Transportation transport Public Transportation Sam Antonio Photography Adventure Night mexican road north america street brick stone cars travel illuminated landmark darkness architectural aqueduct history old evening tourist attraction dusk twilight dark automobile historic famous architecture tourism north american streak structure lights Roundabout Traffic Circle light move trail headlight urban line lane route highway glow exposure beltway vehicle building abstract busy luminous merge drive speed motion long blur trip movement fast Canon 5D Mark II

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“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.” - Vincent Van Gogh

After a couple of days of wandering up and down the steep streets of Taxco and burning up my quadriceps it was time to move on, hopefully to a city with a flat street layout. Consulting my Lonely Planet guidebook, Cuernavaca (kwehr-nah-vah-kah), the capital of Morelos state and just 80km (50 miles) by bus, seem to fit the bill.

Cuernavaca is where Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés called home while “residing” in Mexico and built his enormous palace-fortress (now the Museo de Cuauhnáhuac) that now occupies the city zocalo (plaza).

The Aztecs called the city Cuauhnahuac (“place by the woods”) and the Spaniards changed the name to Cuernavaca (“cow horn”) because they had a hard time pronouncing Cuauhnahuac. Wouldn’t you?

I stayed in a hotel that was conveniently located in the city center. On one end the street, just minutes away, was the Palace of Cortés and on the opposite end was the enormous compound of the city cathedral. Those two opposite ends also display the diversity of Cuernavaca’s vibrant nightlife.

The area toward the Palace of Cortés is geared toward a 20-something, university crowd. On the opposite end near the cathedral are the older, well-heeled tourists who are more content to sit at an outdoor café and watch the world go by. As I walked out of my hotel I was caught up in a travel quandary. My demographic put me somewhere in between, but my photography settled the issue as I decided to make a blue hour shot of the cathedral.

So I walked out of my hotel and five minutes later I was setting up my tripod in front of the cathedral when I noticed these street performers performing a fire dance. Locals and tourists alike were enjoying life as they were happily engaged in having a great meal, drinks and conversation. Cuernavaca really comes alive at night!

I am beginning to think the Spanish changed the city name from Cuauhnahuac to Cuernavaca over having one too many drinks!

Happy Travels!

One more photo in the comment section.

All Rights Reserved. Photos and Text ©Sam Antonio Photography 2014

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Tags:   Cuernavaca Mexico Fire Night Nightlife Night Photography Sam Antonio Photography Blurred Motion Blur Motion Dangerous Canon EOS 5D Mark II Twirl Hot Crazy Travel Photography Travel Destinations Mexico Travel Mexico Photography Mexican Culture Mexican Vacation outdoor tower historical america mexico city latin landmark south history castle palace outside old building fortress front unesco heritage architecture spanish city ancient colonial cortes monument morelos facade dancer show torch human trails adventure model flaming vibrant challenge life culture circle spin dance fire-show confidence performer energy entertainment

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The city of Cuernavaca (kwehr-nah-vah-kah), the capital of Morelos state, is where Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés called home while “residing” in Mexico and built his enormous palace-fortress (now the Museo de Cuauhnáhuac) that now occupies the city zocalo (plaza).

The Aztecs called the city Cuauhnáhuac (“place by the woods”) and the Spaniards changed the name to Cuernavaca (“cow horn”) because they had a hard time pronouncing Cuauhnáhuac.

One evening I decided to photograph the city cathedral, but I encountered a big problem. That big problem turned out to be an enormous tour bus parked on the street blocking my view. I waited patiently for the bus to move as precious seconds ticked away, all the while the gorgeous light of the blue hour was quickly fading. Fortunately, the bus did move while there was still some decent light and in one frame I was able to make this creative composition.

Cuernavaca’s cathedral is enclosed in a high-walled compound and construction began on one of the first structures in the early 16th century. Talk about going back to the future!

Happy Travels!

One more photo in the comment section.

All Rights Reserved. Photos and Text ©Sam Antonio Photography 2014

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Tags:   Cuernavaca Mexico Night Light Trails Light Streaks Cathedral Catholic Church Cityscape Travel Photography Travel Destinations Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon 17-40 Lens Blue Hour Traffic Mexico Travel tower third america travel old town mexican central touristic st old dome historic front church centro heritage latin america architecture tourism st francis steeple colonial morelos downtown square historical latin third order chapel order landmark culture worship building world city temple catholic francis religion facade Bus Sam Antonio world heritage unesco shrine


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