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Veracruz. Gulf of Mexico

June 5, 2017

Veracruz 28th May

It’s not often a café is the major attraction of a city but here in Veracruz this happens to be the case. The Gran Café de La Parroquia has been operating since 1808. Situated at the beginning of the malecon or water front it serves between 2000 and 4000 coffee lovers a day. The main type of coffee served is lechero or coffee and milk. Super efficient waiters walk around with a kettle of coffee in one hand and a kettle of hot milk in the other. They pour the coffee into your glass then raise the milk kettle to a great height and top up your glass. Of course the milk froths as it is poured. The other tradition since the 1890s is if you want another glass you tap the side of the glass with a teaspoon and you keep on tapping until the waiter arrives. It was full when we were there with a short queue waiting. There have been copies of this original coffee house including one almost next door with almost the same sounding name but you can’t beat originality. The coffee was very nice and because you could extend the coffee pour, strong.
Veracruz is a major naval port and the other attraction visited was the Naval Museum. I know it doesn’t sound very exciting but is a place you can spend an absorbing 90 minutes there. It has just had a facelift and the exhibitions are very interesting especially the early sailing ships that plied the Gulf of Mexico.
Our hotel overlooks the main plaza but fortunately our room is at the back of the building otherwise it would be another case of earplugs. The plaza is the centre of activity for the city and resounds with mariachi music, clowns, acrobats and dance troupes. Children play and stall holders watch as the walkers pass them by. Veracruz is a national tourist town, full of visitors but not many from overseas.
Both Luke and I have been following the voyage of the Gluecksburg which has our bakkie sitting in a container on its deck ever since it left Cartagena. It firstly went to a couple of ports in northern Colombia then headed north to a port on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, west to Port au Prince in Haiti then east again to another port in the Dominican Republic before going on to Miami from where we expected it to head down to Veracruz. But no, it was back to the Dominican Republic once more then I noticed the next port of call was shown as Barranquilla in northern Colombia! A couple of urgent phone calls turned up the news that our container had been off loaded in the Domin. Republic and was now on a much smaller boat the Axion. The latest is it has entered Veracruz harbour today the 4th June. It has all been very frustrating.

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