When in Guanajuato...

The kiss that makes eternal love

by Monica Belen

In 1747, Guanajuato, Mexico, in a prominent Spanish family, Carmen the precious and only daughter of the wealthy Spanish merchant had been betrothed to an old nobleman in Spain.  During a Sunday visit to the church, she meets Carlos, an attractive young miner who worked in the La Valenciana mine. They fell in love; they secretly saw each other in church. The father discovers them, and threatens to kill the young man. Carmen is locked in her room; her only contact with the outside world was a balcony that overlooked a narrow 69 cm wide alley, and her faithful companion Doña Brígida. Carlos, desperate to see his beloved for a high price and in exchange for silver from the mine, buys the house that has the balcony that adjoins Carmen's bedroom. Every night they see each other, touch, and kiss each other on the balconies. Until one day, Carmen's violent father discovers them and in a fit of anger stabs her; she falls dead in Carlos's arms across the balcony; he kisses her sweetly while her blood reaches the third step of the alley. The father returned to Spain, and Carlos, dejected by pain, committed suicide by throwing himself to the bottom of the mine where he worked.

This story was told by Doña Brígida, the lady-in-waiting of the beautiful Carmen. This fact passed from generation to generation until it became one of the most famous legends of Mexico. "El Callejón del Beso," as this narrow passage is known, is one of the most visited destinations in the beautiful state of Guanajuato. It  occupies a predominant place in the history of Mexico since the independence movement from Spain in 1810-1821 and The Mexican Revolution in 1910.

To this day, it is also famous for housing hundreds of narrow orange and yellow streets that keep legends of all kinds inside - a museum where you can find the famous Guanajuato Mummies, bodies of hundreds of years mummified naturally in perfect conservation, the birthplace of the famous painter Diego Rivera who was born on December 8, 1886, husband of Frida Kahlo. Every year, in its capital, the International Cervantino Festival is held, named in honor of the extraordinary writer of “Don Quixote” Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.  It is the most important cultural and artistic event in Mexico. It has its origin in 1953; more than 4000 national and international artists of all the arts come together every October, most of the events are free and of excellent quality. During that month, the city becomes the capital of culture.

Touring the city of Guanajuato is transporting you to another time; its architecture has practically not changed in 400 years.  It has the air of romance and fight for love that the most famous novelists have loved; you will find the famous “Callejoneada.” It is a night tour on foot through every corner of this city ,where a troubadour dressed in the style of the 16th century will sing and tell the most shocking legends you will hear in your life, while you drink a little fruit punch with a touch of tequila, to withstand the cold.

And of course, you will stop at “El Callejón del Beso.” You will walk and go down the stairs until you reach the third red step where the martyr lover Carmen or Ana, her name has been confused in time, shed her blood being kissed by her only love Don Carlos or Luis.  The legend says that you must stand there, with your partner and kiss for 15 seconds, otherwise you will have seven years of bad luck, but if you do, you will be lucky in love and in life during those same seven years. Do you have a partner? Do not worry, nothing happens; maybe you will find a lonely soul like you who wants to try his luck and only for that moment - is it your Carmen or your Carlos. Remember that love makes moments eternal ...

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