There are several good reasons to learn a new language, but having the possibility to experience a foreign country´s culture using the native language of the area has got to be on the top of the list of thousands of people with adventurous spirits.
Today we will take a look at a great place where beginners who are learning Spanish can practice. We are talking about the city of Monterrey, Mexico.
Monterrey is the capital of Nuevo Leon, an important state in the north of Mexico. The city is part of the third-largest metropolitan area in the country and it is an important educational, industrial and commercial center.
Monterrey has the highest per capita income in the country and it is often regarded as the most “Americanized” city in Mexico.
Although it is generally seen as a business place, it is also a city with beautiful places worth visiting. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
First – Parque Fundidora:
This is a public park located in the land that used to be part of the Monterrey Steel Foundry Company several years ago, and it is currently considered an important archaeological industrial site in the country.
It is a place where local families gather to exercise and play together during weekends. A popular activity among local families is renting bicycles to ride around a 3.4 km track (about 2.1 miles) that is often used for 5 and 10 K runs. It is a nice place to visit, just make sure you bring comfortable shoes and a hat in case it is a very sunny day.
If you want to rent a bicycle, all you need is an ID and a few pesos (it costs around 20 pesos for 1 hour), it is a great way to go around the park while exercising a little. As long as you don’t get out of the park, you will not have a problem. You are not allowed to take the bicycles out of the park, and you shouldn’t; riding a bike on the streets is not a good idea (not very safe, lots of traffic).
You can see several sections of the park in this short video:
A few simple phrases that may be useful are:
Excuse me, where can I find a bathroom?
Disculpe, ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un baño?
Hi, I need a little help. Do you have a minute?
Hola, necesito un poco de ayuda. ¿Tiene un minuto?
Hi, do you know where can I buy water?
Hola, ¿sabe dónde puedo comprar agua?
Hi, do you know where can I buy food?
Hola, ¿sabe dónde puedo comprar comida?
Hi, where can I get a taxi?
Hola, ¿dónde puedo tomar un taxi?
Hi, which way is the subway?
Hola, ¿Para dónde está el metro?
Thanks for your help.
Gracias por su ayuda.
…and this is how riding around in a rented bicycle looks like (it’s fun, you have got to try it!):
… this is what a full lap looks like (minus the music, unless you have your MP3 player with you)…
This is what the park looks like from a satellite (click and drag!):
Well done! Are you tired already? It’s time to move on for the next cool place to visit…
Second – Macroplaza y Paseo Santa Lucía:
The “Macroplaza” is a town square built in the early 80s and it is currently considered the fourth largest plaza in the world. It is a nice place to walk around (bring comfortable shoes, it is a big place!).
At one end, you can find the “Explanada de los Héroes” with the “Palacio de Gobierno”, a neoclassical construction where the office of the State’s Governor is officially located, and at the other end you can find the City Hall and an excellent art museum right next to it known as “Marco” (which stands for Museo de ARte COntemporaneo).
Near the city hall, there is a pedestrian street known simply as “Morelos” where you will find several stores and restaurants to freshen up and do some shopping (and lots of people!, its fun).
This is what the Macroplaza looks like from a plane:
This is what the “Explanada de los Héroes” looks like:
This is what the modern City Hall looks like on Sundays sometimes (great day to visit):
This is what the Marco art museum looks like from the inside (the building is a work of art worth visiting):
…and this is how both look from the street. Art Museum on the left, City Hall on the right (click and drag, play with it, walk around!):
This is what walking around Morelos looks like (make sure to visit “Interplaza Shoptown”, its and interesting place with a HUGE food court and many restaurants to choose from) there is even a movie theater where people love to talk during the movie, something you have got to experience!…
and for advanced Spanish Speakers, if you see clowns on the street, definitely stop by (the city loves clowns, have a few coins ready in your pocket and don’t be afraid to interact). They are hilarious!
The “Paseo Santa Lucía” (Santa Lucía Riverwalk) is an artificial river that connects the Fundidora Park with the Macroplaza Square. It is more than 1 and a half miles long (2.5 kilometers), has a depth of 4 feet (1.2 meters) where swimming competitions are held at times, there are motorboats for those who prefer to avoid the walk and there is free wifi for everyone! Great place for a run or a nice walk, and you can even bring your skates if you want!
This is what the “Paseo Santa Lucía” looks like from the street (click and drag to look at both sides of the bridge!)
… and this is what it looks like for birds (Macroplaza on the bottom left corner, and Parque Fundidora on the right)…
This is a great overview of the Mazcroplaza, the Santa Lucía Riverwalk and the Fundidora Park by Chad from Forwardtravels.com, where he has some amazing videos definitely worth checking out! Visit him over here if you love traveling: Chad´s Forwardtravels.com
Third – El Mirador del Obispado (Bishopric Lookout):
Would you like to see the second largest Mexican flag in the country and a great view of Monterrey? Then you have to visit “El Mirador del Obispado” (Bishopric Lookout) before you leave the city.
This is what the city looks like from “El Mirador del Obispado” during the day (a place definitely worth visiting):
…and this is what the view looks like at night (in person, its impressing!):
…and this is how the flag looks from the parking lot (click and drag, it’s a great view!) you may also click on the top right corner of the map to switch to “full-screen” view:
We hope you like this article and that you use it as motivation to learn more about Mexican culture and to practice your Spanish frequently using interactive media available online.
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Do you have any questions about Spanish or feel like saying “hi”? Please share your thoughts in the comments section available at the end of this post. We would love to hear from you!