ENTREE visits cosmopolitan Monterrey, Mexico

Monterrey, Mexico is a bustling commercial center, where they say “we appreciate the good life and work hard to pay for it,” thus heavy traffic, sprawling suburbs and noise. But you would be missing a lot to be deterred by this initial impression. Their drive and energy has created some magnificent community spaces to enrich the people of Monterrey and their visitors. Two central areas which excite us are the Macroplaza and Fundidora Park. The Macroplaza is the heart of Monterrey. The 250-foot tall Beacon of Commerce, and its laser beam aimed towards el Cerro de la Silla, and the dramatic Fountain of Neptune are but two of the remarkable sculptures illustrating the diversity of this cosmopolitan city. On the periphery is the old quarter, with its shops, galleries and cafes; splendid museums; the baroque, Our Lady of Monterrey Cathedral, and at the Governor’s Palace, recorded classical music plays to grand effect. El Cerro de la Silla, the symbol of Monterrey, and other mountains provide a dramatic backdrop as well as recreation opportunities. Nearby Fundidora, the imaginatively transformed old steelworks, is now a 280-acre civic marvel, boasting public greens, lakes, exhibits, sporting events and even the Sesame Street Amusement Park. Plans to connect Fundidora with the Macroplaza will make the city even more remarkable in its dedication to making human spaces in their bustling midst. Be sure to allow time to explore picturesque villages outside Monterrey. Take your camera and wander. Photos from our visit are a testament to the warmth shown respectful visitors. In the Monterrey area two restaurants worth considering are Restaurant El Tio for its traditional mesquite-grilled, savory meats and La Catarina for modern and imaginative interpretations of classic Mexican cuisine. Both are popular with locals and visitors. The stunning caves of Villa de Garcia are only 45 minutes outside of the city. A cable car takes you up the mountains to tour 16 subterranean halls to see stalagmites, stalactites and petrified sea creature remains from over 50 millions years ago when the area was underwater. Less developed, but very special caves are found further north, outside of Bustamante. In the village, dining and even an overnight at Hotel Ancira is a special experience. Hint: don’t leave town without trying the baby goat. Bustamante is also well-known for the artisan breads and sweets created in the traditional manner by the most endearing family team Spending time with the sisters was as sweet as their breads. Find more information at www.turismomonterrey.com.