Besides the special bond that any guaro has with suero, pepito, and cocuy, there’s something else that leaves a mark on every one of us. While the rest of the world spends January 14th as another ordinary day, the Twilight City shows its best side to celebrate the Divina Pastora on her procession, filling the streets with color, joy, and faith; we become one united by love and devotion, and suddenly all that matters is to celebrate what’s ours.
That’s why there is probably no better way to say “Welcome to Barquisimeto” than having a glimpse of the monument Manto de María right at the time you get to the city. During the opening days of the monument, you could feel the joy in the air. They could finally celebrate their Saint any day of the year; you found families laughing at the bottom of the cinematic artwork, and a group of friends taking pictures all over the places. Its success didn’t come as much as a surprise since it has one of the best views of Lara and Yaracuy at the top of the monument, where you can rejoice your eyes with Barquisimeto’s beautiful sunsets.
My first time at the Manto de María was precisely at the end of the day, almost at the time of the fantastic twilight hour. I remember my whole family walking to the top of the hill to enjoy the artwork that had just been opened, and how the night came and we were still there, enjoying that new amazing place, taking pictures, and not thinking about anything else except the peacefulness that can be felt there.
After I left, my mind got stuck on the idea of coming back with my friends, but time has done some tricks to the route that was once so easy. Behind the magnificent views, visiting this architectonic piece can be quite a challenge: it’s no secret how difficult it is for people to move from one place to another due to the problems of public transportation, and although at first there were buses capable of carrying people up to the monument, all of them have been disappearing little by little.
If you’re lucky enough to beat the transport problem, the monument’s schedule can also get in the way of your plans. While at first, you got to enjoy the night at the Manto de María, we had to say goodbye to those days since the monument now closes at 17:00 hrs.
However, we can’t take everything as lost. The monument has managed to prevail in time, even with the difficulties that have been experienced. We get to see the Manto de María from almost everywhere in the city, reminding us a part of who we are as guaros, and reminding everybody that the love and devotion that Barquisimeto has for the Divina Pastora is more significant than just a one-day celebration.
In the end, all that we need to have an unforgettable moment in Twilights City is the wind, the view and some good company at the Manto de María. We may not be the greatest city in the world with the most perfect attractions, but with a quick getaway, you can find the magic and beauty of everyday life.
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