Close to Oaxaca in the little village of Tule is the nice overlander spot of Calvin & Leanne. The Canadian couple live here since a few years and have established a meeting point for world travelers. Details here: Overlanderoasis They also travelled for some years with an old Greyhound bus and have now settled in Mexico.
To be more flexible in the upcoming days we rent a car and pick-up our son Michael and his girl-friend Eva from the airport. We are very excited about their visit because we have not seen them for more than 15 months. After they recovered from Jetlag we visit the city of Oaxaca. The town is located in a basin on 1500m and is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. We stroll thru the narrow streets and visit the wonderful church of Santo Domingo, the cultural museum and the local market where grasshoppers are sold as a local specialty. Unfortunately the main plaza is covered with tents from protesters since months and unfrequently they block the streets due to social and political strains and sometimes the situation escalates and it comes to violent excesses.
The next day we visit Monte Alban, the largest and most beautiful Zapoteken Village of all. From there the rulers dominated South-West Mexico in the summit of their power. The archeological site is very impressive. More than twenty constructions and pyramids are grouped around the main plaza which is 300m long. Around the area are a multitude of underground graves which are unfortunately not accessible. The most popular grave number seven was opened in1932 and over 500 invaliuable objects of art were found and can be viewed in the cultural museum of Oaxaca. In the afternoon we have an authentic meal in a small village near-by and taste our first Mezcal.
Not far from Oaxaca is the weaver village of Teotitlan where this tradition is cultivated since hundreds of years. Dozens of small and bigger Family businesses produce all kinds of woven goods from small blankets up to large carpets. The owner explains the production process in detail. All is done from hundred percent nature products. The color comes from different plants and insects and the wool is stained with it. Afterwards we visit a candle-maker and a weaver who breeds silkworms and processes the silk on the weaving loom. Then we have lunch in one of the best restaurants in the region. We were the only guests and got a traditional Mexican meal in a nice ambience.
The Region around Oaxaca is known for Mezcal, a spirit which comes from the heart of the Agave. Some sorts have a worm in it. We visit the factory and learn everything about the production process before it comes to the tasting. I also eat a worm together with a lot of Chili and Mezcal.
After a few days we leave the Overland Oasis and drive to the stoned waterfalls Hierve el Agua. This natural wonder is located in a beautiful surrounding with some nice hiking trails. Eva and Michael set up their tent and have a hardness test right away as a thunderstorm goes down at night. But on the next morning the sun shines again and we bath and make a few nice walks in the area.
The second most important Ceremonial Center in the valley of Oaxaca was Mitla. After the foundation around 100 A.C. Mitla developed to the most important religious center after the 8th century until the arrival of the Spanish conquerors in the 16th century.
We continue our journey and visit the Sunday market of Tlacolula. The colorful market is the largest in the region and we stroll thru the crowds and let the unique atmosphere sink in.
Now it goes up to 3000m to the small village of Cuajimoloyas. Eight villages have themselves connected to an Eco Project in a wonderful landscape and have erected hiking and mountain bike trails together with viewing points. We camp at the outskirts of town and make a day hike on the next day. The vegetation is outstanding and the Agaves are more than 4 meters high. In the evening we park the car at another place on a meadow overlooking the valley. We setup a camp fire and feel like at home in the Alpes. We`ve explored the area already by foot so now it`s time to do horse-back riding. Eva and Michael seem to be experts but I have pain all over after the 4 hours. Was a nice trip but this way of transportation is not my preferred option.
After some beautiful days in the mountains we go back to Overland Oasis in Oaxaca. On the next day we make a tour to the villages south of Oaxaca which are well known for their ceramic art. But first we visit an authentic market in Zaachila and it seems to be that we are the only tourists. We drive on and come into a blockade and must go around in a wide circle until we come to San Martin where they produce colorful painted wooden figures. A few kilometers further is the pottery village San Bartolo where the black clay is produced. On our way home we are stopped from a blockade in the city of Oaxaca. Thousands of protesters are on the street and swing large steel sticks around. It`s an animus atmosphere and we do not feel really good in the middle of it without being able to move. But then the crossing is freed up a few minutes and we can cross. But this doesn`t prevent a protester to hit the front of our car with his long steelstick. But luckily it was only metal on metal and caused no damage. However it was enough for us and we don`t really need this more often.
Finally we do sightseeing in Tule and gaze at the huge tree with a diameter of 58m and an age of more than 2000 years. And then the days with Michael and Eva are already over. It was a wonderful time and we enjoyed it being so close for some days. Thanks!! At 5am in the morning we bring them to the airport and then we are alone again.
Now we stay a few days in Oaxaca. MOMO needs some maintenance and then we move on to the Pacicfic coast and further to Mexico City. But what we experience there is then part of the next blog. Until then stay tuned, enjoy reading the blog and watching the pictures and like us on Facebook. Hasta Luego.