A Travellerspoint blog

Oaxaca

Good food, big markets, nice buildings and a good tour

sunny 25 °C
View Latin America on sarahm_lux's travel map.

I got to Oaxaca on Wednesday morning and spent the whole morning exploring the city's huge markets. The first one is a standard market selling fruits and vegetables, meats, sweets, clothes, some souvernirs etc. All the local specialities could be found here, such as quesadillo, a stringy cheese sold in the form of a ball, mole, a sauce that comes in different versions of different colours, containing very interesting combination of ingredients, and mezcal. The second market is one that mainly has comedores, restaurants selling the typical local dishes and bakeries in it. Here I ate mole negro con pollo, meaning chicken with rice, tortillas and the black mole. The sauce is very special, containing chili, nuts, onions and cocoa beans among others. It was strange, but very tasty! The third market is a handicrafts market where all the typical local artesanal products can be found. I bought some nice souvenirs here.
At the market in Oaxaca

At the market in Oaxaca


Quesillo

Quesillo


Mole negro

Mole negro

In the afternoon I went to the Santo Domingo convent where a museum about pre-Columbian cultures is now being housed. It was very interesting with a lot of information and many beautiful artefacts. I spent much more time there than I had planned.
Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca

Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca

Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca

Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca

Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca

Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca

I then went for a walk around more of the town, but suddenly my legs started hurting a lot. I had gotten a lot of mosquito bites in Puerto Escondido (I counted more than 50!) and I seemed to suddenly have a bad allergic reaction to them. My legs were bright red, full with small red dots and burning so much I could barely walk anymore. I went to the pharmacy where the pharamcist sent me to the doctor next door. He was shocked at the sight of my legs and prescribed me some strong medication against the allergy. On top of my legs hurting so much I started feeling very ill, so I went to bed and watched a movie...
Oaxaca

Oaxaca


Oaxaca

Oaxaca


Oaxaca

Oaxaca


Oaxaca

Oaxaca


One of the many foodstalls in Oaxaca

One of the many foodstalls in Oaxaca

The next morning, I was feeling better, although my legs were still very painful and red. I decided to take a tour which would not involve too much walking that day.
We first went to El Tule, where the tree with the widest trunk in world stands. It was massive! An impressive sight.
El Tule

El Tule

Then, we drove on to Hierve el Agua. There is water bubbling out of the ground on a hilltop, which looks like it's boiling, hence the name. The water creates a pool in which you can go swimming. And where the water runs down the hill, petrified waterfalls have formed. The whole site was incredible. The views from another, higher hill were just amazing. I did not dare to go swimming because of my legs though...
Hierve el Agua

Hierve el Agua


Hierve el Agua

Hierve el Agua


Hierve el Agua

Hierve el Agua

After lunch, we went to Mitla, an archaeological site of the Zapotec culture. It is small, but the buildings are very intricately decorated.
Mitla

Mitla


Mitla

Mitla

We continued to a mezcal factory where we got some explanations and demonstrations on the making process of the alcoholic beverage and then got to try different types of mezcal. I especially liked the 8 year old mezcal and the hazelnut cream.
Agave used to make mezcal

Agave used to make mezcal


Mezcal factory

Mezcal factory

The last stop of the tour was a textile factory. We were shown how the wool is spun, died with different natural products and weaved. I had seen this all before on other tours, but the rugs and other products made here were different and beautiful.
Textile factory

Textile factory


Textile factory

Textile factory

That night, the English girl I travelled with for 5 weeks arrived in Oaxaca, so we started travelling together again for a few days. We tried some more grasshoppers that night (she did not like them and I found that they were not as good as the last ones) and then went out to a bar to see some of Oaxaca's nightlife.

In the morning, we took a bus to Monte Ablán, another archaeological site. This is the most important Zapotec ruin. It was big and the buildings were great. It was a good and interesting visit.
Monte Albán

Monte Albán


Monte Albán

Monte Albán


Monte Albán

Monte Albán


Monte Albán

Monte Albán


Monte Albán

Monte Albán

Back in town, we went to the food market and I tried another typical dish, the tlayula. This is one of the many tortilla dishes they have in Mexico, the tlayula being a huge round deep-fried tortilla served with salad, meet, cheese and of course chili sauce on top. It was again a very good dish.
Tlayula

Tlayula

I then went to visit a couple of art museums. Both very nice but quite small. Then I spontaneously decided to get a hair cut, which I had wanted to do for a while already. As usual, they did not just cut the ends and my hair ended up a bit shorter than I would have liked... But it looks good, that's the main things.

On the way back to the hostel I found that a live band was playing on the main square, so I stopped there and listened to them for a while. When they finished I went back home and spent the night there until we had to leave to the bus station to get our night bus to Mexico City.

Posted by sarahm_lux 18:35 Archived in Mexico Tagged oaxaca mole mezcal mitla el_tule hierve_el_agua tlayula monte_albán Comments (0)

Big news

I have booked a return flight!!

sunny 25 °C
View Latin America on sarahm_lux's travel map.

Finally, I have done it! I have booked a return flight! I will be flying back to Luxembourg from Cancun on 6th March, arriving on the 7th. So my trip has an end date now, and it is only 6 weeks away... It is very strange to know that my travels will come to an end soon. But I am looking forward to going home now, too. It will be nice to see all my friends and family again and do all the things I do in "normal life". Until then, I will try to enjoy my last weeks as much as I can. I will keep you updated on how it goes, as usual.

Posted by sarahm_lux 00:25 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Puerto Escondido

Beach time again!

sunny 30 °C
View Latin America on sarahm_lux's travel map.

I went to Puerto Escondido last Sunday to spend some time at the beach and relax. I met up with 2 girls I know from San Juan del Sur as well. So I visited them a few times in their hostel and went out with them and some of their friends on Sunday night. For the rest of the 3 days I spent most of my time hanging out at the beach. The beaches were nice and I just had to cross the road to get to the closest one.
Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido


Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido


Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido

I also took a boat tour to see dolphins. We spent about 3 hours on the sea and saw loads of dolphins popping out of the water near and around the boat. It was amazing!
Dolphins in Puerto Escondido

Dolphins in Puerto Escondido

Posted by sarahm_lux 20:02 Archived in Mexico Tagged dolphins puerto_escondido Comments (0)

San Cristóbal de las Casas

Arrived in Mexico!!

sunny 25 °C
View Latin America on sarahm_lux's travel map.

Finally I arrived in Mexico on 12th January! I've been wanting to come here for so long, I was so happy to finally arrive! And San Cristóbal de las Casas was the perfect place to start! It is a really beautiful colonial city. Very nice buildings, many restaurants, bars, cafés, some interesting museums and good tours to do in the surrounding area.
San Cristóbal de las Casas

San Cristóbal de las Casas


San Cristóbal de las Casas

San Cristóbal de las Casas

I took a tour to the Sumidero canyon, which first brought us to Chiapa de Corzo, a small town about an hour from San Cristóbal which has some nice historical buildings. I visited the town's church, where you can climb the bell tower for views over the town and the river next to it.
Cañon del Sumidero

Cañon del Sumidero


Cañon del Sumidero

Cañon del Sumidero


'Christmas Tree' formation in the Cañon del Sumidero

'Christmas Tree' formation in the Cañon del Sumidero


Vultures in the Cañon del Sumidero

Vultures in the Cañon del Sumidero

To this river we then drove to get into a boat which would take us on a 2-hour tour of the canyon. The boat ride was stunning! The canyon's walls are very steep and high and in between flows the river. Here, crocodiles and many birds live.

The afternoon I spent walking around San Cristóbal de las Casas. I think I could have spent days just walking around this city...
San Cristóbal de las Casas

San Cristóbal de las Casas


San Cristóbal de las Casas

San Cristóbal de las Casas

At night, I went for some drinks with a German who was on my canyon tour. We started off in a nice bar where we had a Mexican beer. We then got some tequila and juice and drank this on the main square while watching what was going on in the city at night. Afterwards, we were headed for a bar with a happy hour, but instead we found a Mezcalería... We decided it was time to try Mezcal, a drink similar to tequila, but made out of a different type of agave and with a worm at the bottom of each bottle. The drink was not bad for such a strong spirit. It was served with a strange plate of snacks though: Popcorn and something which I identified, after having a close look, as being grasshoppers. After trying them, we agreed that the insects were actually quite tasty, served with some lime on top. After the Mezcal, we went on to try a typical drink from the region, Posh. It was very drinkable too and we got another plate of crunchy red grasshoppers with it. We went on to another bar where they were supposed to have live music. The music started an hour late and was not very good. There were not many people in the bar either, so we drank the free drinks (something with rum and orange juice) we got with a flyer we were handed on the street earlier on and another beer and then left and went home, tired from a long night of trying our way through the typical Mexican alcohol drinks...
Popcorn and grasshoppers served as snacks with the mezcal

Popcorn and grasshoppers served as snacks with the mezcal

The next morning, I went on another tour. It took me to Zinacantán, to a house where traditional clothes are made. We watched the women weave and tried on some Tzotzil Maya wedding clothes. We also got to try posh again, with different flavours. I tried the cinnamon one which was very good. We got a traditional breakfast as well. Home-made tortillas with beans, cheese, red and green tomatoes, Habanero chili and a powder which was made of ground pumpkin seeds.
At the weavery in Zinacantán

At the weavery in Zinacantán


At the weavery in Zinacantán

At the weavery in Zinacantán


Wearing the Tzotzil wedding clothes - I'm the maid of honour <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_wink.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=';)' title='' />

Wearing the Tzotzil wedding clothes - I'm the maid of honour ;)


Wearing Tzotzil clothes

Wearing Tzotzil clothes


Typical breakfast in Zinacantán

Typical breakfast in Zinacantán

Next, we went to Chamula and visited the church there. From the outside it is a pretty catholic church, but once you enter it you get a surprise. From the inside the church does not look like a church at all. There are no benches, there is no altar. It is big hall with saint statues on the sides and just candles in all the rest of the church. Thousands of candles. People and families come and light different amounts of candles of different colours on the floor and on the tables set up in front of the saints' statues. The different colours stand for different things that they pray for, e.g. white is for good health, multicoloured candles are used in order be freed of envy etc. The people also use chicken for ceremonies, to remove the bad from someone. There are Maya priests doing ceremonies too. t was a very unusual and interesting thing to see.
Curch in Chamula

Curch in Chamula


Afterwards, we went to visit the artisan market in the town and a collapsed church which is surrounded by a colourful cemetery.
Cemetery in Chamula

Cemetery in Chamula

I used this afternoon to see more of San Cristóbal, including the Na Bolom museum, which shows artefacts of different ancient cultures from the region.
Na Bolom museum

Na Bolom museum

Posted by sarahm_lux 20:14 Archived in Mexico Tagged san_cristobal_de_las_casas chamula mezcal cañon_del_sumidero chiapa_de_corzo zinacantán posh Comments (0)

Quetzaltenango

more commonly called Xela...

sunny 25 °C
View Latin America on sarahm_lux's travel map.

Quetzaltenango, which Guatemalans usually call Xela, is a really interesting city. It has a lot of nice buildings, churches and markets to see and you can spend a lot of time just walking around, which I did. The street food is good and cheap too. I liked it a lot there.
Teatro Minicipal de Quetzaltenango

Teatro Minicipal de Quetzaltenango


Church in Xela

Church in Xela


Xela from above

Xela from above

I took a tour from Xela to visit the indigenous villages and some colonial churches in the area too. First, we went to a village called Almolonga where they have a huge fruit and vegetable market on Wednesdays. Most of the market is wholesale. The crops from this town are being exported to all of Latin America and even to the US. There are also local people buying the goods in the wholesale part of the market and then selling them in their retail stalls on the other side. The market is huge and the size of some of the vegetables was incredible. I had never seen such big carrots!
Fruit and vegetable market in Almolonga

Fruit and vegetable market in Almolonga


Fruit and vegetable market in Almolonga

Fruit and vegetable market in Almolonga


Fruit and vegetable market in Almolonga

Fruit and vegetable market in Almolonga

We then went to Zunil. Here, we visited the house where San Simón, or Maximón, is worshipped. It is a Mayan tradition, even though they call him 'San'. They have a figure of the 'saint' in the house, which was pretty much just a plastic mannequin. He gets dressed up in different ways and changes clothes regularly. On this day, he was wearing a suit, a hat, a scarf, sunglasses, and in his mouth he had a cigar. It looked really weird as you can imagine. In the next room, Mayan priests performed ceremonies for people who came and asked for one. These were performed around small fires, into which different things were thrown, mostly candles. The priest also used eggs and limes for the ceremonies, which he passed around the people's bodies and then threw into the fire. This way, the bad inside the people are supposed to be transferred into the eggs and then burnt in the fire.

After this, we went to the hot springs Fuentes Georginas to relax in the hot water for a while.

In the afternoon, we visited San Andrés Xecul, with a bright yellow church. There is also a smaller yellow church, next to which the indigenous people do Mayan rituals to pray for different things, all next to a catholic church and in front of a cross...
Yellow church in San Andrés Xecul

Yellow church in San Andrés Xecul

The next stop was San Cristóbal Totonicapán, a town with a huge church and a nice convent attached, and a big and colourful cemetery.

After this, we visited Salcajá and the oldest church in Central America. On top of it being really interesting, the church looked very nice too. We also went to a place where the fabrics for the local dresses are being sold. They have such nice patterns and colours and we got some explanations of the meaning and use of these. Then, we went to try a local alcoholic drink, the Caldo de Frutas. It is made with whatever fruits are in season and is really tasty. We also got to eat the fruits that were used to make it, which are obviously soaked in alcohol. Very good, but very strong...
La Ermita Concepción la Conquistadora

La Ermita Concepción la Conquistadora


La Ermita Concepción la Conquistadora

La Ermita Concepción la Conquistadora


Caldo de frutas and the alcohol-soaked fruits

Caldo de frutas and the alcohol-soaked fruits

All in all, it was a good and long day tour, and I was pretty exhausted at the end of the day.

At night, I went to a dinner at a Spanish school with some of my hostel friends. They were going to start classes there, but I felt a bit out of place and guilty about eating the free food without studying there. It was a really nice event with great food though, so I still enjoyed it. And then we went with some of the other Spanish students to a salsa club where free classes were given. But then it was time to go home because everybody had an early start the next day.

Posted by sarahm_lux 14:10 Archived in Guatemala Tagged xela quetzaltenango Comments (0)

(Entries 16 - 20 of 120) « Page 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »