This post’s title is two-fold. 1) We have about another 8 weeks in Mexico which sounds like ages but we have already been here 5 weeks and haven’t covered as much of the country as we thought we would by now. 2) I need to get a move on with the blog, I am always behind so this is my big push to get up to date. It does cover a lot, hopefully no one will nod off before getting to the end. Especially if you’re reading this at work, that could be awkward! Anyway here we go…
Another day another campsite, this time in the small town of Ezetlan in the region of Jalisco, probably most famous for the neighbouring town of Tequila and it’s alcoholic export. This town may be small but the trees are big and it is still rainy season, oh well we’re not superstitious so fingers crossed (!!!) we’ll be safe enough.
This site is part of a ranch run by Bonnie and her daughter Samantha. They were our tourist information, providers of tequila and just picked limes to sample and we got to see Samantha’s horse being trained in traditional Mexican dressage. Yet again we have met great people. They were also providers of refuge for several local dogs that needed a good home.
This one does have a proper name but we knew him as Stumpy, he didn’t seem to mind! Samantha found him injured on the road, after his leg was amputated he joined their other 4 dogs and runs around as quick as the others.
Although not as well known as the archeological sites further east there is some really interesting stuff in this part of Mexico. These are the round pyramids at Los Guachimontones which were temples that formed part of a settlement of around 40,000 people from 300BC to around 900AD. It is now a UNESCO WH site but still pretty low key and not at all busy. There was a really good visitor’s centre and even an info film in English which was brilliant. Sometimes our guessed translations are way off!
Obligatory church photo.
Not sure what the drinking and riding law is here, can your horse walk in a straight line perhaps?
16th September is Independence Day in Mexico and the festivities involving parades, dancing and fireworks seemed to start early and carry on for a few days. This was an event we passed while on the road.
Tequila in it’s raw state, fields of blue agave for many miles around.
As we prefer it!
Guadalajara is the 2nd biggest city in Mexico. There was no way we wanted to stay in the city but thought we’d have a couple of nights camping at Lake Chapala (the largest lake in Mexico) and nip in to Guadalajara to sightsee. The journey took us closer to the city centre than we really wanted but it looked like we could get onto the Periphico and head south to the lake quite easily. However, the junction we needed was closed……
3 hours later we were still stuck in city traffic. In total the journey we thought would be 1.5 hours took 4 and the thought of coming back into the city the next day did not seem so appealing so we can’t say we’ve seen Guadalajara!
However, we did loads of laundry, there was good internet, clean hot showers and
John learnt to do this, he hasn’t perfected the Taj Majal yet Lisa!
We headed south from Lake Chapala to Tapalpa a really pretty mountain village at about 6700 feet. It was cooler here than we’d been used to which was a bit of a shock in the evenings, we even had to get our padded jackets out. As there wasn’t a campsite we found a hotel in a good spot with parking within the hotel courtyard so we could still save some cash and cook our meals, much to the amusement of the staff. At £29 per night it was our most expensive accommodation in Mexico so we needed to economise.
This was a great fishmongers but we thought cooking fish in the hotel courtyard was a bit too cheeky!
A canine only congregation.
Local dancers taking part in the Independence Day celebrations kind of a cross between line and tap dancing.
It was great to see all ages out enjoying the entertainment, even teenagers watching dancing rather than playing on their phones, quite unusual.
We stayed at about the same altitude and travelled to an area so rural the roads were not shown on our road map, so there was a bit of using the GPS to know which direction we were going in and a bit of Google maps, although we didn’t have a phone signal for some of the journey. It was a slow day as we averaged about 30 miles an hour during our 6 hour journey, partly due to torrential rain and partly due to road surfaces so pot holed it was reminiscent of India.
We arrived in Angahuan, a small town that was a real step back in time. The population is Purepechan a native Indian tribe. Although Spanish and a bit of English are understood their native language is Tarascan and the central church broadcast sermons by loudspeaker throughout the day. It reminded us of Budhist chanting.
We were looking for a campsite that wasn’t easy to find so for a few pesos these youngsters who were very at home on horseback guided us there.
The main reason for our visit was to see Volcano Paracutin which erupted in 1943. The lava field destroyed villages but left part of the Cathedral of San Juan Parangaricutiro still standing.
Our campsite was at the head of the 1.5 mile trail that leads to the church, we walked it but some choose to go on horseback, it’s quite an undulating path including cobblestones and steps. No way I was getting on a horse for that!
A view of the cathedral from our campground.
The volcano, now dormant.
Crossing the lava field.
The bell tower.
Local people still worship here, it is quite a scramble over the lava field but they carry their musical instruments, flowers and other offerings to the chapel and some of them were definitely OAP’s!
The air was thick with incense.
Not sure how this old fellow manages to climb around the area.
A really interesting place, highly recommended. Plus camping for £6 per night, what a bargain!