Mexico holiday day 13

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Today was our third Tour and final tour in Mexico El Tule, Mitla, and Hierve el Agua Tour with Mezcal. This time we were picked up from our hotel. Although they turned up 30 minutes before they said they would and we were just about to go get coffee and breakfast. Susan's power of persuasion (her inner-jaguar) meant that I could run round the corner to Muss coffee shop. When got there they were just unlocking but they were kind enough to make me two coffees and sell me some chocolate brownies.

We then set off to pick up the other participants from their hotels, there were 8 of in all 4 from Mexico (2 from Tijuana and 2 from Chihuahua) 2 from Delaware and Susan and I.

Our first stop of the day was to see Árbol del Tule the tree with the largest girth in the world at 58 metres. This tree is a Montezuma cypress and super impressive. Just outside the gates to the tree there was an aerobics class going on playing rock n roll and 80s power ballads. Our guide, Ede, pointed out to use with a laser pointer all the parts of the tree that were supposed to look like animals. Perched in the tree there was a green parrot, I also saw a flock of green parrots flying around.

Our second stop of the day was Mitla an archeological site. Mitla is known as the place of the dead in the Zapotec culture. When the Spanish arrived they were told that if the touched the main building that the dead would come back and haunt them, this meant that the part stayed intact unlike many other sites which were demolished for the stones to build churches. Inside there are many intricate friezes decorating the tops of the walls and still some of the original paintings.

Our third stop of the day was Hierve el Agua some limestone waterfalls with natural pools. Ede gave us 3 options to go see and explore the waterfalls and pools of varying difficulty, we chose the easiest route so we could maximise our time in the pools. Initially getting into the pool was cold but as soon as you were in it was absolutely delightful and lovely to be a bit cooler. We stayed there about an hour and half. While walking back up to the bus we met the girl from Glasgow and the girls from West Sussex we met the previous day on the cookery course.

Next we stopped off for a Mexican buffet and like all these lunch stops on the tours, it was mediocre at best. While there the locals were watching the Manchester City versus Real Madrid Champions league quarter final. The game finished in a draw and went to extra-time, we later found out that Manchester City lost 4-5 on penalties. Arsenal were also knocked out oof the Champions league too.

We there stopped of at a place that made traditional Mexican tapestries. They showed us the whole process from carding the wool, spinning the wool into threads, how to create the different colours for dying and then how they created different patterns on the loom. We were then taken upstairs to see there finished wears and to see if we wanted to buy anything, which we didn't.

We then went to a Mezcal el Rey Fabrica de Mexcal (place where they produce Mezcal) so see how they make Mezcal. First there showed us different Agave plants and explained that the main Agave that is used for making Mezcal is the one that matures in 10 years which is the shortest time, especially the Mezcals that are mass produced for export. We were then shown, what were referred to as, wild agave which matured between 12 and 25 years. When the agave mature the sprout a branch that then produces seed pods, although agave can also sprout baby plants from the roots while growing, these baby agave are what the farmers use to grow new agave. Once the agave matures it leaves are cut off and then the hearts are put in a pit with hot stones and roasted for a week. Once roasted the hearts are sweet and then added to a vat and mashed for another week. The liquid from the vats is then distilled twice, which is the finished mezcal. The pulp from the vats is used to fuel the fire for roasting the agave hearts.

After the tour we were givien tastings of some of their Mezcals. Some of the mezcal is aged for 1, 8 or 12 years in oak barrels. The mezcal that is used for export is aged for 6 months with the worm that lives in the agave plant. I bought 3 bottles of Mezcal 1 which was aged for 8 years, one from the agave that takes 25-35 years to grow and one that was made the traditional Pre-Hispanic way.


When we finally got back to Oaxaca city I went out to get an evening meal at Cathedral Restaurant, I had the best papadelle with wild mushroom ragu and two Margaritas with Mezcal.


Photo of the day

Colourful banners in a circular pattern above a street in Oaxaca

Today's photo album

Day 13 album

Tree of Tule album

Mitla album

Hierve el Agua album