Amazing cactus'

Oaxaca

Oaxaca, pronounced Wah-hac-a, is a state in southern Mexico known for its indigenous cultures its rich Moles – mole is a traditional sauce made with a lot of different ingredients, and Oaxaca boasts seven different types of mole. We stayed in the heart of the old town, with brightly painted colonial buildings, cobbled narrow streets and the stunning baroque Catedral de Oaxaca taking centre stage, it was beautiful – great for taking pictures…

Oaxaca vendors selling handmade embroided blouses
Oaxaca vendors selling handmade embroided blouses

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Artisan cafe - Oaxaca
Artisan cafe – Oaxaca
When in Mexico
When in Mexico
Margerita
Margerita

During our stay, we visited a number of sites within the region, these included: Hierve el Agua – A series of small natural pools that have been excavated to form an “amphitheater”, from which you can admire the amazing scenery, whilst taking a dunk in the cool waters. Due to the variety and high concentrations of mineral salts, a pre hispanic irrigation system and various waterfalls that fell from the pool have been petrified.

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Mitla. Its name in Nahuatl means “Place of the Dead”, while the Zapotecs called it lyobaa, meaning “Place of burials” Mitla was a place of residence for the Zapotec priestly class. It was inhabited from the classic period of Monte Albán (100 to 650 AD) , and reached its peak in the post-classical period (750 to 1521 AD). The layout of the city was probably planned with structures grouped in five sets, currently called the Columns, the Church, the Stream, the Adobes and the South. Santa María El Tule.

Giant cactus' with Milta in the background
Giant cactus’ with Milta in the background
Tom standing at the entrance of Milta
Tom standing at the entrance of Milta
Amazing cactus'
Amazing cactus’

Among the natural beauties of this region is the huge, ahuehuete cypress called “El Árbol del Tule”. The tree is a wonderful example of Oaxacan flora, 40 meters high with a diameter of 52.58 meters, it weighs around 509 tons and is approximately 2000 years old.

Bigger than any of the redwoods we'd seen (in circumference)
Bigger than any of the redwoods we’d seen (in circumference)
Tree measurements
Tree measurements

Teotitlán del Valle. This town is where woolen rugs are made on domestic looms. The artisans here use natural dyes such as indigo, moss and grana cochinilla. We visited an artisan’s house to see the process of making a rug, it was fascinating, the time and effort that goes into making one – it was a shame we couldn’t bring one home with us…

Rugs hung up outside - the colours don't show
Rugs hung up outside – the colours don’t show

Finally we visited a Mezkal Factory. Perhaps the most famous drink to come out of Mexico is one made from the agave plant: tequila. But there’s another drink derived from the agave, one less known but just as potent: Mezcal. And lately, it is moving on up among the hip and the chic, not only in Mexico but also abroad. We visited the distillery, where they showed us the processes, and how the roots are burnt and then fermented, and then we were giving the chance to sample a number of differently aged Mezcals…. they even had the worm floating in there to flavour the drink (something that tequilas don’t have anymore). We ended up buying a bottle of their 9 year aged, as that was pleasant on the taste buds – however we’re yet to sample it at home!

Selection of Mezcal
Selection of Mezcal
You can see floating in the far right bottle
You can see floating in the far right bottle

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