While in Oaxaca we rented a chauffeur and visited El Tule, the world's oldest tree being over 2000 years old. The church behind it in the picture is a full size church!
After El Tule we visited Teotitlan, a village were rugs are made in the traditional way with all natural dyes. We got a demonstration on how the process works, very interesting to see how the colors are made with fermented leaves, a parasite that grows on the cactus, herbs, pomegranite seeds (which produce green!) etc.
From there on to the Benava distillery to see how mezcal is brewed. I have been to wiskey distilleries in Scotland so I know how the process works, but it was interesting to hear that they put the agave cores into a hole in the ground with smoldering wood for three days, that's where the smokey flavor comes from.
Than some last minute shopping at the Oaxaca markets and took the bus for an eight hour ride to Xalapa, home of the Jalapeño pepper. Not that we'll do any chili related stuff here, we there for the museum that houses the largest selection of Olmec heads. Well contrary to what our lonely planet and the museum website say, the museum is NOT open on Monday, we already made arrangements to travel further, so J. missed this beautiful museum, which is in our opinion one of the nicest in Mexico. Nothing much else to do in Xalapa but to wonder around the city center and drink some fabulous coffee.
Today we arrived at Costa Esmeralda along the Mexican Gulf coast. When we drove by this place last year we decided that if we were in the neighborhood again we would stop here.
A long stretch of beach that is not spoiled by high rise hotels and resorts.
From the bus station, well a sign in front of a Hostel, we caught a ride to one of the hotels that had a good review on the tripadvisor site, the Best Western Noray. Nice place, nice pool at the beach what more do you want.
Well we went for a walk along the coastline and ended up for a drink and a bite to eat at Taboga, run by and English/Mexican couple and open since a few months, they showed us around and it was fabulous! For only 100 pesos more per night we'll get a room with an ocean view, great restaurant and we'll go fishing on the beach with Omid, the owner :-)