Saturday, January 8, 2011

Our Trip to Manzamitla

This delightful side trip, probably the last of our "discovery" visits before we head homeward, turned out to be one of our very best . . . Mazamitla!!! This settling up in the higher mountains south of Lake Chapala, has a strong German influence and nests among conifers and evergreens. I was having visions of my Colorado forests and feeling very excited.

The 2 hour drive took us first thru Jocotepec at the west end of the lake then, east past a speckling of small towns and finally south up into the hills. Most of the undulating terrain is dried foliage and dusty . . . but we began climbing futher and further . . . and I began seeing green. First a sprinkling of evergreens and then rolling hillside of green grass. Quite lovely since we are in the winter dry season down at lake altitude. And wood, I repeat w-o-o-d, that grainy, earthy stuff trees are made of, I began to see wood. I didn't realize how I'd missed seeing, feeling it.

We parked in the wide, rock lined streets and began sampling this tourist oriented village. The town square with it's white facaded church and wooden gazebo was charming, clean. The two story store fronts bordering the square had wood rails and wooden doors. One of the adjacent blocks was a pedestrian walkway and offered nurseries or potted flowering plants.

Shortly, we decided to have a late lunch and skip dinner (who knew when we'd get home) and poked our head into a short corridor of a restaurant. It opened into a sunlit patio, with tables and a bar (don't you love the actual cowboy boots as a planter on the bar?), then adjacent rooms with more seating and the kitchen. A young man came to take our order and made the best "limenade" to quench our thirst. Look at the size of the glasses! Another treat we keep running into is the size of the poinsettias here in Mexico. I'm used to the tiny ones that you can "perhaps" get to blossoms next Christmas if you're lucky. But here, look at the size of the bush behind our table here. Yes, it's a poinsettia!! Lunch was interesting, I'll say, my favorite part was the "limenade". But our server had lived in Michigan for several months and we all tried one another's language, with spurts of laughter inbetween.

The remainder of the afternoon, we wandered the opposite side of town, more westerly. They are doing major improvement in the street and plumbing of the city so many streets were in chaos. But we poked into the sides and interior of the large church and noticed the remaining Christmas decorations still up in streets and in buildings. It was interesting that rather than the traditional red and green holiday colors, in Mazamitla, their colors were pale blue and pink. And just before we board for our drive home we partake in a rich cup of coffee in the cozy, wood-lined cafe that gave us a view of the square and the distant church facade. As we are leaving town, again we get a shot of the strong German influence here in this quaint mountain community.

Winding back down the highway towards Lake Chapala, we get a clear view of the wide, narrow water. As we turn west, along the perimeter of the lake to travel thru the small villages there, we hit a detour. Now we never really did find out what the detour was for, but it took us off the main road down the streets of San Luis Souyatlan, past their town square and domed church. Again, we turned along the lake, traveling along the town park and locals fishing. Truly, the flavor of life along more removed villages along the lake.

It had been a full, luscious day ~ we talked of taking an extended stay over in the differing flavor of Mazamitla next time we are here.

But the day is still young and, after all, it IS "Dia del Reyes". Stay tuned for the experience of another of Mexico's fascinating traditions.

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