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Author Archives: Ian

Hiking San Agustin Etla's Aqueduct Trail in Oaxaca, Mexico

Though certainly full of beautiful and rugged landscapes, as well as a growing eco-tourism sector, Mexico as a whole isn’t necessarily known for its hiking infrastructure. There are trails to be found, but these are usually present for much more practical reasons, often as an actual transportation path and not for those wishing to escape … Read more

Pulque: Mexico’s Ancient and Sacred Libation

March 25th, 2013 | Posted by Ian in Food | Mexico - (1 Comments)
Pulque in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico

When we detailed some of the differences between tequila and mezcal last month, we failed to give due credence to another drink native to central Mexico, pulque. Like its more famous descendants, pulque is made from maguey plants; however, whereas the other two are made from the baked heart of the plant and distilled, pulque is … Read more

Oaxaca’s Zócalo

March 18th, 2013 | Posted by Ian in Mexico | Parks | The Places We've Been - (3 Comments)
Oaxaca's Zocalo

Without a doubt, the center of activity in Oaxaca de Juarez is the Zócalo. Officially La Plaza de la Constitucion, plans for the Zócalo were completed in 1529. The plaza has undergone various face lifts through the centuries, but the space itself has been the city’s heart for nearly 500 years. Today a bandstand sits directly in … Read more

Monte Alban

March 12th, 2013 | Posted by Ian in Mexico | Parks | The Places We've Been - (3 Comments)
Ian and Brie at Monte Alban in Oaxacs

Just six miles west of the center of Oaxaca de Juarez lies the large pre-Columbian archaeological site of Monte Alban. Founded around 500 BCE and continuously inhabited for over one thousand years by the Zapotec culture, the site itself sits atop an artificially leveled ridge (i.e. they chopped off the top of a mountain!), 1300 … Read more

Guanajuato House

March 6th, 2013 | Posted by Ian in Lodging | Mexico | The Places We've Been - (4 Comments)
Vista Feliz Window View in Guanajuato, Mexico

Our place in Guanajuato was a perfect little place in a perfect little location. Essentially an open split-level studio, the upper level consisted of the bedroom and bathroom overlooking the living/working area and kitchen below. Highlights include: Speedy internet. After spending a month dealing with rationed satellite web access, it was a great relief to … Read more

Guanajuato Sunrise

This is an installment in an ongoing post series detailing a typical day in one of our destinations. Not everything in this schedule might happen on any given day, but it should give you a good idea of our usual activities. 6:00AM – The first rays of sunlight start hitting the peaks across town out … Read more

Mezcal vs. Tequila

February 26th, 2013 | Posted by Ian in Food | Mexico | The Places We've Been - (7 Comments)
Bottle of Mezcal

It’s safe to say nearly everyone is familiar with tequila, even if they haven’t had any intimate experiences with it. The same can’t be said, however, for tequila’s cousin, mezcal. Let’s compare and contrast: Similarities Both are produced from the heart of the agave plant (though see below on how this is also a difference). … Read more

Mercado Hidalgo

February 21st, 2013 | Posted by Ian in Mexico | The Places We've Been - (6 Comments)
Mercado Hidalgo in Guanajuato

Most decent sized Mexican towns have at least one mercado (market), where vendors come to sell foods and wares of a dizzying variety. Guanajuato is no exception. Mercado Hidalgo, which marks the unofficial eastern edge of the Centro, is a cavernous T-shaped building with an arched roof. Originally intended to be a train station (not … Read more

El Pípila and el Funicular

February 20th, 2013 | Posted by Ian in Mexico | The Places We've Been - (2 Comments)
View of el Centro de Guanajuato from El Pipila

As noted previously, El Pípila is Guanajuato’s favorite son. Born as Juan Jóse de los Reyes Martínez Amaro in 1782, his nickname is a Mexican Spanish word for turkey. According to lore, this arose either as a reference to his freckled face or to his laugh, which apparently sounded something like a turkey’s gobble. An … Read more

La Alhóndiga de Granaditas

February 18th, 2013 | Posted by Ian in Art | Mexico | The Places We've Been - (1 Comments)
Plaza de la Alhondiga de Granaditas

Though La Alhóndiga de Granaditas was originally designed and constructed to be nothing more than a place to store grain, it gained a few pages in every Mexican history book shortly after it opened its doors in 1809. Nearly square (72 meters by 68 meters), the exterior façade is simple and bare, with only a … Read more