Pilgrimages & Tequila, Southern Mexico

A Pilgrimage to La Virgen de Juquila

I decided to take a detour and join the many Mexican pilgrims (peregrinos) on their journey to La Virgen de Juquila, a sacred site up in the mountains of La Sierra Madre del Sur. Along the way I biked and camped with hundreds of people who came from surrounding cities in Mexico, all making their way to pay tribute to La Virgen.

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A Oaxaca

Oxacans are known for their festive parades through the streets. This was La Calenda parade for La Virgen de la Soledada. The music, dancing, dresses, giant dolls, and religious figures made for the strongest display of culture I have seen so far.

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IMG_3153 Some of the members of the Oaxaca Night Runners Club after their night run up and down one of Oaxaca's hills

Oaxacans love to make tlayudas with big tortillas, local cheese, and occasionally crickets

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IMG_3080 View looking down into the Oaxacan valley from one of the taller pueblos, Benito Juarez, over 10k ft

IMG_3054The streets of El Pueblo de Amatlan were filled with signs with short sayings. These read "Only the wise discuss. The rest impose their ideas" and "The only value: respect; and everything would be perfect

IMG_3344Some of the many dancing doll figures in the parade

Los Mexicanos celebrate the 9 days leading up to Christmas with Posadas, big parties with song, prayer, tasty food and the distribution of sweets as shown in the video

IMG_3359View of the impressive Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman in Oaxaca city

IMG_3146Just outside of Oaxaca is one of only two beautiful petrified waterfalls in the world

IMG_3119Detailed designs inside the small ruins of Mitla

IMG_3103El Arbol de Tule has the world's largest tree trunk. They wouldn't let me climb it.

IMG_3027Thank you spring water of Sierra Juarez for being cool and delicious

IMG_3021View from the lovely Sierra Juarez mountains

 

Monte Alban ruins

David&I_MonteAlban My new great friend David and I had the Monte Alban ruins all to ourselves after we biked up the hill during sunriseIMG_3325 Monica, Angie and Tynia

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MonteAlbanMorningBikersSome members of the Oaxaca Night Runners joined for the morning ride

IMG_3203Some of the designs inside the ancient buildings

Mezcal, the Father of Tequila

IMG_3065 The Mezcal plant maguey takes from seven to 70 years to mature

IMG_3152Inside one of the Mezcal fabricas

IMG_3038These massive earth ovens sit on the mountain sides outside of Oaxaca, cooking the maguey plant's pina for several days before fermentation and distillation. Mexicans have a saying about Mezcal: "Para todo mal, Mezcal, Para todo bien, tambien." "When things are bad, mezcal, when things are good, mezcal also."

Veracruz

Edgar and Suzana give us a taste of Son Jarocho, music native to their state of Veracruz

IMG_2972 The streets were filled with these tractors pulling huge loads of sugar cane. A tractors destination is a big sugar processing plant in the background

IMG_2934 Taken on this foggy Saint Nicholas Day

IMG_2929 This kind family of farmers treated me to a delicious taco lunch on the road

IMG_2931Corn fields in high country near Perote, MexicoIMG_2962Many of the trees in Mexico are white washed at the trunks, especially in parks around the cities. I have heard this is to keep animals away and just for decoration. The people of Veracruz painted some of the trees extra specially.