Tag Archives: travel Mexico

Mexican Roadtrip

29 Apr

What does one do to rest while recuperating from a broken wrist (A Quiet Week In The Jungle)? Why go on a road trip of course!

 5E5979FF-4C83-487D-898C-255A7011CCA6
We have the services of a wonderful house sitter and decided to head out. Alice, my 74 year old mother-in-law with a broken wrist, is not able to do anything very strenuous.  What better place to visit than the the sleepy island paradise of Holbox.
8043D8A7-F552-45F7-BBCE-1DF35ED5EA6E

The island of murals.

 We visited Holbox three years ago (Isla Holbox) when our house was under construction. It’s hard to believe it’s been three years. The weather was perfect albeit a little toasty. This time, the island was hit with monsoon-type rains right before we got here. Walking is muddy, slippery and dangerous. We are availing ourselves of the numerous golf cart taxis that provide cheap transportation.
4D5F64D9-78BB-45A9-9CD6-E1983DFD84B2
Alice is agog with so many things to look at. We are here for a few days so no need to hurry. We’ll probably rent a golf cart and tour the island on our own.
48E8880F-33D3-428A-92BE-CF35698DC540

The center square surrounded by shops and restaurants.

There is also a boat tour to see birds and maybe a flamingo or two. Alice will be thrilled. Weather report says no rain for the next few days. Fingers crossed.
DOS TORTAS
B13FB853-28A6-44FC-A7E7-6D4CF24F55F1

Merida, City of Wonder

18 Feb

Merida is the capital of the state of Yucatan, and a colonial city of over two million people. The Spanish influence can be seen everywhere as can the Mayan people who inhabit the city. 

C301FA1C-FFAB-4696-8475-A8148F910194

Mayan flower vendor in traditional dress.

The tropical climate, endless cultural events, and low cost of living make it attractive to expatriates from all over the world. Within a few hours drive you can visit several magical cities, flamingo nesting sites, and Mayan pyramids.

01C862F1-D80F-4768-90D3-1346C9C9F419

The ancient Mayan city of Mayapan.

And then there’s the pristine beaches. It is no wonder that Merida is one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico.

9D86C329-B790-449D-8007-138F5C0A14A3

Isla Holbox sunset. Not far from Merida.

 

A0E5A4F5-833E-450B-9FE2-F490549E750B

Renovated Hacienda Santa Cruz, come for dinner or a luxury stay. Painting by Teresa Bland.

There are many wonderful museums.

0E7952E1-F9D6-4C6F-9B96-2791E3FE975E

Elegant Mayan woman.

53F3AD2B-EC1E-412D-8427-7F32FC32ADF5

Campesino-Mayan Farmer 

Whether coming for a visit or to renovate and create your own Mexican home away, Merida is a gem.

F51D28C6-CEA8-4A41-B2F7-69A1B6132234

My friend’s courtyard art.

A busy place with Uber to help you navigate. Do let us know if you’re visiting. Bacalar is a four hour drive in a first class bus. We just might join you.

DOS TORTAS 

D9CAE6F4-122C-4256-923D-77DF3624A538

 

Life’s Unexpected Treasures

15 Oct

I wish I could say that arriving in the colonial city of Puebla was dejavú, but the truth is, nothing looked familiar. I first visited Puebla in 1973, staying in a boarding house for the first month of studies at the University of the Americas in nearby Cholula. In August 2017, it is a bustling modern city that’s kept much of its old-world beauty and charm. We were pleasantly surprised.

845D8EEB-237A-437F-9125-88A5F1FA237B

The convent of San Francisco one of the oldest churches in Puebla circa 1535

I had reserved an Airbnb in the historic district and spent a bit more money than usual. We were not disappointed. In Mexico it is common to walk an unremarkable street of high privacy walls and intriguing doorways. We stepped through one of those doors to inner city paradise.

98D4A034-D6FC-4566-94DE-84594A574255

During our stay, our hosts directed us to the best mole (MÓ lay); is there any OTHER reason to go to Puebla? We wandered exquisite old churches, artist markets, homes converted into museums, and even a free concert. I did not expect to fall in love with Puebla. This city is definitely a contender for retirement locations.

E7A33F49-66DD-420D-A762-4682142EE953

Tres moles – poblano, rojo and my new favorite pipian (pumpkinseed)

No trip to Puebla would be complete without a visit to La Estrella de Puebla, the Star of Puebla, a very large ferris wheel. After some deep breathing I joined Lisa the adventurer and I’m so glad I did. No fear!

126F86D2-E9D0-407B-9CB4-B28332CA5FF1

The weather made this adventure challenging, but we did not give up.

Puebla was so much fun and worth the time. Our AirBnB hosts certainly added to the experience.

DBF28250-2116-4984-BB9F-29CB107322DC

Luis and Malu (who fed us many local delights).

The world is filled with many delightful people and places. Puebla unexpectedly is near the top of our list.

DOS TORTAS 

DCE55BAB-45E9-4EE5-AD6E-D738AF2F328A

The Crying Tree

10 Sep

Just to be clear, the tree wasn’t crying, I was. Day one of our visit to Oaxaca in Central Mexico, about five hours south of Mexico City, we joined a tour with a bi-lingual guide to visit the archeological site of Mitla, a place I had visited over forty years ago.

IMG_0291

The step-fret designs are individually cut stones. No mortar is involved.

We took a couple of tours while in Oaxaca. They were cheap, $20 each for the entire day, cold water provided. The guides were very knowledgeable. We stopped for lunch at great local restaurants and the groups were small, maybe eight people. It helps that we were visiting during the slow season.  It rained most days, but it never slowed us down.

IMG_0337

I kept forgetting to bring my “before” pictures with me.

When I visited Mitla in 1975, it was located off a dirt road in the high dessert. I was in awe as I walked the archeological site. The site hasn’t changed much but boy have the surroundings. It is now situated in the middle of a large community that services the many bus loads of tourists arriving daily. I can’t even imagine it during high season.

On the way to Mitla we stopped at the Tule Tree. I had never heard of it. It is the tree with the largest circumference in the world, 137 feet around!

IMG_0285

Located in the Zapotecan village of Santa Maria del Tule, Oax.

For some reason I was overcome with grief looking at this beautiful 2,000 year old tree. She knew the ancients, saw the slaughter of the indigenous people, lived through revolution after revolution, and now stands witness to the insanity of our times. Maybe it was me, but I sensed sadness and wept. I wonder if she knew an earthquake was coming to her land two weeks later that would kill many people?

IMG_0284

Feeling emotional.

One more stop to see a petrified waterfall. We didn’t quite beat the rain, but it was worth the  trek.

IMG_0293

Sulphuric spring pools to the left.

We had a full day with eight more to go. There was so much more to see and do. Stay tuned. DOS TORTAS

IMG_1899

 

 

 

The Long Trip Home

30 Apr

After a twenty hour return trip from our vacation to Austin Texas, the Tortas are very glad to be home. No, it doesn’t normally take that long, but we had a five-hour layover in Dallas. It’s a long story.

IMG_6316

A great find tucked away at the end of a hallway in the Dallas airport allowed us to work out the kinks. Every airport needs a yoga studio.

IMG_6319.JPG

Lisa is a veteran so we checked out the USO.

IMG_6318

What a welcoming spirit and comfy chairs to pass the time!

A shout out goes to our house sitters Paul and Natasha. We returned to healthy, happy dogs and a home much as we left it.

IMG_6325

Puppy kisses from Luna who was very happy to see us.

After sailing through customs, we met up with Lisa’s mom in Cancun. She was arriving from California. Our travel was not particularly stressful, just long.  It is great to be home.

DOS TORTAS

IMG_6330

Mexican Expat Life

18 Dec

Sometimes adventure is not WHAT you visit, pyramids, churches, mercados, etc. but WHO you meet along the way. Join the TORTAS as we venture out from our home in Bacalar along the Costa Maya to explore parts unknown (at least to us).

img_5393

To celebrate a Torta birthday this week, we visited the pueblo of Puerto Morelos nestled between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Little did we know that this cozy fishing village is an exploding tourist town and expatriate destination.

img_5351

Guatemalan boys walking the beach looking for tourist pesos.

Something lacking in the far reaches of southern Mexico that we call home, is an English language bookstore. What a surprise to find Alma Libre Bookstore. 

img_5377

Rob and Joanne Birce

Not only are Rob and Joanne long time residents of this sleepy little town, Rob went to school with our friend and fellow Bacalar resident, Mitch! We were immediately family and Joanne told us all the best places to eat in Puerto Morelos.

img_5359

Visit their website for all things Puerto Morelos.

At Joanne’s recommendation we dined at La Sirena and met the owner Anthony Chalas from my home state of New Jersey. Greek food in Mexico, yum!

img_5399

Great artwork for a photo op.

img_5402

Caribbean sea turtle mural.

On our two day tour of Puerto Morelos, we got to visit the local mercado and meet Ann Trépanier, French Canadian and artist extraordinaire.

img_5381

Making art from recycled plastic. My kinda gal!

Ann makes “fabric” from heating together layered plastic bags. She is passionate about the environment and the changes she sees in her precious little town due to unregulated tourism.

img_5386

I wish I’d bought all her bags. Contact her at welovepuertomorelos@yahoo.com

There was one more astonishing encounter with a restaurant manager, but that is a story for another day. Travel in Mexico is full of opportunities. Do venture out of the all-inclusive hotel compounds. Not only will you meet lovely Mexican people and fellow fearless travelers but expats from around the world who live, love and fight to protect Mexico’s resources. Do tell them “hello” from

DOS TORTAS

img_1791

 

A Day In The Life

24 Jul

Living on Laguna Bacalar, three kilometers (2 miles) from the pueblo of Bacalar makes for a vida muy tranquilo

image

We didn’t know about the magnificent sunrises when we moved here.

Up with the sun about six thirty. Lisa starts the day making coffee while Luna and I walk down to the dock to photograph the sunrise. It’s been our ritual since she was a puppy. She waits at the back door impatiently every morning.

image

We watch the fish, listen to the birds and watch the day come alive.

image

Our rickety dock.

Meditation and exercise play a daily part of the routine. On this day it was an exercise video with Alice, Lisa’s mother. Luna likes to join in.

image

On alternative days we’re off to the gym. This week we had a visit with blog follower Heather and son Jonathan. What a treat when people travel to Bacalar after reading the blog.

image

A trip to the pirate fort and picture in front of the mural is a must when visiting Bacalar.

We visited shops featuring local art and sampled snow cones shaved from a block of ice right before our eyes. We had our choice of homemade tropical fruit toppings, pineapple, lime, tamarind, nance and more.

image

Light and refreshing, not like the syrupy sweet snow cones we’re used to.

What day would be complete without a parade!

I’m not sure what the parade was for, but we never need a special reason to celebrate life in Bacalar. DOS TORTAS

Be sure to follow us on Pinterest and Instagram at dos_tortas.

image

Mother-in-Law Adventure

29 May

I’ve been wanting to take my MIL to Mahahual since she arrived to live with us in December. It’s an hour and half drive to the Caribbean coast, around the top of Laguna Bacalar, here in the southern-most part of Mexico.

image

From Bacalar we traveled around the Laguna to the yellow square that is Mahahual.

A friend gifted us a night in a hotel which was the perfect opportunity to pack an overnight bag and catch a one pm. shuttle from Bacalar.

image

Porto Coral on the beach.

Mahahual used to be a sleepy little village. The addition of a huge pier to accommodate cruise ships changed everything.

image

We cruised the malecon, pedestrian walkway, lined with restaurants, vendors and shops. Alice, who lives to shop was in heaven.

image

A creative way to display glass hearts for sale.

We found Restaurante Las Chiquitas on Trip Advisor and had a lovely dinner.

image

And then there was breakfast on the beach the following morning.

image

The town is pretty deserted when the cruise ships are not in port.

It was just the right amount of time for people-watching, swimming, eating and shopping. A perfect bonding trip for Alice and me. Catching the combi (shuttle) was easy. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day we find a note on Alice’s door that says “gone to Mahahual, back whenever”. DOS TORTAS

image

Aqua-Terra Firma-Cuisine

20 Mar

Visitors think that three to five days is about right for a trip to Laguna Bacalar Mexico. Of course USers never have adequate vacation, so they exhaust themselves trying to relax and do it all. There is a British couple and their three children renting next door for two months. Now that’s a vacation!

image

AQUA
Topping a to-do list is all things water. Swimming is obvious, but kayaking, boating (motor and sail), stand-up paddle and wind surfing are readily available. There is also a must visit to Cenote Azul, a unique swimming experience.

image

Cenote Azul also provides a cuisine destination.

image

Sunrise Kayaking

TERRA FIRMA

If water sports are not your favorite, maybe land activities such as climbing pyramids (with monkey viewing) bird watching, visiting a museum in a genuine pirate fort or a walking tour of small town Mexico will interest you.

image

Howler monkeys rocked the jungle when we visited Dzibanche

CUISINE

Let us not forget activities of the culinary sort.

image

Chema, owner extraordinaire of La Playita, eat-drink-swim, best of Bacalar

image

Eating at Hotel Laguna, best view in town.

The most important activity by far is not an activity at all, it’s spending serious time DOING NOTHING. Whether it’s kicking back on our roof, sunning on the dock or taking a nap in the hammock, a trip to Bacalar must include time to listen to the quiet and enjoy the breeze.

image

Luna knows the fine art of siesta

image

Up on the roof

So you see, a visit to Bacalar can not possibly fit into 3-5 days. And this isn’t ALL of it. Please share the blog with friends on Facebook and as always, your comments are appreciated. DOS TORTAS

image

Ciudad de México – Part Dos

19 Jul

In preparing for my layover in Mexico City, I searched Air B&B for someplace simple and near the airport. I found a small hostel and booked a room for the night. We have had a few experiences with hostels. In Turkey we met travelers from all over the world, a range of ages and in various states of jet lag. A hostel usually has kitchen privileges and breakfast provided. Rooms can be shared in bunk bed fashion with bathroom down the hall. I read the reviews, booked a private room for a few more pesos and was glad to have a reservation. I got a taxi at the airport when I landed and was off.

Aguascalientes #33

Aguascalientes #33

I arrived at an attractive entrance and offloaded my bags.

Stairs to upper rooms.

Stairs to upper rooms. Hostels are always funky yet interesting.

Everything appeared clean and bright. I was offered my choice of two rooms and selected the lower level to avoid climbing stairs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. At that point things began to go downhill for me. The owner smoked in the common area. Not great, but not a deal breaker. I then noticed the strong smell of cleaning chemicals in my room. My asthmatic lungs began to resist. Not sure what to do, I left the room open to air out and headed to the Frieda Kalo Museum.

Brushes hung from the easel.

Brushes hung from the easel.

Inspiration for the studio we are building.

Inspiration for the studio we are building.

The entire visit to the museum is chronicled In Mexico City – Frieda Kalo Museum. The rain became heavy as I left the museum but I knew I wasn’t ready to return to the hostel. The taxi driver had told me that the surrounding neighborhood of Coyoacán had restaurants and arts and crafts vendors. That was all he needed to say for me to brave the elements and throw my jacket over my head.

Typical baskets of Central Mexico.

Typical baskets of Central Mexico.

I LOVE the surprises of turning down an alley and finding a huge colorful mercado full of people searching for dinner, shopping or getting out of the rain. The colors and fragrances from the many stalls made me a happy Torta.

Wouldn't you love to have this in your neighborhood?

Wouldn’t you love to have this in your neighborhood?

I wandered up and down the aisles, poking my head in the shops to ooo and ahhh.

Some stalls had organic produce.

Some stalls had organic produce.

I wish I had taken more pictures, but sometimes it is necessary to breathe in an experience without recording it. I found a food stall for dinner and reluctantly returned to the hostel as I was getting tired and still had a trip to California waiting the next day. The room was ok. I managed to sleep and make my early flight. I have made reservations for my return at another location. On Tuesday I return to Mexico. It’s been wonderful to visit my daughter and her family. It’s time to finish our house so that we can be here in the fall for the birth of our grandson. Besides, I miss my sweetheart Lisa.

Healdsburg, CA

Healdsburg, CA

image

Hokett Would Work

A premier maker of fine weaving tools and equipment

The Soulful Word

Woo-woo words for heart-centred women, spiritual leaders and goddess warriors on a mission to impact millions

View From Casita Colibrí

gringa musings from a rooftop terrace in Oaxaca

Your Hand in Mind

Musings of a human factors engineer after her brain was released...

Our House In...

Living where we are

Creative Hands of Mexico

Handcrafts, folk art and more

Surviving Yucatan

Smoothing out Mexico's rough spots.

A Boy and Her Dog

Traversing the Border between Butch and Transgender

Surviving Mexico

Adventures and Disasters

emilievardaman

travel and random thoughts

Just Another Moment in Paradise

Snippets of an Adventure's Life in Cozumel, Mexico

Perking the Pansies

Jack Scott's random ramblings

Mexico Retold

There's more to Mexico than meets the media

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

The Amazon Express

From the most distant source to the sea.

Compass & Camera

Travel, Culture, Life

Biketrash Holiday

Adventures on Two Wheels!

%d bloggers like this: