Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mazamitla - a magic town

Friends of ours go to the beach every year and rent a condo in the city of Manzanillo. Manaznillo is in the state of Colima about an 8 hour drive from San Miguel. So this year we were their guests for two weeks. Since Elenita and I always enjoy discovering new things we decided to start our trip in the Pueblo Mágico  town of Mazamitla. Mazamitla is located in the state of Jalisco in the mountains 7,200 feet above the southern end of Lake Chapala. The town in the weekend home to many citizens of Guadalajara which is only 1 1/2 hours north.

It took us a little longer to get there then we had anticipated because once we left the toll road we had to drive mountain roads for a good hour. However, it was truly worth the drive. Mazamitla is like mountain towns in Europe with buildings like Swiss Chalets and little cabins. Many of buildings in the plaza are made with wood fronts and wood balconies giving this town a definite mountain look. Our hotel the Best Western was within walking distance to the town center. Our little cabin had a queen size bed with a wood burning fire place which we definitely needed for the cold evenings.

We checked into our cabin and then we were off in search for a early dinner. After the drive I decided I wanted a good steak. We found a restaurant based on a recommendation. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a disappointment. After eating we went to explore the central part of town. This town could by far be one of the most beautiful we have seen in Mexico. The photos below show the central part of the town with the church and buildings surrounding the plaza.

After a little exploring we purchased a bottle of wine and went back to our little cabin and started a fire, rested and made plans for Saturday.  We decided to have breakfast at the hotel Saturday morning. Afterwards we headed into town for a morning walk around the central part of town before we headed  into the country for our long hike.

We drove to a neighborhood with beautiful country homes for our hike to the water falls. This hike felt like walking through the mountains around Lake Tahoe. Some of the homes and gardens were beautiful with a mountain feel. This hike round trip took us about 4 hours. Some of the homes below.

After the walk through the neighborhood the trail went down toward the water falls for about a 1/2 mile.

After resting by the falls and taking photos we then made our way back through the neighborhood to our car. Once back in central we searched again for a restaurant with a good steak to make up for the day before. This time we used our judgement and not a recommendation. We happen to find a gem of a restaurant and had a really great steak lunch with quality steaks. We were happy eaters and ready to explore again. After lunch we walked around the town for a few hours going in and out of shops and talking with different people. The was again relaxing in the room which was a little warmer this evening.  Sunday morning after breakfast we started our drive to Manzanillo through the beautiful mountain scenery. We arrive in Manzanillo around lunch time.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

Working in the Jardin

Even for Mexico the weather has been unusually warm. It was 81 yesterday when I decided to work in the garden. I was pruning and cleaning up when one of my cats was meowing up a storm. I kept telling him to stop and be quiet. He was looking up at something and and I thought he was trying to get a bug. This is usually what they do and then they give them to me as gifts.  So I walk over to the area where the cat was to prune this big bougainvillaea. I look up to begin pruning and I said "Holy &%$# there's a snake". I quickly moved away. At this point I am not sure of its size except it was fairly thick. So I begin to look for the head and the tail and I then I realize this think is big. I tell my wife and she comes out to look at it also and we decide to call the department of ecologia to remove this creature. By now the snake starts moving and I realize it is about 3 feet long and I can tell it is not a rattle snake, Thank God. It looks like it is going to go over the wall to my neighbors house. I then knock on their door but I get no answer. Wow here comes the two guys from ecologia and for the next 30 minutes they managed to capture and bag the creature. At this point I decided not to finish working in the garden today.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Yesterday, July 12, 2012 we were very fortunate to have been invited to a wonderful place for an afternoon of food, fun and friends. Our friends Kip and Marjann out of the kindness of their hearts invited us along with 14 other people to a wonderful afternoon in the country.

The above photo is the view of the house as you drive up the driveway.   Our day started with drinks, appetizers and wonderful  conversations with some old and new friends. Some of us men then went off to play Bocce ball.

After a little fun of bocce ball we headed to the outdoor dinning room for an incredible lunch of salmon, vegetables, a wonderful pear salad and wine. After a bit of resting we then had a choice of 3 wonderful deserts, lime coconut pie, a mango cobbler, or a rich chocolate cake with cup of espresso.  Our views from the outdoor dinning room.

After dinner some of us went into the little theater to watch excerpts of Andrew Lloyd Webber's music productions on a beautifully painted movie screen. A great time was had by all. We felt like we were living in fantasy land for 4 hours.  Thank you Kip and Marjann

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Magic Towns

Elenita and I love to travel around Mexico and visit little friendly towns. We read magazines specific to travel around Mexico. Mexico created a classification called Pueblo Mágico's. This is a designation that chooses towns with special character, history and beauty. Reading one magazine about travel in our neighboring state of  Querétaro we discovered a new pueblo mágico called Cadereyta. We decided to visit Cadereyta with our friend Lena visiting from Santa Cruz, California.

Of course living in a Catholic society some of the most famous buildings in these towns are the churches. Cadereyta is about a 1 1/2 hour drive from San Miguel. The church above on the left was constructed in 1754.

We visited the churches and walked through the plaza stopping at vendor stalls admiring some of the art work for sale.

Look what we discovered at the end of the plaza a vendor selling sweets and nuts.

We purchased some snacks and continue on exploring this beautiful this little town with amazingly clean streets. The people we met during our exploration were wonderful and very helpful. At one point we walked into a cultural center which was once an old Hacienda. Elenita and Lena walked ahead while I was taking photos. When I started looking for them I discovered they had gone into the back. As I entered the room they were in I discovered an amazing show. There was an artist working on a portrait of the Virgin of Guadalupe. He was making it out of little seeds. The difference with this artist is that he had now hands and he was creating this master piece using a tool in is mouth to pick up the seeds. On the walls of the room were many different oil paintings that were also works of this artist. This was an amazing site to say the least.

Our adventure now took us to a beautiful botanical garden in another part of the town.  This botanical garden is maintain by a University in Querétaro and displays different levels of regional desert landscape.  This part of Querétaro is the bottom part of the Chihuahuan desert.

Our travels will continue.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Life back in San Miguel

Our first week back in San Miguel was fairly uneventful. We relaxed and rested. Then I started back with my Spanish Classes.  The Cuban Festival arrived the second week of March and the Tallboys Band from Ajiic played on Friday and Saturday March 16 and 17. We started falling right back into the San Miguel life style . We invited friends over for dinner and went out to dinners with friends.   We did are usual Costco, Home Depot run in Calaya.  We spent time with winter friends who were getting ready to head back to their home towns. Semana Santa (holy week) arrives the first week of April.

Crossing the Border

On January 27, 2011 we left Arizona for San Carlos, Mexico. We crossed the border in Nogales,AZ. and Nogales, Sonora. In 5 hours we were on the beach in San Carlos, Mexico for the weekend. Unfortunately, the weather was not great beach weather. There were cool temps and a lot of wind. The place we rented was very inexpensive because they were working on the pool area.  However, we still had a wonderful time listening to live music and relaxing. Our next stop is the longest drive of our trip 10 hours of which 2 were our mistake because we missed the place to get our car sticker to allow us to bring our car into Mexico and had to back track. We arrived in Mazatlan around 7:30 in the evening. Here we stayed at the Holiday Inn right across the street from a Cuban Restaurant.  Mazatlan is a nice place for a two day stop over.  The main reason we stop in Mazatlan is because it is at least 5 to 6 hours away from anything.

Heading South:

Our favorite beach town Ricon de Guayabitos did not have a place for us to stay so we headed to San Pancho (San Francisco) which was about 20 minutes down the road. We rented a little casita in the back of a main house for one week. The place consisted of one main house and three casitas with an outdoor kitchen. We were very lucky because for 5 of the 7 days we were alone. We had a fresh fish store about a block away and had some wonderful meals. San Pancho is a very small town were the night life pretty much shuts down at 10:00 pm. After one week we were ready to move father south.

Our favorite little beach town of La Manzanilla is about 3 1/2 hours down the coast.  Unfortunately, there is no way to bypass the city of Puerto Vallarta. Not only was there traffic but they were also working on a two lane road the circled around the city. Oh well it is what it is. We had a beautiful drive down the coast arriving in La Manzanilla in the late afternoon. Since we were only going to be here for two weeks we decided to save some money and stay in a small hotel instead of a vacation rental. The hotel Tonala was clean, inexpensive and centrally located.

Our two weeks consisted of visiting with friends, walking the beach in the mornings, traveling around the area and just simply resting. Unfortunately, we had rain for two days. It is amazing how boring the beach can be when there is rain and you are in a little hotel. We made the best of it though. We had a couple of musicians staying at the hotel who entertained us. We did a lot of reading and watching movies on the computer.  

After La Manzanilla we head about 40 minutes south to spend 6 nights with friends in the city of Manzanillo. They rented a condo right on the beach and we had our own bedroom. We had a wonderful time rediscovering the city we had been to two years ago. We had a very relaxing time with our new friends Kip and Marjan.  After 6 days we headed back to San Miguel. The 8 hour plus drive was uneventful and after 5 months we finally arrived back home.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Okay, I admit I have been bad in working on this blog. We arrived at our condo on October 11, 2011 after driving through some of the most beautiful landscape in the world ( my opinion of course). We drove up US395 through the center of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. We spent several hours in Death Valley and then headed through the mountain pass to spend two days in the June Lake area. 

After June Lake we went to breakfast in Lee Vining,CA and then into Yosemite the most beautiful place on earth.  After spending 5+ hours in Yosemite we then headed to the Bay Area and our condo in Antioch, CA. 35 miles east of the beautiful city of San Francisco. For four years we have been renting our condo to a friend and now we want it back for ourselves. So for one month we were  fixing up our condo to our tastes. Painting, new windows, and a new floor in the living and dining area. This condo is small but now we realized we don't really need that much more. It is about the beautiful outdoor areas that make this a beautiful place to live, hike, bike, walk, just relax and enjoy. 

Our 3 months in northern Cal consisted of hiking, day travels, visiting family and friends. We had Thanksgiving with Elenita's daughter and son at her daughter's house with family members of her boyfriend. Then came Christmas which we cooked for my two children and Elenita's son Jason. Both occasions were very nice and a lot of fun spending times with our children. These holidays were my first in the states in four years.  On Monday, January 16th with Jason (Elenita's son and my life saver) we headed to LA to visit family for one week. Jason and I discovered some wonderful beer places and some wonderful beer. This again was fun visiting with family and seeing sites in So. Cal. On the 23rd we left So. Cal. in the rain. We had rain for about 100 miles until we reached Palm Springs. We made it to Phoenix, Az. that night and spent 3 nights  at a little oasis in Paradise Valley at a friends house. From here we spent one night in Tucson, Az. We are discovering some nice things about sites to see in Arizona.  On the 27th of January we headed into Mexico.