Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Antigua to Mexico and back...

Late August Richard and I went to Antigua for a week.  
We had found a Doctor and a Dentist that both spoke English.  
As we were overdue for full check ups.

They were both wonderful, extremely thorough, both of us getting a clean bill of health.

Our friend Belinda (and her husband Ken), had arrived in Antigua, prior to Ken heading to Aussie to visit his Mum, and Belinda staying on for a week to go to Spanish School, then flying to Mexico to go on the "Copper Canyon" train trip.

This all sounded fantastic, so I joined her.

Richard headed back to Our Rose to carry on with all the maintenance work 
and I skived off for 3 weeks.

 The property in Antigua where our Spanish School (and accommodation) was located right in town - the grounds and gardens were lovely, 


with a swimming pool and tennis court.

My teacher, Gloria was wonderful - extremely patient with me!


Toward the end of the week, Gloria took us (Belinda & her teacher also) to her village (San Juan), where we visited the Catholic Church...


Chocolate Factory, and local wine maker...


 Belinda and I then flew to Mexico City, where we had 3 nights.

We visited the Freda Kahlo Museum.  Her artwork was extraordinary





Driving back to the National Palace, we came across to most beautiful gowns...
These are designed by an extremely talented Mexican, whose gowns all tell a story


 When Belinda saw a sign for "Cricket Tacos" she had to try them...
Her first "survey" of the crunchy cricket...


followed by the actual taco, with varying size crickets on it...
(I was a chicken and did not partake)


We flew from Mexico city to Los Mochas, then  onto El Fuerte.   From here we went to Bachuichico, then onto Pasada Barranca.  We had a wonderful trip.  I took so many photos that I hope this small selection shows the beautiful country we experienced...

Sweat Lodge at El Fuerte
Our "Chariot" that took us to a boat for a bird watching trip (Belinda is a keen birdwatcher)...

Accommodation at Bahuichivo

View at Urique
Belinda taking a photo - it is "extremely steep"


We went horse riding - my horse had a 2 month old foal, who joined us on the ride...


We let the horses have a break, and stopped at this beautiful spot...


 Bird Watching was a main part of the trip, and Belinda was seen like this often...


Mario told us that the people still believe very strongly in the old ways, they have shrines at water springs (as water is life).  The Sweat Lodge is like a womb, so you come out "born again", with your emotional baggage left behind.  The people are also extremely religious, following the Jesuit religion.  We found it to be an interesting mix of religion and traditional ways...




Belinda loved the train journey...


Coming from New Zealand, it is still a shock when we see people with guns, and in this part of the world, they are everywhere.  There are guards with "big" guns outside every store (even bakeries)
There were at least 6 armed guards on the train with us (all with AK47's or similar)...


 The Copper Canyon boasts to be 4 times larger than the Grand Canyon.  However it is far greener, with a higher rainfall...



You can see why this is call Yogi Bear Rock Formation...



Over looking some of the Canyon is truly spectacular, with sheer drops...




Watching the sunrise at Pasada Barranca was spectacular... 



 I loved spending time taking lots of photos...  The scenery, birdlife and people 
were spectacular and colourful...






We were in El Fuerte for Mexican Independence.  
It transformed from a quiet sleepy town to a huge fiesta.  

The dancing horse competition was amazing...


It was a great trip and heading back to the Rio Dulce would hold some unexpected  turn of events...

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