Sunday, May 17, 2015

Closing the Circle - April 13 - 17, 2015

And - finally - we close out our Tour de Truck of Central Mexico: Durango Zacatecas Aguascalientes - Tlaquepaque y Tonala - Tequila - Tepic - Mazatlan:


The town of Santiago de Tequila (Tequila), namesake of the national drink of Mexico, is about 56 kilometers (35-ish miles) north-west of Guadalajara on the road to our next overnight stop --Tepic, Nayarit. Neither of us is all that fond of tequila the drink -- probably due to events that we can't or don't wish to fully remember. But not stopping in Tequila seemed like driving through Northern California and not visiting either Napa or Sonoma 

Just not on. 

Tourists can visit Tequila on day or overnight tours from Guadalajara that range from educational to debauched - all offering distillery tours and tastings. There's even a Tequila Train (see Napa reference above). But since we were driving and hadn't planned on spending the night in Tequila (though some of the hotels look just fine) we decided to limit our tour to a walk around town, a visit to the National Tequila Museum and lunch. 

All good calls.

               Around Town: Tequila is one of Mexico's pueblos magicos, and the approximately six-square block tourist core of the town is quite charming. 

There are charming shopping streets,

Streetscape, Tequila

A cute little plaza surrounded by cafes and two pretty churches,

Gilded Interior of Templo de Santiago Apostol
A Congregation That Is Representative Of The Communityl

Beautiful Tile Stations of the Cross in
Capilla de Los Desamparados (Chapel of the Homeless) 

And lots of places to buy . . . you guessed it, tequila:

The Real Jose Cuervo (Giant) Factory Is 
On The Guadalajara Ring Road!

               National Tequila Museum: The pueblo's tourist core contains only one distillery - the Mundo Cuervo La Rojena. But there are 16 distilleries in the area, eight of which offer tours. 

We did our exploring at the Museo Nacional del Tequila which appears to be supported by a tequila marketing association. It provides information on the history of the drink (it started out as a wine!) and a description of the production process. It also offers numerous warnings about drinking something other than "real" tequila. 

Marketing Group Member Distilleries

Tequila Art!

               Lunch: Always our favorite part of any day in Mexico - the big Mexican lunch. We chose to lunch at a restaurant named after and, it seemed, owned by one of our favorite hot sauces: Cholula! [Because it is next to the Jose Cuervo sales outlet, our guess is now that Cholula and Jose Cuervo are owned by the same giant food conglomerate.]

Just Because We Don't Love Tequila 
Doesn't Mean We Are Teetotalers

A Photo-Worthy Meal

Among our fellow Cholula fans was a large group of young folklorico dancers from Guadalajara (according to their t-shirts, anyway). When a group of Mariachis arrived, the dance group hired them for a few songs and . . . we got an informal dance performance as well!  

Bailando de Cholula!


After our lunch we drove on to Tepic, where we had arranged a  hotel room for the night.

The tourist guides don't expect that travelers will spend significant time in Tepic because, well it's a government center (capital city of the state of Nayarit) and agricultural center - but it's not a big tourist center. E.g.: The internet shows a dozen nice business class hotels in Tepic, but the Lonely Planet travel guide says there's "no reason to spend the night" there.  

Add to this the fact that we were experiencing tourist fatigue after almost two weeks of touring . . . and we decided to just stop at one of the nicer hotels along the highway (Best Western Ne Kie - Nahual for "My Home") for a swim, dinner and a good night's sleep. 

Having achieved those goals, we carried on the next day.

Our most interesting memory of Tepic is reflected in a picture that we borrowed from another blog because we couldn't get a good shot of the huge, overloaded sugar cane trucks that came rolling by on the highway. Sugar cane is one of the agricultural products of the Tepic area.  

Make Way For The Sugar Cane!

Back 'Round To Mazatlan: 

So on the 14th of April, 1400-ish kilometers (875-ish miles) and two weeks after we left, we returned to Mazatlan. 

We joined our friends from Full 'n By and Kewao for a couple of meals, got some laundry done, and made preparations for our next trip -- a tour of the Barancas de Cobre (Copper Canyon) area.

Come join us on this adventure when you have time!


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