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~ Russ & Naomi

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Puerto Peñasco to Guadalajara, to Tlaquepaque, to Tequila and onto Chapala

Wow what a trip we just had.

Naomi and I and two of our close friends decided to scout out central Mexico, it was their first time and for us it has been a while since we were there.

We started our exploration by taking the morning (not so) express bus from Peñasco to Hermosillo the State capital of Sonora.  We stayed the night in a fabulous hotel that was just over the top quality for not very much money.  The next morning saw us getting on a plane at the unbelievably early hour of 5:30. Our plane had a name, it was Jose'.

In a short 2.5 hours we were touching down in the beautiful city of Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco.  It is a huge city with about 8 million or so inhabitants.

We hired a taxi at the airport and about 20 minutes later found ourselves in Tlaquepaque, a sort of artistic suburb of Guadalajara.  We walked and shopped and looked and tasted everything as we went along.  I even tried a beer made from Agave cactus, it was sweet and I rather liked it.  

The boutique hotel we stayed in that night was very centrally located to restaurants and entertainment so we were able to explore the town on foot. Visit this place when you get a chance, you will fall in love with it.

The next day we were off to Tequila Jalisco.  Our plan was to take a taxi to the Central bus station and use public transportation to get there.  It is about 2 hours away from downtown Guadalajara, our plans changed when we told our taxi driver what our plans were.  He said "I can take you there"  I had no idea how much a taxi ride for two hours would be, I thought it would be outrageous but this guy took 4 of us 2 hours to Tequila for 800 pesos (about 44.00 usd) That was amazing.

A few words on the magical place known as Tequila......when we go there we want to stay in a little hotel right on the main plaza.  We do this because every Friday and Saturday night there is something festive happening in the plaza.  On normal quiet days it is so  nice to have a cup of coffee or your favorite Tequila sitting in the plaza watching as the little village wakes up.

Tequila is a very pretty, proud place!

The town of Tequila is kind of like a work of art that lives.  Walking down the alleys and side streets you find so many interesting things.  Maybe you want a shlocky tourist gift?  Maybe you want serious art?  Maybe you just want to taste food and drink?  It's all here and in no particular order.  We have had simple pleasures here as well as other experiences while visiting this place.

Jose Cuervo does a special bottle each year

On a tour of the Jose Cuervo plant I discovered something I never knew before. When Cuervo makes their top of the line Tequila (Reserva de la familia) the entire plant is reworked for a whole week.  All of the processes to make Tequila change for this one bottle.  Once it is made it rest in oak barrels for up to 5 years.  If you have a chance to try Reserva de La Familia you will get a sense of the quality and pride that goes into each bottle, you will also spend some money, it is rare and it is not cheap.  It is worth every peso though.

The land around the town of Tequila is rich.  Agaves are everywhere of course. But so is corn.  Lately, because of similar processes, lots of whiskey is being made in this little town, this is a new thing from the last time we were here.

When you go to Tequila be sure to take every tour that you can.  It is not expensive and you will learn so much.  Below is a picture of a guy demonstrating how each plant needs to be harvested.  There are no machines that can do this work.  These plants are 8-12 years old before they are ready.  The piña or center of the plant is what is needed for the production of the drink, each piña  has enough juice in it for 6-8 liters of product the rest is used as fertilizer or padding or........

Lovely - lovely Tequila.  The smell in the air, the way it wakes up in the morning, the amazing food culture that has begun, all of this makes Tequila a place you need to visit.

(To be continued...........)

I thought I would write about the whole trip in one piece but it turns out I need to break it up - next up......Historic Guadalajara!  Stay tuned.

Listen to the song!