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  • Jim & Carol: Amacueca Part 1 of 2: Colonial pueblo on a hille

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    Jim wrote: Informal vegetable market under one of the plaza's arcades. This is exactly the sort of activity envisioned by Spain's King Phillip II when he promulgated his 1573 decree on New World urban planning. He directed that arcades should be constructed around plazas so that sellers and buyers could be protected from the elements. Consequently, arcades similar to this one can be found throughout Mexico.

    In this two-part series, we will visit Amacueca, a small town founded in the mid-16th century. Part 1 will focus on the central area, including the plaza, the main church, and a museum devoted to natural history and archeology. Part 2 will cover Parroquia del Dulce Nombre de Jesus, a church dating back to the 16th century. ...

    Amacueca from the air, looking northeast. The pueblo was built on the slopes of the great escarpment that rises up to the Tapalpa Plateau. Just left of center in the photo, you can see the plaza and the bell tower of the Parroquia. In front of the bell tower is a large, open rectangular area called an atrium. This was a standard feature of most early colonial churches, particularly those built by the Franciscan Order. ...

    Lots more photos and info at Jim & Carole's Mexico Adventure: Amacueca Part 1 of 2: Colonial pueblo on a hille. More #JimAndCarole

    Carole and I live in Ajijic, a village on the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake. During our travels in Mexico, we have found a startling cultural mix from ancient pre-hispanic to the 21st Century.Jim of Jim and Carol
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  • The Slot Canyons of La Cañada Part 2 of 2: the Middle Canyon, the 2nd Slot, and the Hidden Valley

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    Jim wrote: Hikers pick their way through jumbled boulders along the base of the Second Slot. This is the most dramatic slot canyon on the route, with soaring walls on either side. Part 1 of this two-part series covered the approach to La Cañada Canyon, the First Slot, and part of the Middle Canyon. In Part 2, we'll continue through the Middle Canyon to the Second Slot and the Hidden Valley.

    La Cañada Canyon is a fairly easy route to hike, although it does involve occasional boulder-scrambling. The grade is almost level and most of the trail is clear and easily walkable. Some stretches do get washed out by flash floods each year, but alternate paths are easily found. Getting lost is unlikely, because the whole route remains within the same canyon and side trails are few. When you have gone as far as you want, you just retrace your steps.

    Our hiking group included two of the furry, four-footed variety. From the left are Gary, with Maddy the dog just behind him. Maddy's owner Chuck stands in the back row to the rear of Gary. To the right of Chuck are Jerry, Phil, and John. Luna the dog is in front. To the right of Luna are Jim and Carl. I, of course, am behind the camera lens. The group stands at the entrance of the Second Slot. ...

    Lots more photos and info at Jim & Carole's Mexico Adventure: The Slot Canyons of La Cañada Part 2 of 2: the Middle Canyon, the 2nd Slot, and the Hidden Valley. More #JimAndCarole

    Carole and I live in Ajijic, a village on the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake. During our travels in Mexico, we have found a startling cultural mix from ancient pre-hispanic to the 21st Century.Jim of Jim and Carol
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  • The Slot Canyons of La Cañada Part 1 of 2

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    Jim wrote: Torrents of water created the feature that hikers call The Chute. The power of water to carve through solid rock is quite impressive. The photo above shows only a couple of quiet pools remaining from the most recent storm. However, sustained rainfall can create dangerous flash floods through the canyon. We'll look at this formation in more detail a bit further in Part 1.

    While looking through my years-long backlog of photos, I discovered that I have never used any of my shots of the spectacular route through La Cañada's slot canyons. I photographed the area on two occasions, once in 2015 and more recently in the summer of 2020. I ended up with so many good photos from these two shoots that I decided it required a two-part series.

    The photos of Part 1, taken in 2020, include the approach to the Canyon, the First Slot, The Chute and part of the Middle Canyon. In Part 2, I will show you the rest of the Middle Canyon, the Second Slot, and the Hidden Valley.

    Lots more photos and info at Jim & Carole's Mexico Adventure: The Slot Canyons of La Cañada Part 1 of 2. More #JimAndCarole

    Carole and I live in Ajijic, a village on the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake. During our travels in Mexico, we have found a startling cultural mix from ancient pre-hispanic to the 21st Century.Jim of Jim and Carol
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  • Talpa de Allende Part 3: Museum of Our Lady of the Rosary

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    Jim wrote: Statue of Nuestra Señora del Rosario. This sumptuously dressed statue is one of several displayed in the museum dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, located just behind her Basilica. However, this is not the statue that draws millions of pilgrims to Talpa. That one can be seen in my previous posting on the Basilica. I encourage anyone who visits Talpa de Allende to drop into this fascinating museum.

    In this posting, I show only a few the many artifacts displayed here. The exhibits include some of the history of Talpa, particularly as it relates to Nuestra Señora, the Basilica, the pilgrimage, and Catholic liturgical traditions dating back centuries. ...

    Lots more photos and info at Jim & Carole's Mexico Adventure: Talpa de Allende Part 3: Museum of Our Lady of the Rosary. More #JimAndCarole

    Carole and I live in Ajijic, a village on the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake. During our travels in Mexico, we have found a startling cultural mix from ancient pre-hispanic to the 21st Century.Jim of Jim and Carol
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  • Talpa de Allende Part 2: Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Rosario and the Pilgrims' Route

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    Jim wrote: Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Rosario stands in Talpa's main plaza. The Basilica is the end point of two annual pilgrimages which start from the town of Ameca, 117.3 km (73.4 mi) away. The pilgrimage route has been traveled by the faithful since 1644, the date of the miraculous Renovacion (see Part 1 of this series). In 2010 alone, 3 million people made the journey.

    In Part 2 of my series on Talpa de Allende, I will show you some of the architectural aspects of the Basilica, describe a little of its history, and discuss the pilgrimage. To view a Google map of the pilgrimage route, click here. ...

    Lots more photos and info at Jim & Carole's Mexico Adventure: Talpa de Allende Part 2: Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Rosario and the Pilgrims' Route. More #JimAndCarole

    Carole and I live in Ajijic, a village on the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake. During our travels in Mexico, we have found a startling cultural mix from ancient pre-hispanic to the 21st Century.Jim of Jim and Carol
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  • Talpa de Allende Part 1: City of Pilgrims

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    Jim wrote: Statue commemorating the pilgrims who travel to Talpa each year. Some make the pilgrimage on their knees to demonstrate their devotion. Many undertake the journey to ask Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Our Lady of the Rosary) to grant them a favor, or to thank her for answering a prayer. The statues above portray a woman thrusting a child forward, perhaps hoping for the cure of an illness. The man wears a blindfold, which suggests that he is blind and hoping the Virgin will restore his sight.

    This posting is part of my trilogy on Mascota, San Sebastian del Oeste, and Talpa de Allende, three towns that are not far apart in the Coast Range on the way to Puerto Vallarta. Although each is a Pueblo Magico, they are quite different from each other. Mascota is a ranch town, San Sebastian is a former silver mining site, and Talpa has been a pilgrimage destination since the 17th century. ...

    Lots more photos and info at Jim & Carole's Mexico Adventure: Talpa de Allende Part 1: City of Pilgrims. More #JimAndCarole

    Carole and I live in Ajijic, a village on the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake. During our travels in Mexico, we have found a startling cultural mix from ancient pre-hispanic to the 21st Century.Jim of Jim and Carol
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  • San Sebastian del Oeste Part 6 of 6: The fascinating historical artifacts of Hotel Hacienda Matel

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    A cow's skull decorates a well near the entrance of the hotel.

    Jim wrote: We visited Hotel Hacienda Matel during our day-trip to San Sebastian del Oeste. While there are a number haciendas in the area dating to the colonial and early-Republic eras, this one was built in 2008. It is a product of San Sebastian's growing tourist trade. The architectural design of the hotel imitates historical haciendas and the owners have filled it with artifacts from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hotel Hacienda Matel is an interesting place in a lovely setting and is worth a visit if you get to San Sebastian. ...

    The hotel's centerpiece is a fair imitation of an historic casa grande. Like the casas grandes (big houses) it simulates, the rectangular building is built around an open central courtyard, accessed through an impressive gate. On each corner are cylindrical stone structures which imitate the bastions found on many historical haciendas. However, Hacienda Matel's bastions do not contain the gun slits used to defend against indigenous warriors or roving bandits.

    This cannon is one of several that guard the approaches to the casa grande. The hotel is situated near the head of a heavily-wooded arroyo about half a mile from San Sebastian's central plaza. Some might find it odd for a civilian hacienda to possess artillery, but this was not uncommon in the old days. Regular troops were scarce on the frontiers of Nueva España and the early Mexican Republic. Such troops were usually poorly paid and indifferently led. In addition, they were often posted at a considerable distance from the haciendas and settlements that might need their help. ...

    Lots more photos and info at Jim & Carole's Mexico Adventure: San Sebastian del Oeste Part 6 of 6: The fascinating historical artifacts of Hotel Hacienda Matel. More #JimAndCarole

    Carole and I live in Ajijic, a village on the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake. During our travels in Mexico, we have found a startling cultural mix from ancient pre-hispanic to the 21st Century.Jim of Jim and Carol
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  • Dia de los Muertos, a tradition both solemn and hilarious

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    Jim wrote: Skulls and white candles are traditional elements of Dia de los Muertos. Each November 2, Mexico celebrates its unique Day of the Dead fiesta. Although the day falls just after Halloween, it has no connection to that rather empty and highly commercialized north-of-the-border event. Unfortunately, the current pandemic has caused the cancellation of most of this year's traditional fiesta activities--particularly those involving large groups. However, an elaborate Dia de los Muertos altar recently appeared on the corner of Calle Galleana and Calle Venustiano Carranza, near my home in Ajijic.
    My encounter with the altar inspired this posting. The fiesta has some solemn elements, but mostly it is a wildly colorful and decidedly hilarious event. I hope this lightens up the grimness of these times for members of my blog audience. The first section of this posting will focus on the altar that my Mexican neighbors erected in the last few days. The remainder of the photos will show some of the activities of the 2019 fiesta. These earlier photos have never before been published.

    My neighborhood's altar contains most of the traditional elements. The first thing I noticed was the large group of photographs taped to the stone wall on either side of the cross. These are the images of family members who have passed away, either recently or some time ago. The large number of photos indicates that this was truly a neighborhood project, rather than one created solely by an individual family. ...

    Lots more photos and info at Jim & Carole's Mexico Adventure: Dia de los Muertos, a tradition both solemn and hilarious. More #JimAndCarole

    Carole and I live in Ajijic, a village on the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake. During our travels in Mexico, we have found a startling cultural mix from ancient pre-hispanic to the 21st Century.Jim of Jim and Carol
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  • San Sebastian del Oeste Part 5: The Museum of Doña Conchita Encarnación

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    Jim wrote: One of several display rooms in Museo Doña Conchita Encarnación. This is San Sebastian del Oeste's only museum, but it is packed with fascinating objects, documents, and photos from the days when the pueblo was a silver mining boomtown. The private museum was created in 1995 by Doña Conchita Encarnación, who ran it until 2009. Since then, it has been managed by her charming daughter, Maria Guadalupe Bermúdez Encarnación, who goes by the nickname "Lupita". Her family has been prominent in San Sebastian since the 18th century. (Photo from the website Sistema de Información Mexico)

    Lots more photos and info at Jim & Carole's Mexico Adventure: San Sebastian del Oeste Part 5: The Museum of Doña Conchita Encarnación. More #JimAndCarole

    Carole and I live in Ajijic, a village on the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake. During our travels in Mexico, we have found a startling cultural mix from ancient pre-hispanic to the 21st Century.Jim of Jim and Carol
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  • San Sebastian del Oeste Part 4: Cafetelera La Quinta Mari.

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    Entrance to Cafetelera La Quinta Mari.

    Jim wrote: The cafetelera (country house) has been owned by the same family for five generations. They grow and process artesanal coffee of the highest quality. After we visited Hacienda Jalisco (see Part 3 of this series), we stopped by to see their coffee operation and sample some of their products. As is usual in Mexico, the welcome was warm and we were given free rein to wander about.

    La Quinta Mari can be found on right side of the main road as you enter San Sebastian. If you reach the old stone bridge known as El Puente Recto (the Straight Bridge), you have gone too far. ...

    More at Jim & Carole's Mexico Adventure: San Sebastian del Oeste Part 4: Cafetelera La Quinta Mari. More #JimAndCarole

    Carole and I live in Ajijic, a village on the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake. During our travels in Mexico, we have found a startling cultural mix from ancient pre-hispanic to the 21st Century.Jim
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  • San Sebastain del Oeste Part 3: Templo San Sebastian Martir

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    Jim wrote: The entrance of Templo San Sebastian Martir. This is the parroquia (parish church) of San Sebastian del Oeste. The church stands just behind El Portal Morelos which forms the north side of Plaza Publica. Because the steeple is the tallest structure in town, the church is easy to find. To locate it on a Google map, click here.

    When I do a blog series on a colonial pueblo, I nearly always include a posting on the churches. From the earliest colonial times, Catholicism has been central to Mexico's social, economic, and architectural development. The first twelve Franciscan friars arrived in 1524, only two years after the fall of the Aztecs. They were followed by the Dominicans in 1526 and the Augustinians in 1533. ...

    More at Jim & Carole's Mexico Adventure: San Sebastain del Oeste Part 3: Templo San Sebastian Martir. More #JimAndCarole

    Carole and I live in Ajijic, a village on the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake. During our travels in Mexico, we have found a startling cultural mix from ancient pre-hispanic to the 21st Century.Jim
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