Guadalajara, Tequila, Chapala

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
1
23
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Trip End Sep 15, 2013


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Flag of Mexico  , Central Mexico and Gulf Coast,
Monday, March 18, 2013

I love Mexico. I really do, and the fact that they enjoy endless amounts of puentes (bank holidays,) is an added bonus and incentive to travel this beautiful country. This weekend we were able to enjoy yet ANOTHER long weekend, it feels like there is one every 3 weeks here in Mexico.

Destination: Guadalajara. 

My journey started with a 3 hour flight from Cancún to GDL, with an exotic, size of my hand, butterfly enjoying the ride overhead. 3 hours...  wow, how big is Mexico?! Florida is closer!

I arrived around 3pm and explored the Centro Historico of Guadalajara before meeting Seraphina (Southampton student working in Guadalajara) by the water fountain in front of the Cathedral, and the home of the dirty rats-with-wings, also known as pigeons. I had forgotten just how much I was scared of them, it has been such a long time since I was in a Trafalgar Square-esque situation. I was doing everything I could to stop myself from screaming, and instead I just looked like a massive gimp jolting and ducking every minute. Ew.



The streets of the Centro Historico is lined with beautiful colonial buildings, government offices, theatres and museums broken up with idylic, green plazas scattered around the centre. Really pretty and peaceful to walk around, minus the occasional sweeping pigeon and strangers trying to sell you all sorts of things... "would you like to test your blood pressure?" Guadalajara is the second most populated city in Mexico, behind Mexico City and it definitely has the authentic Mexican cultural feel to it, and was so impressive, yet much quieter in comparison. 

We spent the night getting lost on buses as we ventured out of the City centre to meet Gabby at the bus station after a long bus ride from DF, and arriving back at the Historic Centre at the same time as Josh, who arrived an hour later and did the much easier thing of taking a taxi. We then enjoyed dinner and drinks in a nice restaurant in a more up-market part of town as we awaited the arrival of the other 4 girls (2 from Colima and 2 from Queretaro.) A great evening spent eating, drinking and a LOT of catching up! So nice how being in Mexico has brought together a bunch of 12 people from Southampton University... really nice :)

 

Guadalajara is the birthplace of two of Mexico's most famous tradtions, tequila and mariachi. Therefore, a trip to Guadalajara definitely requires a trip to nearby Tequila. We were lucky enough to be treated to a massive car that could easily fit 10 people, with two in the boot, thanks to a generous friend of Seraphina. The journey was around 40 minutes and it was an amazing scenic route through all the blue agave farms and mountains of Jalisco. Driving into the town of Tequila felt like driving on the set of a stereotypical Mexican film. 

  


Jose Cuervo, the most famous brand of tequila was born in Tequila, Jalisco and is the world's oldest distillery factory opening in 1795 and we were lucky enough to take a tour around Mundo Cuervo. We learnt about the entire process from the agave being grown in the ground, putting the "pineapple" of the plant in an oven, to the processing of the fibres. All really interesting with many taster shots along the way and a margarita to round it up. Oh tequila. Something interesting we learnt is that Mexican laws state that tequila can be only be produced in the state of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. Also the fact that Mexico is the only country granted the international right to the word "tequila" ...pretty cool, huh?
 
  


 


 We then had a wander around the town centre of tequila where we came across two giant condom outfits, of course Jodie and Vicky decided to put on the sleeves, gloves, and shoes (which were made to look like the huevos/balls) and it was hilarious. Bloody hilarious. 

They managed to round up quite a crowd as they were waving their red condom hands around and fighting each other off whilst little children dared to have a peak from below inside the blue and pink condoms. What topped it off was Jodie saying in a deep, creepy man voice from within the condom "HOLA NINOS, COMO ESTAN?" ("Hello children, how are you?") 

 Que miedo. 

We then finished our trip to Tequila in a restaurant with a beautiful view. Wow. The mountains and the fields in the distance all appeared to be the blue colour of the agave which gives the town its history and its name. Stunning.

   
 

During the night we went to Maribel's cousin's house where we all stayed for the rest of the weekend, and enjoyed a bottle of Captain Morgan's whilst catching up on all our antics since the start of our adventures in Mexico. Also a card game, which I can't remember how it is called, which brought out the aggressive/competitive sides of us as we took turns playing in English and Spanish. All good fun, and then we decided to head to Tlaquepaque to see what all the fuss was about, the birthplace of Mariachi. Probably wasn't the best idea to shove 8 people into a small taxi without knowing how long the journey would take, 45/50 minutes more or less... wow, long. The taxi driver loved us, and appreciated the hugs he was receiving from Vicky thanks to three people being sat on the front seat. This was the first of many hilarious taxi journeys within Guadalajara... and all consisted of big and powerful sing-a-longs. By the time we arrived it was almost midnight and we were all pretty tired so we sat, ate and drank in the main plaza, which is an open air building with a marquee in the centre surrounded by many restaurants and mariachi bands serenading the diners. Very typically Mexican and it was a really cute plaza in which we enjoyed a dinner which was a little bit too expensive, but it was good to experience the Mariachi bands competing for our affections.

Sunday was absolutely incredible, and we all felt like we were enjoying an incredibly expensive holiday but it was pretty cheap, and worth every penny. We drove again in the big Suburban to a place outside of the city called Chapala, and it was beautiful. Such incredible views throughout the journey and when we arrived at the lake we were blown away, so beautiful!

 















To top it all off, we were spending the day in an outdoor spa called Termal Cosala and it was unbelievable with an incredible view of Lake Chapala and the mountains! I booked a massage straight away for 2pm for a much needed back treatment and it was one of the best massages I have ever had! 

The pools and jacuzzis were amazing. I couldn't believe it, the outdoor pool was absolutely incredible and it had the perfect temperature thanks to being naturally heated by volcanic magma below. The spa was breathtakingly beautiful, with the mountain on the other side of Lake Chapala providing the perfect backdrop to a lazy swim. The spa also had two Temazcals which is similar to a steam room, but in little igloo-like huts with Eucalyptus leaves burning in the middle. It is a type of sweat lodge which was used by the indigenous for healing the sick, improving health and cleansing the mind, body and soul. Perfect for the oncoming gripa I could feel thanks to the dramatic change in climate I was experiencing, Cancun to Guadalajara. 

The spa really was amazing, my mother would have loved it, and much more than any of us could have ever asked for, it was just perfect.
 
 

After spending the day relaxing, we made our way up the mountain as the sun was setting to eat at a restaurant with yet another unbelievably spectacular view. Wow. the restaurant overlooked Lake Chapala and the beauty was never-ending. Panoramic view at its best, definitely! The food was tasty too!



My flight was the only flight I could book back to Cancun on the cheap, and so I had to leave the group early Monday morning before they woke up... but I managed to fit in so many incredible things and memorable sights within Jalisco and it was another amazing puente weeking.

What a holiday, filled with hilarity as always with a great bunch of people! Big shout out to Beth, who I hadn't seen since October, for getting the ball rolling with this trip, and of course for being number 1 fan of my blog ;) 

Mexico continues to deliver... endless beauty and I am falling in love with Mexico even more every day.

Lots of love, Fenton x

 
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