David and I just returned from our land cruise to Oaxaca today. We stayed at a charming and magnificent hacienda style B&B (for $45 per night) about 15 minutes outside of Oaxaca City. This was the most wonderful vacation of our lives, bar none.
We visited all of the nearby artisan communities each of which specialize in one of either hand dyed and loomed rugs and tapestries, extremely (specialized per village) pottery, hand painted wooden folk art animals, textiles, woodwork, and such.
We experienced the culinary wonders of the pre columbian Oaxacan culture and the many major Zapotec ruins in the regions in and near the three Oaxacan valleys, including the amazing Monte Alban ruins. Monte Alban was the most amazing ruins sight I have ever seen.
In addition every day one of the villages had a very special market to visit. This was just like the markets on the travel channel. I even ate a few grasshoppers. O.M.G.
We also were a part of the holy week festivities in each of the villages. We were even adorned by the locals with crowns of thorns and were part of the procession to celebrate Easter in one of the most beautiful of the small villages.
We even stopped to see the largest tree in the world not to mention the Santo Domingo Church and pre-columbian museum as well as the Rufino Tamayo museum. Tamayo has always been my all-time favorite Latin American artist.
All I can say is that Oaxaca is a wonderful and amazing place unlike any other area in Mexico or the world for that matter.
One of my best friends vacationed in Oaxaca and also raved about it there. She also spent some time in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and loved it. Hearing her talk about both places made me want to go there. But because of my addiction to cruising, I hardly ever take "land vacations" anymore.
You could go there and just relax but there is soooooo much to see and do. We tended to get an early start each day touring a different direction on roads leading from the city into the countryside. Then about 2 or 3 o'clock we would head back to the little hacienda and relax on the terrace during the hottest time of the day. (We both could get used to this "siesta" thing. Then at night we would go into the city and try out one of the many incredible outdoor restaurants.
We saw a lot in the 8 days we were there but still would like to return to see more. I found it more facinating than any of our trips to Europe, South America, etc.
We met some great new friends, two lady cousins from the states and one Mexican woman who wants us to come back so she can fix us a special dinner in her home. When we left Oaxaca, she gave us the nicest complement either of us has ever been given. She said "You two walk with the spirit of god." The way she said it (in spanish) sounded much more sincere and beautiful than my feeble attempt at an acceptable translation. We were extremely flattered in any case.
Oaxaca (Wah haw kuh) is an amazing place with artistic culture oozing in every direction. I just hope we can keep our promise to return. Just when my spanish was getting to be tolerable, now I have to learn a new language, Zapotec. And boy is it hard to pronounce their spelling.