Thursday, June 25, 2015

Vizarron and Tequisquiapan, Mexico

I've learned in all my years of traveling, that adventures can be had within two hours of home.  Especially in Mexico.  This happened yesterday when I and three friends headed off to explore a couple of villages that I
had not been to in quite some time - like eight years and twelve years, respectively.

What fun!  The purpose for me, was to explore Vizarron for onyx furniture as it is near the mountains where they get white marble and onyx.  I've seen lighting sconces out of onyx around town and knew they were coming from that area.  Voila!  We did find all kinds of things.
 We started out, all four of us, at about 9AM from San Miguel with the expectation of about a two hour drive to Vizarron by way of Bernal.   What a magnificent drive!  With all the rain, the fields looked so beautiful as did the hillsides and mountains.
 These photos were taken as we left San Miguel on the road to Queretaro.  I wasn't driving so I could thoroughly enjoy snapping photos as we whizzed down the roads.  What a treat!
 On the cuota (toll road)  toward Mexico City at the toll booth were the guys driving the chassis of the school buses to Mexico City for the tops to be assembled.  I've photographed these guys with their helmets on and goggles every time I drive to Texas.  They always make me chuckle.  What a sight and that is a darn long drive on such a contraption.
As we headed East toward Vizarron, we bypassed Bernal, which is a tiny little village that is nestled up against the great Rock of Bernal.  It is the second largest rock in the world.  Only surpassed by the Rock of Gibraltar!  Bernal is a sweet little village to visit with all kinds of shops selling wool products such as rebozos, hats, muffs, and clothing attire.  In addition, there used to be a fabulous Italian restaurant there but its been about eight years since I was there last, so who knows what is there now!

One time I went to Bernal to buy wool products.  Nary a store was open.  It was graduation day at the primary school and all businesses had closed to be at the graduation.  I just smiled at the fact that their priorities were so right on.
 We were on great roads until I directed the driver, Bill to take a side road to get us over to another good road to Vizarron.  I go nowhere without my great road map book of Mexico.  I knew I was correct, but as we drove through a town that looked little, but wasn't, I did ask them to stop so I could roll down the window and ask someone if we were going the right way.  We were!  We did this a few more times that day, just to be sure.

We arrived at Vizarron just around 11AM and a Pemex stop was in order.  Here are two of the three friends discussing something..........probably, "How can we ditch the co-pilot?"  Just kidding.
 All the Pemex stations that we stopped at yesterday were really clean.  They now charge three pesos to use the facilities and have toilet paper.  I always carry Kleenex, just in case.  I have too long of a history with toilets in Mexico!
 Here the guys are as we get ready to walk the street, notice I said street, of Vizarron to go in all the marble and onyx shops.   The first shop we went in had the largest statue of David in marble that I have ever seen.
Darn, I hate that I was so overwhelmed that I forgot to take photos in Vizarron.  The next time.

We walked in about six or seven shops looking at everything.  Then I went back to the first shop and bought a small table to put next to a chair in the living room to put a coffee cup or magazine on.  I love it.  I didn't realize HOW much I loved it until I saw it in a shop in Tequisquiapan for four times as much!  It pays to shop at the source..........the thing I love to do the most anyway.

Then as we walked down the street, there was a little shoe shop with a giant stuffed llama inside.  It definitely caused us to stop and walk in.  The guys went crazy over the most unique and interesting, handmade shoes out of llama hide I've ever seen.  Two of the three got shoes.  I regret I didn't get slippers as they were lined with the most wonderful sheep skin.  Rats!  Anyway, the shoes were about $35USD and if I saw those at Whole Earth Provisions or some specialty store in the states, I can assure you they would be close to $200USD!  The man and his wife were so nice and helpful.  It was a super experience.

After all that fun and spending a couple of hours in Vizarron, we headed for Tequis because Trey, one of the men, wanted to see minerals as in geodes, amethyst, quartz, etc.  I knew exactly the place to take him.
It had been twelve years since I had been back to Tequis, but I never forgot the minerals or the bamboo furniture that I saw in the mercado there.  Things that are unique and hard to find, I never forget where I saw them.  Guess that is from all the years of going to the World Trade Center in Dallas or somewhere else and remembering where that special lamp or something was after going through hundreds of showrooms.

The photo above was three little old white haired women sitting in a spot of sunshine on one of the walkways of Tequis..........The photo was taken as we sat and had the most delicious lunch of sopa de elote (corn soup) along with crepes with huitlacoche.  Oh my, what a meal!  The guys didn't have the crepes because they didn't want to taste huitlacoche.  Their loss.
 The jardin in Tequis is magnificent.  The town is spotlessly clean and all of the walkways are paved with stone pavers rather then cobbles.  We all noticed how much easier it was to walk around.  Just delightful to eat a meal outdoors without any vehicles whizzing by.  We all commented on the sense of well being we felt while sitting there having lunch.  Also noticed that since the last time there how many cheese and wine shops are now all over town.  There are many wineries in the area.  In addition the town has a large Wine and Cheese Event every year. 
 After a leisurely lunch, we headed off to the mercado.  They have three in town.  All right next to each other.  We went to two of the three.  Of course now I wonder what was in the third one that I missed, ha.

But, we found the minerals.  Gorgeous hunks of rocks some polished - some not.  All of these minerals come from the mountains around Queretaro and Tequis.  A very rich area!  My friend found a magnificent piece of quartz that was about a foot high for his collection.  Darn, I forgot to photograph it.

It's such a treat to see all these different stones.  One one design project, rather then using art in the various rooms, I had slabs of minerals framed in plexi boxes and hung above the beds in the rooms.  With the right lighting it was quite a conversation piece.  I might have to go back one of these days and buy something.

My son would have been in heaven looking at all these things.  Hopefully some day he'll get to Tequis as well.

I arrived home all hyped up.  It had been such a great day of exploring and seeing the countryside of Mexico with friends.  Often I hesitate to take off like that with people for fear my excitement over a place will not translate for them.  Or whatever.  Yesterday was not like that and so the hope is there to head another direction soon to places that these friends have not seen.

In a lifetime, it seems to me, it would be nearly impossible to see all that is so wonderful in this country.
Viva Mexico!


Joan said...



Retired Teacher said...

I've been to Bernal and to Tequisquiapan, but I've never heard of Vizarron. Is there anything to see in the town and vicinity besides the onyx shops? (You know I am always looking for weekend destinations to visit when I am in Mexico City.)

Babs said...

No, Bill unless you want to purchase a well endowed David made out of marble that is about 7 feet tall! Just kidding. Vizarron is a pass through on the way to the Sierra Gorda area. Luckily I had stopped there once and discovered what the town manufactured.
Now, Jalpan de Serra, north of there by about 2 hours is the Gateway to the Sierra Gorda and all the missons plus Edward James folly, Las Pozas. A wonderland to be sure.

Wetravelaround said...

What a successful trip! Was that Rodney that we met at the coffee klatch?

Barbara Lane said...

I'm thrilled to learn about Tequis! I've long been a collector of rocks, crystals, and minerals (after seeing the displays at the Smithsonian and Sonora Desert Museum). I've been debating for quite a while whether to pay to have mine shipped (talk about heavy!) to Mexico when I move. I'd decided I couldn't part with them and would just bite the bullet and do it as I had no idea if I could ever replace them. Now I know I can! And then some! :) However knowing me I'll still probably be shipping mine...or at least some of them. Oh thank you for this post. And I LOVE that it can be a day trip!

Babs said...

David, that is Redge, Bill and Trey. They are all regulars at the Koffee Klatch group. Fun guys!

Babs said...

Barbara - Have you checked the cost of shipping down here? It is VERY expensive. That's why I sold everything before I left.......except books and art!

The majority of minerals come from Mexico much to my delight and surprise.......

Steve Cotton said...

Onyx furniture? That sounds interesting. I may need to make a trip.

Babs said...

Steve, you don't have to come this far. You'll find all of that in Tlaquepaque and Tonala, I'm sure. Happy shopping.

Barbara Lane said...

Yes...I've checked into shipping. And I know it's very costly. I've culled, and culled again, and culled again. I'm guessing I'll have another 2-3 (4-5?) culls before I'm ready. Some books, and yes, art....some kitchen tools and other tools, linens, my antique religious items....oh gosh. See? Where do I draw the line? It's difficult and I know you know. But at some point I realize I'm just going to have to cut the cord and dive in. And I know it will be nothing less than exhilarating to feel utterly free when I land - able to reinvent my life from the ground up. I've not done that in a number of years. How exciting! Tapping into The Zone of Aliveness for sure.

Babs said...

Funny, your comment. Just at lunch today we were talking about just coming here with very, very little. I know it took five HUGE sales plus selling my custom furniture to friends and art to others to clear out and have only enough to fit in the back of one pick up truck. Yes, much was left behind. What? It doesn't matter.

It was the freest I have ever felt! The quote of $10,000USD just to have someone move that little bit was how I came up with the better solution of my Mexican paint crew bringing my stuff down. Cost less then $1000USD to get it all here

Good luck. It's part of the process of realizing that stuff is just that........stuff.

Shannon said...

I have often thought that I would like to go to the wine and cheese festival in Tequisquiapan, but somehow I've never gotten around to it. There are also a lot of opals in the area, which I love, but as you say "go to the source". A short drive from Tequisquiapan will bring you to La Trinidad where the opals are half the price.

We are so lucky to live in such a diverse and interesting country!! Viva Mexico!

Babs said...

Shannon, me too! I've wanted to go to the Wine and cheese Festival as well. Maybe we can do it next year or whenever it is.

I had forgotten about La Trinidad. I'm going to look it up on the map and plan a trip.

I very much want to go back to Tequis and spend a few days. It's such a lovely place........