Our favorite Mexican town.
Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
163Trip End May 10, 2011
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The bus was not in the station yet so we had time to grab 'lonches sandwiches' for the road. The stand had 3 sandwich choices. A 'sandwich' uses cold cuts on sliced white bread like wonderbread. A torta is a big crispy French type bun with warm meat and veggies, ham cheese or both We ordered with both. The man slowly buttered smallish hoggie type rolls and took his time moving very slowly he put them on the grill to warm. Michelle saw this was going take a while and went back to the slot where our bus would arrive to make sure the bus would not leave without us. The sandwich guy, just as slowly, separated out slices of ham and then slices of cheese, and then ever so slowly, put those on the rolls to warm on the heat of the grill. Michelle came running over and shouted, 'the bus is going to leave..hurry!'. Dave asked the guy to throw the rolls in a bag as they were because we needed to run. He moved a bit quicker to get them wrapped and collect our money. Dave hurried outside and saw the bus pulling out. The bus driver was having a little fun with Dave. He ran to the bus and threw himself into the seat. The driver sat there smiling. Ha Ha.. (like the joke is on you..). He then waited a few moments before putting the bus in gear and rolled away.
Once we got out of the city the scenery changed to wide expanses of rural farm land as the bus began to climb into the hills. The bus stopped at a few ramshackle towns, picking up and letting off passengers where ever they wanted. A surprise bus ticket inspector got on which made the driver very nervous. The inspector finally was let off. And then whenever we would pass an on coming bus, the driver would gesticulate wildly with his arm to signal the oncoming driver about the inspector on the loose. We speculate that the inspector's job is to make sure the driver gives tickets to the all riders and minimize the fare payment that end up in the driver's pocket. After 3 hours, we made a turn due west and began the steep climb for the last 30km stretch toward pine forests surrounding Tapalpa. Fields of wildflowers could be seen our both sides of the bus. We were surprised to see so many this time of year. After cresting the ridge the picturesque view of Tapalpa down in the valley came into view. The red tiled roofs and white-washed houses gave it a European feel. We were let off 2 blocks down from the town center. We just kept the landmark of the red bricked church in sight to find our way up steep sloped cobblestoned streets.
Chary, from our hotel in Guadalajara, had recommended seeing this charming mountain village and also recommended the Posada La Hacienda. We asked for directions and easily found our hotel just around the corner from the main plaza. After checking in, we immediately went to the square to find 'tourist information'. It was closed since it was midweek and few tourists were in town. We explored the plaza surrounded by small shops,and walked the back streets of town. Many shops sold colorful jars full of homemade preserves of locally grown fruits and vegetables, tempting but not practical to take on our bikes!
Around the plaza, the streets were made of flat stone. Away from the plaza, they used the round cobble stone for the bumpy roads. We eventually went into Alfredo's bar and restaurant for its 2nd floor balcony view of the plaza. The view was ideal. We sat on our perch to watch the happenings of the town below.The bumpy steep streets and rough roads in the area make using a quad bike ideal. We saw many kids riding them. 4WD trucks are also common. We nibbled on some marinated carrot,onion and jicama while sipping a few potent Margaritas. As dusk fell, we weaved our way back to the hotel. There, the desk clerk gave us a great tourist map of the town and told us the top things to see are the waterfall, Las Piedrotas (the boulder field) stopping along the way to see the paper factory, and four natural spring locations within the town. We could also rent quad motorbikes or horses. We ruled our quads, horses and the falls and decided a 5 km hikewest of town through the countryside to the boulder field, a great start of the morning.
Under a totally blue sky, we made our way west through though town, passing a small park area with a wire mesh horse with scorpion shape inside the horse. The structure turned in the wind like a weather vane.
We ran across one of the natural spring identified as a must see. It was a small tiled fountain on the corner of the street. We were not sure of what we were to see there (water?) and continued on. We climbed up the cobblestone road where the town gave way to larger gated properties and ranchettes. As we walk enjoying the bocolic setting, we noticed we were on a country road virtually without car traffic for over an hour, we were pass by 2 or 3 cars and maybe 1 or 2 quads! This was the first town where we saw no skinny mangy dogs. All the animal were clean and well fed. The cows in the fields were fat.
We snapped many images of wildflowers and livestock before arriving at the boulder field. We took more pictures and made our way back to the lovely Tapalpa town. It was a great hike and we headed to Paulino's restaurant for tamales de acelga unique to the town. Chard, a dark green spinach type vegetable was combined with the corn meal outer layer and the whole thing was covered with a cream sauce. To die for! Chary had recommended this too.We sat there on Paulino's second floor balcony for a few hours playing cards before another delicious dinner.
We watched small town life in the main square (again) for awhile before catching Ferris Bheuller's Day Off (one of the few movies we are willing to see again and again). A nice end to a great day.
In the morning we found Paulino's closed. Oh no! We would not be able to get any of the wonderful tamales for our friends back in Guadalajara. Alfredo's got the breakfast call again. Around mid morning, we caught the bus back to Guadalajara.