Trip Start Sep 30, 2013
Trip End May 31, 2014

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Where I stayed
Casa de Don Pablo Hostel Oaxaca
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Mexico  , Central Mexico and Gulf Coast,
Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday 21 Nov 
I write this on a 6 hour bus ride to Oaxaca (pronounced wa-ha-ka), about 300 miles south of Mexico City. We are travelling with up market operator ADO and it is really comfortable. It is air conditioned and screening a film (dubbed into Spanish) with Richard Geere, a dog and gentle piano music - couldn't be nicer. The countryside is much greener than I had expected.

The hostel room was a bit stuffy at first and we went out in the evening to look at 3 other hotels/hostels, but in fact we slept well and our original choice has good internet and an OK breakfast so we stayed put. At breakfast we met a couple of lads from Gemany who had just arrived on an overnight bus. Meeting other travellers and exchanging tales is a very positive aspect of staying in hostels. 

Friday 22 Nov

A calm day in this historic colonial town. Our first port of call was the 17th century cathedral in Zócalo square - OK I suppose, but much like many others. After a Caffe latte grande we walked a few blocks North to the church of St Domingo, where we were lucky enough to experience a WONDERFUL (free) concert given by the Filarmonica Oaxaca. 


This proper job orchestra treated us to a program of

  • Silvestre Revueltas (interesting) 

  • Ney Rosauro  (a pretty good xylophone concerto)

  • Shostakovich (resounding)

  • Tchaikovsky (TOTALY BRILLIANT)

  • Jose Pablo Moncayo (fine)
During the Tchaikovsky I was transported back to a certain lazy summer Sunday afternoon in 1970 when my brother took me up to his friends place in North Oxford and we chilled out to Swan Lake - formative times!  

Later we visited the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaco and learnt about the trials and tribulations of this region from stone age to modern times.

Saturday 23rd November

Another full day of sightseeing in a mini bus with 12 others.

  • Tule hosting a 2000 year old tree

  • Mitla  a Zapotec temple (we were underwhelmed!)

  • Calcified Waterfall

  • Mezcal maker (similar to Islay whisky)

  • Traditional weaver

Sunday 24th November
Today we took a taxi 6 miles to Monte Alban, the Zapotec city that was inhabited by up to 17,000 people for 1,000 years from 200 BC. This is a very impressive place built atop hills overlooking the plain of Oaxaca. The views were incredible and we both felt its peaceful aura. The ruins have been well restored and one is able to climb amongst the ancient buildings and imagine what motivated these people. They used a building technique that was able to resist earthquakes, they had a very good knowledge of solar and lunar cycles, but they knew nothing of modern physics and they did go in for human sacrifice. As with Teotihuacan, the reason for city's abandonment is not known.

Later we returned to Zocalo square in Oaxaca where there appeared to be a party in full swing. The atmosphere was very relaxed. A band of pipes, keyboard and drums was playing gentle tunes with a distinctive style and rythym. We took supper of spicy chicken and rice from a street vendor. This really is a nice town.
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Viv Sullivan on

I'm loving the frequency of your blog Si, it feels like I am on the journey with you. Super pictures, they give me a real flavor for what you don't mention, heat, topography, cultural look.
Keep up the good work xxx

Viv Sullivan on

Wow what a busy few days you had...loving the blog and pictures..keep it up xx

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