Friday, March 1, 2019

A DAY TRIP TO SAN SEBASTIAN MEXICO

A full day away from our resort on an excursion into the Sierra Madre Mountains to the ancient town of San Sebastian. Our guide stopped at a roadside vendor to buy some fruit for the 12 of us to nibble on as she gave us a wealth of history and culture along the way. Along the way we stopped at a Mexican cemetery with decorated houses for the dead, passed pasture with Brahman cows, fields of corn, agava and coffee plants. 

San Sebastian de Oesta was colonized as a mining town in 1605 by the Spaniards who made it prosperous with it's riches of silver and gold in the surrounding mountains. Once a town of about 20 000  it now is home for about 600 people who maintain it for tourism.








Mid morning we stopped for tacos and beverages at an authentic roadside cafe.



Resting outside the cafe before our walk across the El Progresso Bridge
which spans the 400 foot deep San Sebastian river gorge

Across the bridge was a brand new Tequila Distillery and tasting room. 

Mexicans are famous for their Tequila and we were offered a variety of flavours,
some of which were quite tasty and others worse than "Buckleys" !!





Back on the road with the lingering spirits on our lips we soon were on very rough cobblestones which meant we were entering the town of San Sebastian de Oesta


An orange tree in front of our first view of the ancient cathedral



The round building was the bank with spaces in the walls for protection with gunfire 

Original buildings are deteriorating over the centuries and so the 
adobe bricks are plastered and painted
 white with red trim, the official colour of this town.











Stepping ever so carefully over the cobble stones, and there was a heart rock.
An old Hotel has these keys ready for a room for the night and an escape alarm!!


The town square with a band shell  and courtyard for festivals and parties









The Cathedral stands tall and strong, an open door inviting all inside.
It was heavily decorated with fresh flowers that filled the space with a strong aroma.





Saint Sebastian is known in the Catholic church as the patron saint of archers, athletes and soldiers.
He served the Roman army in the first century and under the rule of Emperor Diocletian was involved in the persecution of Christians. He himself was a secret believer and when found out was tied to a tree and shot with arrows which did not prove mortal. He was cared for by a widow and later denounced the Emperor for his cruelty to Christians. As a result he was beaten to death in 288 AD and in time was sainted as a martyr.




In the late afternoon we rested and shared stories with fellow travellers over a delicious Mexican lunch in a family owned restaurant. A little time for shopping, and then the trip back to the seacoast for more wonderful days at the Grand Palladium resort.

A serene scene after a very full day immersed in ancient history.


























Thursday, February 28, 2019

SEASIDE TOWNS IN MEXICO


Sunday January 27th in Bucerias


We took the local bus from our resort to Bucerias, a town in the Riviera Nayarit with a typical main square, a church, oceanside restaurants and rows of vendors all vieing  for attention to strike up a bargain. It was Sunday and as I stepped off the bus I heard the church bells announcing the beginning of worship which became obvious by the sweet sound of corporate singing as we stood at the open door of the church. What a nice welcome on this day that was special besides being Sunday it was my birthday, and we were meeting my sister and her husband who met us there from Puerto Vallarta. 




A grand reunion of visiting and eating punctuated with lots of laughs


Enjoying the best fish tacos on the beach.
Always the photographer and rarely in the photo but I found
a little trick to remind myself that I was there.



An excursion to Sayulita

A colourful village north of our resort where we walked the beautiful seashore, scanned the sand for shells, watched aspiring surfers ride the waves, and warded off the persistent vendors who came right to our lunch table on the sand.







How could I resist buying from this sweet little fellow who was
helping his mama sell these cute bobble head wooden animals.










The courtyard of a  Grandma's Casa










Doorways always invite a photo op.


La Cruz Sunday market 

The local bus took us along the snaking route beside the ocean to La Cruz, about 15 minutes from our resort. The La Cruz Sunday market is the happening place for visitors from all over the area with a feast for the eyes through the maze of market stalls and a strong resolve to shop wisely.  I could have filled pages with photos displaying the beauty of the artisan crafts, so colourful and packed with intricate details. We walked along the marina and concluded that by the sizes of the pleasure boats there must also be money to shop in the market as well.  A place to revisit one day, and as I said, feast my eyes and also to take the time to savour the market delicacies. My body was weary and the sun was growing hotter so back on the bus where there was standing room only and a ride of terror as we careened around one curve after another. All part of experiencing Mexico.








Local fellows waiting for their 'catch of the day'

Time to sit and enjoy some Mexican musicians

This is where I left my pesos in exchange for a lovely hand loomed tablecloth.
Images of the  colourful wares crafted by the beautiful people of Mexico
will remain embedded in my memory. 






Monday, February 25, 2019

GRAND PALLADIUM VALLARTA RESORT, PUNTA DE MITA

Our 2019 winter escape took us to a serene, remote location about 60 minutes drive north of the  Puerto Vallarta airport. We arrived in the dark of evening and so the morning light gave us our first glimpses of this beautiful resort set in and surrounded by a lush, manicured, tropical jungle. The resort is set on a hillside overlooking the 300 meters of beach on the Bay of Bandaras.  The place was a maze of stairways and meandering paths through the jungle that linked our comfortable accommodation with all the many, lovely amenities which included very importantly, 5 restaurants which made a vacation a true holiday ( from cooking!)




Our first glimpse of the ocean

Room # 3208, building #3, to the left became our personal retreat.


Every day we passed this vista on our way to meals


The Red Paper Tree seen flaming in the sun.
It belongs to the the family of west coast Madrona and Arbutus trees.

The huge buffet with an amazing assortment of delicious food 
at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
We also ate dinners at the 4  ala carte restaurants


The sign says it all plus a 5 minute complimentary poolside massage.




View up to the resort from the beach

My very favourite place at the resort was the natural salt water pool on the beach which was a natural outcrop of lava rock on which a rock wall had been built. No waves to knock me down. The most relaxing place to float, look up to the blue sky and give thanks. The ocean was deliciously warm and our days were a perfect 27 Celsius every day. 




Every morning the ocean tide left it's unique sand carvings. 


Beach combing is a my passion and now I have a shell-seeker 
who can explore farther than my legs will let me.
There is something special about bringing home one more collection!  

Clouds are natures 'in the moment' surprises

A treat  to ride the waves on a Hobie


Thatched Palapas for shade from the sun or a 180 degree view from the infinity pool
The meandering pathways through the jungle

Unique twisted tree trunks



A swing with a view




A lovely wedding chapel, yet we only saw many weddings on the beach

Lover's lane through the jungle

Jan 27th, my BD full of surprises. The gift of a dinner reservation at the Mexican restaurant, dining on the patio and watching the sunset and a yummy cake to share. The evening ended with a concert by the Mexican Tenors, full of classical and romantic songs. Each tenor poured a glass of champagne and walked down through the audience to serenade a lucky lady. And surprise - I was one of the lucky recipients with a tenor on his knee and a beautiful song.






































Did the maid think it was our anniversary? Mistaken room?
Whatever, we enjoyed this creative treat which we moved carefully
from the bed to the divan where we enjoyed these loving swans for over a week.