Oaxaca itself is lovely, but there are also plenty of fun things to do outside the city as well. In one jam-packed day, we tried all of them. Well, okay, not all, but certainly a lot.
The day began at Tlacolula Market, the oldest farmers market in Mexico. Our mission was breakfast, and a hearty one it was: barbacoa tacos, a barbacoa consommé (a yummy broth), and heaping cups of hot chocolate. It was quite heavy, as far as breakfasts go, but delicious.
After breakfast, we had a bit of time to wander around the market. What struck me about Tlacolula was that it felt very local; there was absolutely nothing bright and shiny here, just a ramshackle mix of stands filled with food and flowers. When we visited, the market was filled with locals going about their business, and I am fairly certain we were the only foreigners present. It was pretty cool.
After visiting the market, we peeked into the town’s cathedral. The main part of the cathedral was unremarkable, but there was a small chapel that was absolutely stunning. It was covered in exquisite gold – a complete surprise to find such a treasure tucked away in this sleepy town.
Our next stop was Mitla, an ancient Zapotec site. The ruins here were interesting and beautiful, but what really got me were the site’s gardens, where cacti and succulents abounded. Who’s a sucker for succulents? *Raises hand*
We ended our day at Mezcal Don Agave. There, we were given a tour of the premises, learning about the processing of mezcal from start to finish. We capped it off with a tasting of various mezcals. Some were very strong and nearly undrinkable to me (though, fear not: drink I did); others were quite tasty.
After a … quantity of mezcal combined with the hot Mexican May sun, we made our way back into Oaxaca, and I was more than ready for a nap. It was a very good day.