A Walk in the Campo–Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca Countryside

A day in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, is not complete without a walk in the country.  Today was one of those glorious days with a bit of overcast and briskness in the air.  A perfect day for exploring the campo.  We are surrounded here by 9,000 ft. to 12,000 ft. peaks, rich agricultural land and abundant water stored in the reservoir just above the village.  Farmers are turning over the earth and preparing for early spring planting.  Flowering trees are in bloom everywhere.  It is hard to imagine it is nearly Thanksgiving!

Along the ridge road I got a great view of the village church and then zoomed in closer for a more detailed shot.

After seven intensive workshop days it felt good to stretch and walk for miles. The yellow wildflowers amid dried cornstalks caught my eye.  I stopped in at my friend Annie’s for a shiatsu massage and hiked down to the river bed that feeds farmers fields throughout the village.

Just as I was wondering how I was going to cross this rushing stream, I found the footpath of flat stones in the stream bed.  I carefully picked my way across careful not to lose my balance.  No wet camera in my future!

Fieldstones separate one farmer’s plot from another.  I looked up to see the sacred mountain Picacho where Zapotecs have a shrine at the peak.

A well by the river gives farmers back-up to water their animals.

Adornment on the back side of a house along the riverside.  Sculpture, don’t you think? And as I was trying to figure out where this path would take me (my destination was up the other side of the hill to the main road), I came across this sign — used to darken the room but definitely a roadmap for me.

Thanksgiving, anyone?  These are not domesticated turkeys though.  They are indigenous poultry called guacalotes.  These two got their feathers ruffled as I passed and squawked some, too.  I definitely disturbed their afternoon siesta. The great news is that I discovered a new path with easy to navigate, switch back concrete stairs half-way up the hillside.

This side of the river, along upper Av. Juarez, is more populated with houses spilling down the hillside from the main street.  Behind this blue gate will be a patio and magnificent views.  You would never know it from the street side.

In the distance, I could see the next town of Macuilxochitl and the distinctive outline of its church.

Steep, narrow alleys lead from the main road to houses built into the hills above.

By then, it was just after 4 p.m. and  I hadn’t eaten since breakfast.  Thankfully, Restaurante El Descanso was open (until 6 p.m. unless there is a family celebration).  Mari was carrying out dinner to her husband Fidel.  It looked so good that I ordered the same.  It isn’t on the menu so you have to say, I’d like a platillo de Fidel!  Incredibly delicious.  With beverage, my bill came to under 100 pesos.

On the way back to Las Granadas B&B, I stopped to admire a neighborhood altar before starting to pack and move to friends in the village for the next several days.

You should know I traveled solo and made my way through the countryside safely, passing people who greeted me and I them with a buenos tardes, a smile and a nod of the head.  Most of Mexico is very safe, as safe as the place where you live — perhaps more so!

 

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