Updated: Mar 19, 2021
This week was a mix of big adventures and a few restful days at Roca Azul.
We walked around the resort and discovered a few more birds and a few sneaky lizards. Many afternoons we will lay by one of the pools. If we feel like floating, we head to the big cool pool. If it’s a day we want to soak, then we go to the thermal pool. I am so grateful that we have such a beautiful place to stay and that the grounds are maintained so well. Our resting days were important this week.
We decided to hike to the Jocotepec cross again, the super hard steep way. We did that the first week with Max and I thought I was going to die! Besides the climb being practically straight up. The elevation is quite high and I had a hard time catching my breath. I’d hike a few feet and then pant for air. Since we’ve done so much hiking in the past month, I figured we were ready. It was just Larry and I. We started early, by 8:30 am. The days are reaching 90 degrees by 1pm. The hike immediately starts out hard and steep with very few breaks along the way. It’s like being on a stairclimber at a gym for an hour plus….and at 6,720 feet high! I thought I was ready but it was still very hard. We barely stopped along the way because I wanted to beat Max’s time up the hill. He says he can do it in 1 hour and 15 minutes…..that might be true but I haven’t witnessed it. We made it in 1 hour and 20. I was so happy to get to the top. I didn’t take any pictures on the way up. It was all work! Both Larry and I decided that we will not need to hike this trail again while we are here this time. The long winding way down only took us another 1:15 down! Excellent workout!
Our new friend Tino invited us to one of his favorite restaurants for lunch at El Rincon de Frida. This restaurant was beautiful! It was open air with high ceilings and a wooden palapa. It’s very artsy and eclectic. We want to try it on a friday evening with it all lit up plus they have a live jazz band too. The food was excellent! Larry had a chicken sandwich that he said was incredible. I had a wonderful salad with a cilantro dressing that was yummy. We enjoyed our lunch and the company of our special friend Tino. He told us more about his life in the states and how he saved money to buy his property on the island of Hawaii. I love the way he lights ups when he tells his stories. We have been cherishing the time we spend with him. We walked around the centro and pointed out a good place to get juice. He is very health conscious and drinks juice everyday. He says it’s easiest just to buy it here as it’s very cheap. He showed us a few of his favorite markets and where to find other things in town.
Wednesday, I worked on my story from the past week. I did my usual walk around the park. In the late afternoon, Larry and I did a big walk outside of the resort on the streets where our friends, Ben and Silvy are building a new home. We have also met a few other folks that have homes here. We ran into Francisco and Naomi on our walk. We went inside some houses that were in construction and snooped around for Se Vende (for sale) homes. Larry found some playground equipment that was just his size! Lol It was a good walk and we saw some very interesting homes. This is a good area to settle down...if we were ready to settle but we aren’t. I’m starting to get antsy to get back on the road. We have a few more weeks to figure out where that will be.
Thursday we were planning on going into Ajijic to that great birding place we went last week with the Chapala Birders. When my alarm went off at 7 am, I turned it off and went back to sleep. We just hung out at the park until it was time to go to our massages. I scheduled a facial before my massage. I was hoping maybe they could do some kind of miracle and take 10 years off of me! Larry had an hour to kill by himself so he headed to the centro for a beer. He watched folks and met a friend named Jim. He learned he had moved here about 6 months ago with his girlfriend. He’s from Canada and she’s mexican. His job had him traveling here and that’s how they met. He retired recently and likes living here. My facial was amazing but I looked basically the same. The massages were very good too. We have found therapists that we both like and will continue to go each week. Total Body Care in Ajijic. I was surprised that I was still so tired from our hike on tuesday. Larry seemed to be tired too.
When we got back to the resort, we saw our baseball friends practicing. It looked like they had more than enough players so Larry just sat down to watch. Then we heard, “Larry!!!” So sweet! They wanted Larry to come and play. He got his glove and laced up his cleats. They played a game of workups. You have 3 batters and you get to stay up as long as you don’t get out. If you get out, you start back at right field until you work yourself back up to batting. Larry got out his first at bat but his second time, he made it around the bases twice to have 3 at bats. He had a blast! Robin and I watched him play and chatted. Robin had been sick with the flu earlier in the week so we had seen little of him. I had offered to make him soup but he said he was doing better each day.
Friday we got up early to drive to Mazamitla an hour and 15 minutes away. It’s on the south side of Lake Chapala and then up in the mountains a bit more. It’s nestled in the hills at 8,200 feet. The town looks like a little Switzerland with small cobblestone streets surrounded by whitewashed adobe houses, tiled gable roofs, and balconies filled with flowers. The centro has San Cristóbal Parish which looks quite unique for Mexico. The town of Mazmitla is beautiful and caters to tourists.
We made plans with Deb to go horseback riding to the cascada el salto. Larry and I would have walked but Deb’s knee was acting up so she suggested the horsebacking riding tour to the falls. Larry wasn’t too enthused but agreed. I’ve ridden horses a few times but it’s usually a painful or scary proposition. I thought I’d give it another try.
The drive over to Mazamitla was exceptionally lovely! I would take that drive again before we leave.
Our reservations were for 11am and we would have the horses until 3 or so. That depended on how long it took to ride down and back. From Hidalgo calle where the Sierra Tours were located, we walked 4 blocks past the centro and San Cristobal Parish to the outskirts of town.
We found our horses with the guide waiting for us to arrive. He was very young, perhaps not even 16 and spoke no english. He helped us on the horses and showed us how to control them...a little. As soon as we were on, the horses began to walk. I looked back and didn’t see our guide. I thought maybe we were going to be on our own. Soon he came up behind us. The horses walked along on the cobblestone streets. It was pleasant for the most part but as we headed down, my horses hooves would slip. At times, I worried that his feet might buckle and I’d fall off. As we reached the end of town, we started on a flat dirt road. I was happy about that. As we trotted past some dogs, my horse sped up and I was bouncing like crazy. Again, I felt like I was going to be bounced off. I pulled the reins in and said “Whoa!” I was hoping that meant something in Spanish to the horse. He slowed down! It was mostly a good ride through lots of tall pine trees. The sky was a deep blue and the air was fresh. The tall trees were good for shade as it was getting very warm.
There were only a few patches in the hot direct sun and we appreciated the shade. My horse wanted to be the lead. If Deb or Larry’s horses got close, he’d cut them off. We went up for a long time. We had ATVs and motorcycles drive past in both directions and I was glad the horses were comfortable with this. They knew the routine. As we started down the steep gravelly winding dirt road, the horse’s feet would slip.
This really scared the crap out of me. At one point I told Larry to get the guide to get me off the horse. I would rather walk! He said I was doing fine. OMG! This part only lasted 15 minutes but it was 15 more minutes of terror than I wanted. We got to the part where we dismounted. Larry got off. I got help from the guide. I was walking over to help Deb and she was already on her way down. It was longer than she thought and she rolled her ankle while almost pulling the horse on her with the reins. OMG!! I helped her up but she knew right away that her ankle was bad. I helped her to the rest area and set her on a bench. We got the guide to get us a bag of ice. Deb said she would sit while we hiked down to the falls.
The hike was pretty easy with 135 stairs down then across a wooden bridge. A few more stairs to get to the bottom. It was very popular the day we were there. Lots of families, many of them had rode ATVs in. We spent about 30 minutes enjoying the lush green cool beauty of the falls and then headed back up all those stairs...in the hot sun. We had to buy another bottle of water! Deb decided to catch an ATV back to town. Larry and I with the guide would finish our ride back on horses. I asked the young guide if it was going to be as scary back. He giggled and said no. It wasn’t but when the horse took off running again a few times, I knew this was going to be the last time on a horse for me. I like things with real brakes and a throttle. Larry was in agreement. Horseback riding is checked off our lists of things to do.
We found Deb in the bar next to where we started our tour on Hidalgo calle. She had already finished one michelada and we had a drink with her. We went out to see the town a bit before heading to dinner on the way home. They had dollar bills hanging from the ceiling of the bar so I made one for Larry and I. The bar was small like a closet and had music turned up very loud. They were playing old 80”s American Music videos. It was funny. We walked around the town and took some pictures of the architecture. If you like to eat, drink and shop...Mazamitla is the place for you. It also has some other attractions if you stay longer.
Our friend Tino recommended an excellent restaurant on the way out of town called GiGi’s. We were not disappointed. The food was amazing and the portions were good. Deb sat with her foot elevated and nursed her red wine and delicious dinner of salmon. I got salmon as well without the bacon. Larry got camarones thai. We had a few beers too. All in all, it was a good day. Deb was a real trooper with her sprained ankle. I would say Mazamitla has a lot to offer as tourist destinations go. A big thumbs up!
Saturday was the best day of the week. It was Larry’s 53rd birthday! I had invited everyone that I saw in the campgrounds to meet at our cornhole spot around 2pm. I invited Tino and my other local friend Jose. We met Jose a few weeks ago at the pool. He lives just outside of the park and swims every few days. On Tuesday, he invited me to swim laps with him. He’s training for a triathlon because he says he’s having a mid life crisis right now...at the young age of 43. Lol Stephanie and John brought over the cornhole set. We borrowed some tables for the food I ordered from PastaTrenta. I had ordered enough food to feed 16 hungry folks and was happy they would deliver it to Roca Azul. Robin was feeling a bunch better and was able to come play. Carol and Marvin came too. Tino showed up a little after 4 when we were eating. A few local campers, Deon and his son stopped by as well as J.J. They enjoyed playing games with us. Deb stayed back at her trailer still icing her ankle. I delivered her dinner! At first Tino was unsure about trying cornhole but we convinced him to try. By the end of his first game, he was hitting the hole and I loved how excited (like a Kid) he got with his success. It was a great party. We had a campfire when it got dark. Carol and Marvin came over and we got to learn more about their travels. They are in their early 70’s and have been traveling for many years in the US. This is their first trip driving their Big Rig in Mexico. Their son John and his wife Stephanie have their own motorhome and soon they will be leaving to explore Mexico together. I really like them. They are super interesting and easy to hang out with. They are good cornhole competition too.
Sunday was a day of walking and resting. We are making plans for the upcoming week as we see the end of our time here approaching. There are a few things still on our list to do in the area…..so stay tuned!