During our weekend in Mexico, Jorge our incredible host suggested we visit Oaxaca, in the south of the country.  I have to confess to not being able to pronounce Oaxaca for the longest time and if you are in the same boat as me, you pronounce it “wah-haka” (at least I do).

The drive to Oaxaca is about 450km through some pretty amazing countryside with stands of Yucca trees and cacti, and rugged hills and canyons.  The city itself is has a very laid back feel and matching the old world Mexican architecture, similar to the original streets in Puebla.  Walking is the best way to explore Oaxaca and many of the streets are lined with interesting little stores and some great restaurants.

As in Puebla, the churches are spectacular inside but with a contrasting unassuming exterior.  The first church we visited was Santo Domingo de Guzman.  It was completed over 200 years after construction began in 1570 and interestingly it was used as a military barracks in the latter part of the 19th century, eventually turned back over to the church in 1938.  Today it also houses a museum.  The other major church we saw in town was the Cathedral, an imposing structure overlooking the main plaza, making up the heart of the city.  We were lucky to catch the start of some kind of flower festival at the cathedral.

I have come to realize if you really want to experience real Mexican life you have to visit the market and the one in Oaxaca was bustling!  Like many markets I’ve visited I am surprised how so many people selling very similar items make any money but I guess it is all about the relationships the stall holders form with the local people which I guess go back many years.


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