A Day's Ride out of Oaxaca City

Huge tree at El Tule, Oaxaca
We did not get to far today but we saw a lot. First we visited the hugest tree I ever saw “El Arbol del Tule” 54 meters circumference and 45 meters high.

Second stop was the village of renowned weavings, Teotitlan. We stop by several shops and did get a couple of impressive demonstrations I saw a rug being woven for a doctor in Oaxaca which was huge, 9 feet by 20 feet and will take a month to weave at "Casa Santigago". I stopped by another old master weaver, Irene Jimenez Lazo and her family. Wonderful smaller rugs for around $70 dollars. If you get there her house and workshop is behind the main church. The church was built on an Aztec pyramid and some of the walls use the curved blocks from the old temple. We visited the artesian market next to the church. It is frustrating to see such wonderful craftsmanship and not be able to buy a thing. Both for me and the poor weaver. You can read about the weavers here. I bought a woven change purse for a dollar.

Just 5 miles down the rode we saw another amazing site that we would only see in Mexico. A mezcal distillery owned and operated by master Francisco Mateo Escobar. As we were riding down the rode we saw a group of men cutting up a huge centers of agave plants. We went over to investigate and ended up having a private tour of how mezcal (a kind of hard liquor) is produced: The three foot diameter pineapple of the agave plant is cut up, roasted in a deep pit, ground by a horse drawn stone into hair-like fibers which will be fermented in a huge wooden barrel, then cooked in a copper distiller. When it is close to perfection and 120 proof and the good stuff when poured bubbles will have white pearly bubbles floating on top.
We tasted the mezcal at different stages of development and then had a tasting sessions of nearly most of the 20 varieties of bottled Mezcal. Yum! Well, after that we rode to the closest town, carefully. Had lunch at 4:00 in the afternoon, found a hotel.and had a nice long nap. Bike touring is wonderful!