TEQUILA!

I arrived in Tequila early afternoon, plenty of time I thought to visit one of the many distilleries. I had selected Mundo Cuervo as my preferred choice for 2 reasons : It is the Jose Cuervo distillery, one of the largest and oldest in the world, and it is located right in the town’s main plaza. I had assumed, wrongly, that they would have a large parking area for the busloads of tourists and once parked I would be able to browse the town.

First of all I couldn’t find the plaza and got lost in narrow and poorly paved cobble stoned streets. When it became obvious that I was going in the wrong direction, I turned around and retraced my steps where I knew I must have missed my mark. On the way there, obviously lost, parked on the side of a busy intersection and with my map on my lap, a truck stopped near me and the driver asked me in English if he could help. He showed me the way and led me to an even narrower street saying “count 7 blocks and turn right, and 2 blocks and turn left”. One block into this road I was panicking a little with huge trucks coming my way, oh my, I thought, I’m never going to make it in one piece! Traffic relaxed a bit and I even stopped on the way to purchase a Santa Clause Piñata to give the truck a bit of a Christmas atmosphere.

The closer I got to the center the busier the streets. I asked for directions and knew I was close. If only I could park the RV I could just walk, I thought. By sheer miracle I found a parking space on the side of a typical narrow street that still allowed room for trucks to pass me by without scraping the RV. I got the pets settled in, and walked to the town’s main plaza, which happened to be only a few blocks away.

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Can you see Santa in the window?

The plaza was a large and beautifully decorated open space, lined with churches, cafés, boutiques and arched terraces.

I walked around in search of the Mundo Cuervo distillery and when I found it decided not to spend the money on a tour and be rushed through the last guided visit of the day, but go to the adjacent Tequila museum instead to learn about the process of making this wonderful beverage. My guide book had indicated that a small hacienda in a village outside of Tequila is always rated as number one by the visitors of the touristic Tequila Tours that abound in the region. This would be a better and cheaper choice I thought.

I decided instead to enjoy the sounds and sights of this wonderful town. While browsing I had noticed a tourist sipping a drink in an earthen ware jar. Interesting I thought. I also compared prices and with the help of pictures on menus I had decided to try the “carne en su jugo” a slow cooked meat in its own juice. It looked delicious!

When I found the place that was selling the mysterious drink in a clay pot, I treated myself to a Cantarito. First they put ice cubes at the bottom and sprinkle a few grains of coarse salt. Then comes the freshly pressed juice of half a lime, orange and grapefruit.  They poured in orange soda for fizz and a LARGE glass of tequila! But that is not all my friends, in true Mexican fashion Chili had to come in somehow, in a sweet granulated fashion. Give it a swirl and Voila! It was divine and dangerously deceptive! No wonder everyone looked so happy, they are all half drunk!

I slowly made my way to the restaurant I had selected for my dinner.

The waiter was very helpful in showing me how to eat this traditional meal Mexican style. You add the side dishes to the main one and roll a tortilla that you would eat in between spoonful of stew.

Even on its own the stew was very flavorful, but when the other ingredients, chopped fresh white onion, cilantro and avocado were added to the mix, it added quite a bit more contrast and was simply fun and delicious to eat.DCIM100GOPROGOPR6086.

I made my way “home” and decided that I might as well stay put and spend the night right where I was. I took Marley for his evening walk and discovered that I was close to another bustling shopping area. The night had fallen and I felt safe walking the busy boulevard with Marley by my side. What fun! I usually never go out after dark, but this felt very safe. I bought 2 cheap skirts, treated myself to a large glass of Coconut Frescada (half of it was finish the following night with Tequila!) and enjoyed the night scene of a small town such as Tequila. No tourists now, but lots of young people and it seems that’s when the general population do their shopping – when the sun is down. I got back to the RV it was only 7:30 pm!

The road I was on was very loud and busy and I had to keep the windows closed because of the exhausts, but after a while, I am guessing 10:00 pm it grew quiet and didn’t resurrect until 7:00 am the next morning, so we ended up having a good night sleep after all.

Because my parking spot was so perfect and I wanted to enjoy the town some more, I decided to treat myself to a coffee at the town square and take Marley with me.  We sat at one of the cafés lining the square and discovered that people were setting up booths for the week-end! Bonus I thought, I’m going to look for gifts and trinkets later on.

I eventually ordered breakfast, which came as I am discovering must be a Mexican fashion, with lots of extras in pretty side dishes. First came two pieces of buttered cinnamon-sugar toast. Yum!

My omelet arrived with a side of “frijoles” (slow cooked beans) and salsa of course!img-20161216-wa0000

I decided to follow the street alongside the Jose Cuervo building. As I was climbing up a pretty hill with picturesque homes, I happened to pass by the private gardens of the Cuervo distillery when the gardeners were there and they allowed me in to take some pictures.

I continued on my road, all the way to the dead end.

When I came back to the square, the market was in full swing. I found some wonderful pieces at a very reasonable price (much cheaper than in Guadalajara).

We were just a few hours outside of Guadalajara and I wanted to allow plenty of time to find my campsite on the outskirt of town as well as visit a distillery on the way.

It was a spur of the moment thing, when I saw the ample parking space in front of the Tres Mujeres Tequila distillery, to stop for a tour. I discovered to my great surprise that it was free! Even better!

Here is my guide, Christina, is showing me how tall the agave plant can get. This one is only 3 years old. They are usually harvested when they are 8 years old. I enjoyed my private tour. In the cellar where they mature the tequila in oak barrels from France, classical music was playing to relax the wine. I then sampled the different quality of Tequila, dependent on how long it was aged.

The Blanco (white) Tequila is unaged while the Tequila Reposado (rested) has been aged for 3 months and there is already a distinct difference between these two stages.

The Tequila Añero (vintage) came in 3 years or 8 years of maturity (black label).

In the store, the best vintages were sold at over $100 and are best savored neat as you would a good Bourbon. I wanted to recreate the Cantarito I had in Tequila, so I bought the cheapest one. No need to mix the good stuff with fruit juice! I learned that you can add Tequila to Chocolate milk, but I am sure chili and such is added to the mix as well. Margueritas here are with pomegranate juice – I have yet to sample a true Mexican Marguerita – something I look forward to doing, may be while sitting at another picturesque town square?

palm-tree

Until next time my new road amigos!

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Au plaisir de la route!DCIM100GOPROGOPR6076.

Kiki

 

 

 

 

 

 

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