For us europeans we have always referred to Mexico by using the words Siesta and Fiesta a lot. Typically when we think of Siesta we have the picture of a Mexican snoozing off beneath his huge sombrero in the early hot afternoon hours. Well, so far I haven’t seen a single sombrero type snoozing Mexican, and up in the highlands of Mexico the sun isn’t that strong anymore around this time of the year. I did however find some of those fiestas…
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Instead of going directly to Guanajuato, I decided to make a stop in Atotonilco el Alto, more precisely in the pueblo Santa Elena where the swiss but long time self chosen Mexican Charly is running a nice place with a Restaurant, Hotel and Campsite. First of all, it is a really nice place to relax, it’s located at the end of the pueblo and is very well designed. Second, it’s nice to get a little bit of home once in a while. Charly is not the only Swiss living there, there’s also Valentin who owns a mill in Atotonilco. And then there were also Edith, Malinka and Regula. Visitiors from Switzerland or for some parts from Senegal (Regula is living for parts of the year in Africa). For a change I could speak a lot of swiss german around there. Third: Food! Upon my arrival I join the whole bunch of swiss, and I soon get to enjoy very tasty cheese as we know it from central europe. The cheese is made locally by a mexican, who went to europe to learn the art of cheese making. He certainly learned very well! When I travel out of Europe usually it’s very hard to find what we call decent bread. Charly’s Restaurante is one place where you will find that! Put in short: I enjoyed all the good finger food and the company of the lovely swiss ladies and the cool swiss guys living there and I end up staying a few days more (again) than I planned.
As it happens to be, there was also “La fiesta de Santa Elena”. A small pueblo having a party with food, drinks and live music. Standing around the main square I notice some of the younger people walking around the square in some sort of “formation”. Like 4 next to each other and just behind another 4. I learn that traditionally the girls would circle the square counterclockwise while the boys circle around clockwise. It seems there’s a tiny bit left of that tradition. Then people are hanging out on the main square having beers or tequilas in their hand. Might sound normal, but ever since I started my trip it’s not allowed to drink alcoholic beverages in public. But here in the fiesta it is. Or at least nobody cares, it’s a fiesta anyways! Certainly one thing I enjoy, sitting o a lively square enjoying a good drink. And when I am hungry I just head over to Felipe to get some of his damn tasty tortas (no, it’s not a cake, rather a sandwhich filled with meat). Charly and I also wanted to ride the bumper cars, but it turns out they are for kids. We might squeeze into them but the operator said the enginge is so small we probably won’t move. Well, we have to stick to bumping our tequila glasses then! :)
But not enough with the public fiesta! I was also invited to join a private party, Charly’s neighbour was holding a communion party for his daughter. More good food, live music, drinks and another good bunch of kind and fun mexicans!
With all that fiesta, drinking, eating and meeting kind mexican people we come back to the siesta. My body and mind are calling for it and I enjoy sleeping in till noon a few times, although not beneath the sombrero ;)
When I was still in Guadalajara, the Colima Volcano errupted and several thousand people around it had to be evacuated. The movie clips going through the news and through the social media looked quite spectacular. But you have to keep in mind it was shot in the dark (where you can see the lava glow) and in a timelapse. Still I have been curious if one might still get to see some smoke coming out from the top.
Charly suggests taking a dayride down to the volcano to see what’s going on. Usually I prefer not to go on any dayrides, I am riding already a lot and I really do enjoy time off the bike. But am really curious about the Volcano. So we head off together on a nice ride through beautiful landscapes with nice twisty roads. It is a fun ride and day after all. Oh, the Volcano? Well, we don’t see anything, no smoke and neither a volcano. The whole thing is covered in a think layer of clouds. And some heavy dark clouds almost get us covered with heavy rain. But we manage just in time to escape the incoming bad weather front.
After all I enjoy a few relaxed days around Charly’s Restaurante with great people, great food, great fiestas and a good dose of siesta :)
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Colorful tile work in Charly’s Restaurante
The water level on Lago de Chapala is very shallow, there are a lot of plants sticking out from the whole lake.
The gardenere of El Palmar Restaurante on Lago de Chapala was very interested in my motorcycle and journey. A really nice Mexican!
I love the colorful doors in foreign countries
Those small Chilis have the power to take you “out” for quite a while
The clock on the chruch in Santa Elena has stopped working many years ago
Mexicans love live music on their festivals!
Meeting great mexican people at the Fiesta de Santa Elena
Spent a few great days staying in Charly’s place
I loved Felipe’s Tortas, very tasty!
That’s where the Colima Volcano supposedly is located
We could literally see the rain incoming, so we had to head off quickly to avoid getting soaked
Lago de Chapala is Mexicos biggest lake
Charly certainly likes to pose for pictures
Me and Charly had a fun day out riding
Mexico is full of butterflies of all sizes and colors
One of the horses in Charly’s Restaurante
Edith and Regula playing a charade with their self made ape and mexican string puppets
Charade of ape and mexican string puppets. I have always been fascinated by string puppets!
It was fun to be invited to the private communion party of Charly’s neighbour
Live music at a private “communion” party in Santa Elena
Charly makes some really tasty swiss bread
Charly’s REstaurante close to Atotonilco el Alto is a great place to relax and eat some great food