Showing posts with label Mascota. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mascota. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

In Pursuit of Passion: Those Who Dare

Travel, for us, is pursuing a passion.  It is about risk-taking; leaving our routines and comforts to experience  new cities, countries and customs. 

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“You are so brave!”

So often that is the response when we talk of some destination or our plans for reaching and discovering it. (That's us high above Dubrovnik, Croatia in the photo above.)

No, not brave.

Just passionate about seeing the world while we are ‘young’ enough to do so.

Along the way we’ve met others who haven't let age or health deter pursuit of their passions. As the year draws to a close, we've been remembering some of those folks who’ve inspired us along the way:

~~~Ravenna, Italy~~~

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The two ladies in the photo above finally paused long enough for me to snap a photo of them while on a stop in Ravenna, Italy. They were fellow cruisers who had been a continual source of inspiration from the moment we first noticed them aboard the ship.

Their white-hair and frail-frames masked the spirits of a couple of independent travelers who were constantly on the go;  never missing a port of call – nor an afternoon of reading at poolside when on the ship.

~~~Poros, Greece ~~~~

Two years ago, on the Greek island of Poros we visited one afternoon with self-taught artist Vasilas Poriotis as he sat in his sidewalk gallery.

As our visit ended we told him that we hoped to return one day and find him there.  He said he would be  "if I am not dead." Then with a sweeping gesture over his work, he added,  "I am not focused on the end - I am not afraid of it when it comes. . .it is what you leave behind that matters. And I have left something behind. . .It is important to leave something behind."

~~~Adriatic Sea~~~

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John Koruga, who splits his time between Seattle and Mexico, has pursued his travel passions for decades. But it wasn’t until this fall, at age 86, he tried  the world of cruising. He flew from Seattle to Rome and boarded the Celebrity Silhouette, the cruise on which we also ‘looped Italy’s boot’.

SilhouettePt12012 329Age and health are not topics John readily discusses (although he had both knees replaced a few years ago); he’d prefer to talk about the next trip he’d like to make and he’s got quite a few on his list. In this photo he was teaching me the art of bocce ball.

~~~Bologna, Italy~~~

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It was  Anna Maria Monari, the 72-year-old owner of Trattoria Anna Maria that inspired during our visit to Bologna, Italy. She founded her restaurant 24 years ago in a smaller location a few blocks from its present site. Back then, Anna Maria was both waitress and chef, serving menu items created from her mother’s recipes.

She’s not entertaining thoughts of retirement either, as she told us,  “I am here every day.  Where else do I have to go? This is the party.  . .Mama Mia!”

~~~Mascota, Mexico~~~

It was on our stop last spring at  El Pedregal Museo, The Stone Museum in Mascota, Mexico the town high in the Sierra Madres near Puerto Vallarta where we met the owner, curator, and artist  Don Francisco Rodriguez.

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Pero, por que piedra? (But, why stone?), Joel asked of the 76-year-old artist as he explained how he goes to the river and searches for rocks, loads them into a wheelbarrow and hauls them.

Porque es mi pasion, (Because it is my passion),” he answered simply with a shrug and a grin.

~~~Kastri, Crete~~~

“The colors of the sea”  is what I told him when he said he wanted to make me a gift. But  the real gift was the time I spent with  Georgios Chalkoutsakis on that warm spring afternoon on Crete’s southern shore. Georgios is a glass bead artist whom some might label as 'handicapped', but I would call him talented! 

He is wheelchair bound as a result of a premature birth.  His hand movement is a bit limited but that hasn't kept him from perfecting his art of glass bead making. My colors of the sea are pictured on the left.

Yes, we believe it all comes down to daring to pursue a passion.  Will 2013 be the year that you begin pursuing a long-put-off passion?  Or will you simply step up the pursuit of an existing one?

Stop by Budget Travelers Sandbox today if you need a bit more travel inspiration.  And if you want to receive TravelnWrite posts in your inbox, sign up in the box on the corner,become a friend by signing up below that box (where our other friend’s photos appear) or follow us on Facebook. We'll get back to the Winter Western Road Trip this weekend.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

TPThursday: Mascota Mexico Magic

While we are traveling through Arizona this week, we are taking you back for a final look at Mascota, Mexico's magic with some of the photos we took earlier this month in this small town in the Sierra Madres.

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The church towers over the town’s square, its bells call out the time and bring the faithful to prayer.  Off to one side of the church  there is the shrine shown below of Father Jose Maria Robles Hurtado, a Catholic priest who was executed on June 25, 1927 as part of the conflict between the church and the Mexican government. He was beatified in 1992 and canonized in 2000 by Pope John Paul.  He is considered a son of this small town.

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The Robles family runs one of our favorite hangouts in town, the Napoles Bakery and Café, a few blocks from the church. Fr. Jose was a member of this family and his photo, articles about him and tributes have been on display in the bakery since the first time we visited 10 years ago.

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We made repeated trips to this sweet treat only a couple blocks from our hotel. . .afternoon coffee, dinner that night and breakfast before we left.  There is a warmth about their hospitality that we’ve found irresistible.  (Not to mention good food and drink!)

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We watched afternoon turn into evening from a park bench in the zocalo, the town square.  Actually we watched the man high in that church’s tower pulling the ropes to ring the bells and announce the start of the evening’s service. . .these days the Catholic Church is alive and well here.

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Just a few blocks from the square are the remains of the Templo de la Preciosa Sangre (Church of the Holy Blood).  This 19th Century church would have been enormous – it simply was never finished.

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That's it for Mascota. If you make it to Puerto Vallarta give yourself a couple of extra days and head to the hills.  For now it is Travel Photo Thursday and time to check out the photos on display at Budget Travelers Sandbox.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

TPThursday: Reality Travel–in Mexico

Our favorite trips are those to places that are off the tourist map; places like Mascota, Mexico.   They are places that fascinate just by their very being. Join us on a walk through this town up in the Sierra Madre Occidentals, the mountains that are a backdrop to Puerto Vallarta.

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Mascota, is a municipal seat and has regular bus service from Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara. Many of them are old but colorful.  The road from Puerto Vallarta is a paved, two-lane highway.

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It’s a town in the heart of agricultural lands, where cowboys ride their horses into town for real. I decided it felt way too touristy to photograph them as they approached so I took the coward's way and waited until they passed.

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It was as normal here to see a load of hay stacked high in the back of a pick-up truck, as it was to see the truck’s bed loaded with children and adult family members coming into town from the ranch.

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It’s the kind of place that tourists would likely criticize for having ‘nothing to see’ but travelers wouldn’t be able to resist its charms.

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These photos are reminders that every town we visit has a story.  I’ll show you some of the treasures we found here next week.

For now w it is Travel Photo Thursday so drop by Nancie’s Budget Travelers Sandbox for photos of other interesting places in this big old world of our.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TPThursday: Getting Stoned in Mascota, Mexico

Our trip down Mexico’s Memory Lane took us last Saturday to the small town of Mascota, Mexico, nestled high in the Sierra Madre’s behind Puerto Vallarta.

We were delighted to see that little had changed since our last visit nearly a decade ago. The pasteleria (bakery), the iglesia (church), the zocalo (town square), the archeological museum; all were as we remembered them. 

As we toured our favorites, Joel recalled ‘that house made of stone' and we set off to stand on the sidewalk and admire its construction as we’d done on previous visits.

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What made it so amazing was that the stones used in the border on this two-story home’s façade were so small they could  easily fit in one’s hand. It obviously had been meticulous, painstakingly detailed work.

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However, we were no longer  forced to admire the home from the sidewalk because seven years ago it had become a museum; El Pedregal Museo, The Stone Museum. Paying the 10 peso per person admission fee (less than $1US) gave us entry to one of those quirky, unexpected experiences that make this life of travel so wonderful.

We were greeted by the owner, curator, artist and our personal guide, all rolled into one Don Francisco Rodriguez, who told me I could photograph anything in the place with the exception of the dozens of historic photos that line the walls (each in a stone frame, of course).

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Perhaps because we were the only visitors at the time or because we were genuinely interested in his work, we toured the upstairs living area as well as the downstairs gallery. (Note the coffee table and the television surfaces as well as the walls are stone.)

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The dark diamond shape designs around the bed’s headboard and base are created by hundreds of black stones set into hundreds of gray stones that make up the background. “This is Fred Flintstone’s bed,” Don Rodriguez joked, as he provided a running commentary in Spanish.

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Everything and every surface in the gallery was covered with stone, including the guitars, and vases displayed at a stone planter.

Tables and chairs, whimsical and practical, you couldn’t help but be ‘stoned’ by the displays.

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Even the public restrooms in the gallery were stone, from the toilet to the sink and waste basket (yes, this really is the ladies room).

Pero, por que piedra? (But, why stone?), Joel asked of our 76-year-old artist as he explained how he goes to the river and searches for rocks, loads them into a wheelbarrow and hauls them back to his work table in the museum.

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Porque es mi pasion, (Because it is my passion),” he answered simply with a shrug and a grin. 

We spent far more time in the little museum than we had planned; his photos and the stories he told about them provided a fascinating history of this town in which he has lived his life.

I told him I planned to write about him and his museum for this blog. It was only then that he told me he was also a writer,  he’s authored four books on various historical aspects of the town and its culture.  (We later saw them displayed all over town). 

Writing is another of his passions and to that one I could relate!

Note:  If you find yourself in Mascota, (a 2.5 hour drive from Puerto Vallarta) the Stone Museum is two blocks beyond the town square and church. It is open ‘all the time’ according to Don Rodriguez (and if it isn’t, it would be worth going back to when it was). 

Today is Travel Photo Thursday so rock on over to Budget Travelers Sandbox to take a photo tour of other great places in the world.


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