Back in May of this year, when the idea of the Mexico trip was born, we knew that we wanted to include a visit to Durango. Ernesto's mamita lives there and he had never been to visit her. Before I tell this story, I must give a bit of family history: Mamita, and her daughter Veronica lived with Ernesto's family while he was growing up. Mamita was his second mom. Mamita even took care of Ernesto's mom when she was growing up too, so she is part of the family and Veronica is like his sister. Pepe is Veronica's husband and they both are from Durango.
This summer while in San Diego, we met Jordi. He is Pepe's cousin and lives in Durango. We went bike riding with him there a few times and he told us about this bikeride from Durango to Mazatlan in Mexico. "You have to do it!" "yes, that sounds great we'll do it!" A plan was made.
We arrived to mamita's in the afternoon and I was so pleasantly surprised that her house was turquoise!!
Mamita was so happy to see us. We visited for just an hour before Jordi and his wife Yasmin picked us up and took us straight to "el rancho" where there was a carne asada going on. Only 15 minutes outside the city of Durango and you are in the mountains in the middle of many ranches.
As you can see we were welcomed by Pepe's family and they were so nice and accommodating. They even offered us the ranch to stay later that week if we wanted to. The house has the best mountain view.
It was our longest stop on the Mexico trip. We stayed at mamita's for 5 days. We thought we would relax for a week, after moving around so much the weeks before. We were wrong. We were booked solid with family gatherings and bike appointments and dinners. Not relaxing, but so much fun!
We had committed to the 200 mile bike ride called "la ruta" and were quite excited about it. Jordi is a big time cyclist, and told us before we arrived that everything would be ready for us. Early in the week, he had us over to his house to pick out which bike we would ride to Mazatlan that Friday. His garage was like a bike shop with 9 or 10 bikes and all sorts of gear. We test rode a couple and found a good fit. Ready to go at 7am Friday!
One morning Jordi and Yazmin drove us to Las Ventanas. This is a site not listed in the LP guide. Only the locals know about this they said. It is very special place for them, as they were married here almost 10 years ago. It was so beautiful.
Once we got a little higher, we weren't able to see past the clouds into the valley, but if you look down you can see the steep drop.
Also out in the direction of Las Ventanas, there is an archaeological site of the Chalchihuites. It is believed that this site was occupied AD 100 to AD 1400.
Back in front of mamita's house the corn man rode by yelling "eloteeeeees" and I asked Neto to run out to get me one. I just love the convenience of good food on the streets of Mexico. I am used to an ice cream trucks, but corn, tacos, fruit, nuts etc.? It's a wonderful thing.
Although at first mamita protested this, one night we took her with us out to el rancho to spend the night. It was great, because she doesn't get out much and I know she was so happy to see something new. She is a really funny lady and the relationship between she and Neto is so sweet. She laughs at everything Neto does. She loves to hear all his shit talking and teasing. She was so happy he was there with her.
We bought beers and stuff to make a pico de gallo. We sat in the kitchen laughing and chopping.
We moved our chairs to look out over the mountains and watched an amazing sunset.
The day before we were leaving for Mazatlan, we went to the centro to see the historic zocolo.
The Plaza de Armas is one of the nicest we saw, but I have to say that the city of Durango is not very attractive outside of this block. (outside the city is a different story) It was my least favorite city [looks wise] BUT the people we met an the "family time" spent made it one of our best stops. Our week there was all about the people...and we have never been treated so good!
Our last night in Durango we stayed at Jordi and Yazmin's house because we were leaving on La Ruta (aka: the bike ride from hell) the next morning. To be continued......