After visiting Sierra Chincua two days before, and hearing that El Rosario was even better, anticipation was high. While half the group took the horses, I joined the walking group. The path was hard packed, or stairs; quite doable at a slow pace. The weight of the 300mm borrowed lens, camera, and new tripod, just about put me over the edge, until I asked our El Rosario guide if I could pay him to carry it. I was a new person. I scampered to the top and was delighted that all the equipment worked. Next time, more practice! We were surrounded by monarchs in clusters swaying in the wind, then still. Clusters were right over our head. Then the sun came out, and thousands burst from their clusters into a magical dance over the path between the trees. We had a delicious bagged lunch with us, so we could really take our time.
On the way back to the bus we finally had some time to buy absolutely gorgeous and inexpensive Mexican crafts, like sweaters, hats, and embroidery. It is really fun to shop when most of the souvenirs are locally made, and cost so little. And it means so much to the local population, which has only a short season to make some money from the forests they protect.
We headed off to Angangueo for our cooking lesson and dinner at the home of our guide Estela Romero. Two well qualified cooks, under the supervision of Estela’s
mother, showed us how tortillas were made, both by hand grinding the corn, and as well with a hand turned grinder. Did you know that the only ingredients in their tortillas is native blue corn and water?
We watched as the cook pan heated the chilis until they were brown, then peeled and stuffed them with either beef, tuna or cheese filling, then floured, battered and fried them, before simmering them in a seasoned tomato sauce. It was the best meal I had! Served with rice and beans (what else?), along with pulque for the adventurous, and finished off with various candied fruits. We even got a tour of Estela’s home, the history of which was fascinating. By this time, we all loved Estela, so it was so wonderful to learn more about her and her family.
What a day!