Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca – markets and artesans

Oaxaca has been a real treat, and two days here was simply not enough. The population is around 270,000, which means there is a very small town feel to it. The people are friendly, there are many ankle-breaking cobblestone streets and pretty coloured buildings – it’s a very inviting place.

While Oaxaca is famous for its food, there were plenty of other things to do and see.  One morning we wandered up to some local artesan markets,the Mercado de Artesanias,  which included some of the things that Oaxaca is famous for – local weaving and pottery especially. It was a wonderful place to spend some time, and we didn’t come away empty handed.

Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico

From there it was to the Santo Domingo church just a few blocks away from our little hostel. It didn’t look much from the outside, but was incredible on the inside – very ornate, lots of gold, every single surface covered with a beautiful decorative piece. That’s my kind of church! Just next door to it is the Cultural Museum of Oaxaca which was highly recommended to us. It is in the area previously inhabited by the monks, and adjoining the church. It was a beautiful building, and the museum itself was very interesting.

Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico

For our final day, as well as taking advantage of the fantastic food with a food tour and cooking class in the morning, we took ourselves off on an adventure to a little local town called San Bartolo. This is where the famous Oaxacan black pottery is from. We were quite proud of took local transport, getting there via a local colectivo taxi, which we shared with three others. I was happy to be in the back seat and not one of the unfortunate two people squished into the front passenger seat!

Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico

Once there all hopes of a quaint little rustic village were dashed, as the local artesan market and town square sat next to a 4 lane highway. However this didn’t put us off, and the trip was well worth while.  We found a small shop where they gave demonstrates on how the items are made. This of course made us feel terribly guilty having paid such a small amount for such a labour intensive product. It was also fascinating to discover that the pattern on many of the items is created from a humble coca cola bottle-top.  I wonder how they did it in the days of the Aztecs?!

It was a brief visit but definitely worth it.  In fact, my recommendation is to take three or four days …. or more if you can.  It’s a wonderful place to hang out for a few days.

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