Friday, January 11, 2013

Christmas Day, Oaxaca, 2012

 Christmas Day was bright and warm, as usual, and my daughter let us sleep until 6. Christmas is Christmas, and there were stockings to be opened! (Well, I hadn't wanted to drag the actual stockings across the country, so we decorated plastic grocery bags and hung those for Santa. He figured it out.)
This is the morning view from our living room window, looking out over Santo Domingo church to the mountains. After breakfast and presents, we set out for our annual Christmas Walk. Usually this is along the Shore Path in Bar Harbor, and bitterly cold. No large bodies of water here in Oaxaca, so we wandered up the hill near our house and found this amazing neighborhood built along a staircase.
 Several days later, I got a map from the tourist kiosk in the Zócalo that identified this as the Escaleras del Fortín. The map featured not only museums, churches, and other ordinary tourist attractions, but also pointed out special trees within the city. So cool! The map was in Spanish, but I gather that these trees were planted around the turn of the 20th century, making them roughly 100 years old. 
 The stairs lead up to the Guelaguetza amphitheater, and a dirt road goes past that to the Planetarium at the top of the hill, where there is an overlook with a panoramic view of the valley. We're pretty sure that's Monte Albán at the top of the hill in the photo below. (More about Monte Albán in the next post.)
 Local friends told us later that this is a good spot for muggings, so if you go, bring lots of friends (there were nine of us!) It's definitely not a tourist area, and I can find practically nothing about it in guidebooks or online.
No further adventures on Christmas Day: the afternoon and evening were spent having hot chocolate with friends and playing very loud games of Anomie, so I'll leave you with photos of Christmas decorations from around the city.

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