Subject: Re: Back to Mexico: Oaxaca question

a couple of years ago we stayed in Las Bugambilias and really loved it. We had the room called Las Margaritas, it had been recently remodeled, excellent bathroom, facing the garden on the second floor, with a private terrace

Breakfasts were out of this world. Everyday they set up the table differently in a feast of colors. Breads, juices, and cakes were home made with organic seeds and flours. Everyday a different main dish, Mexican, but with a modern approach. Lighter, delicious, beautifully decorated. I do not know Las Golondrinas but this could not have been any better. We also loved the fact that the Restaurant La Olla is located in the same premises across the garden. Food was delicious, we ate tons of salads and we never had any problem. Another plus were the LOW rates for long distance calls. Only pennies and this is indeed a plus in Mexico.Their laundry service was good and also very inexpensive.

From Mexico City to Oaxaca we took the UNO bus that turned out to be a very pleasant trip. We bought the tickets and reserved seats by phone from home. Nearby Las Bumgavilias there is a very expensive and trendy kind of Mexican minimalist boutique hotel called Casa Oaxaca, have a peak ...we had dinner there one night, expensive but good. The Chef of La Olla has also a b&b called Casa de Sabores, we took a cooking class one day. It was fun because she also took us to the market to do the shopping. And of course going to the market is an unforgettable experience ... then we had lunch al fresco by the patio of the Casa de Sabores. It is something worth doing.

We went several times to the Santo Domingo chapel. Fascinating. And to the next door Museo Arqueologico of Oaxaca. It is a good idea to go there before visiting Monte Alban which was the highlight of our visit. We took the bus leaving from Hotel Rivera del Angel to go to Monte Alban. $4 dollars round trip.

To go to Mitla, we took a tour from the nearby Hotel Camino Real. It was very good considering I do not like tours. It was worth it.It included a stop in Teotitlan del Valle and a rug maker. Also a visit to Tlacolula's market . On our own we visited the amazing church. The name of the tour agent is Mundo Prehispanico de Oaxaca phone 01 951 516 18 06. It also stopped in Tule. The guide was well informed but was not talking ALL the time, didn't abuse taking us SHOPPING and left us a lot on our own.

To visit the villages going South and the Friday market at Ocotlan visiting the Aguilar Sisters ceramic shops and San Martin Tilcajete,( woodcarving), Santo Tomas Jalietza,( weavers) and San Bartolo Coyotepec( black ceramic) we hired a car with a driver. It was a mixed experience and at the end of the day I believe it might be better simply to take a tour. A good one like the one I mentioned before.

I have to tell you what happened with the driver of the car we hired by the hour to illustrate the Mexican idiosyncrasy. It was an older driver. It was our first day in Oaxaca and we told him we might hire him for the day more than once. He seemed pleased with the perspective. When we arrived at Ocotlan it was market day and we agreed to meet him in a couple of hours at the door of the Rodolfo Morales home museum. At the appointed time, he was not there. Fifteen,twenty minutes later he was not there.I stayed at the museum's door and my husband walked back to the main plaza where he had left us earlier that morning. Sure enough, there he was sipping a coke in a café with a friend. So my husband tells him : " Hey we were waiting for you at the Museum, my wife is over there, please come and pick us up" ... again we waited and waited and no sight of the car. So for the second time we walked (both of us) back to the cafe and there he was still chatting with his friend drinking his coke!! No language problem because we both speak perfect Spanish. I though my husband was going to kill him. ( I felt likewise) During all the trip back he apologized but frankly it was not easy to excuse him ... that was when we switched to organized tours.-

We loved Oaxaca, we spent lazy hours drinking in the Zocalo's cafes under the pasiva. Enjoying at dusk the daily flag ceremony, the municipal band and all kinds of ambulant sellers. It seems every person is selling something. We did not like the Juarez Museum. Focused in the Museo Nacional Arqueologico where we went twice. One Friday night we had a buffet dinner + Guelaguetza show in the Hotel Camino Real. It was ok. For restaurants we enjoyed Los Naranjos and as I said found La Olla very convenient. Our most elaborated meal was at Casa Oaxaca.

We enjoy the fact that contrary to Mexico City we could flag taxis in the street ( This was ok two years ago, I hope it remains the same)

Hope you have a great time in this lovely provincial town.

Graziella Miami Beach