A Day in the Environs of Querétaro — October 11, 2009

Four other PC volunteers joined us for a local tour of the surrounding area. With all the recent rains, the countryside was green and the local cacti were blooming and loaded with fruit (“tunas”). This was our first chance to see what lay outside of the downtown area of Querétaro. Our first stop was an impressive rock formation called the “Peña de Bernal”, which is reported to be the third largest rock monolith in the world, after Gilbralter in Spain and Ayes Rock in Australia. The rock is said to hold some magic spirits. I’m not sure about that, but the rock’s massive formation towering over the town does create some awe in the eye of the beholder. The town is also known for its “gorditas,” tortillas filled with cheese, meats, beans, etc, and its colorful woven materials.

The Queretaro region is becoming known for its wine production and the winery called, “Viñedos La Redonda,” was our next stop. After a tour of the vineyards and the production room, it was time to sample some of their wines. While many of the wines were sweet (which aren’t our favorite), there were a few dry wines which we tasted. The best was a Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard was located in a valley with low mountains in the distance. Behind the winery was an impressive cactus garden with some species as tall as 10 feet.

From the winery, we drove about 10 miles to a picturesque town called “Tequisquiapan”, which is known both for its restorative thermal waters and artisans. After a lunch of sopa de azteca, enchiladas filled with chicken, and arrachera (grilled meat), we wandered around the town’s main plaza with a neoclassical-style church (“Templo de Santa Maria de la Asunción”). Then it was on to the “mercado”, which housed a market of fruit and vegetables as well as crafts and assorted other products. We watched women peeling off the thorns from the “nopales” (cactus leaves), tortillas being made on a conveyor belt, and men selling many varieties of dried beans.

Our last stop was to learn about the production of cheese at “Queso VAI,” a large Mexican company which makes many varieties, including manchego, provolone, and types mixed with chiles. We were guided through the entire process, while wearing hairnets and facemasks. After a tour of the ripening cave and the animals (cows and sheep), we sampled some of the products (which were very good). With our purchases in hand, we boarded the bus for our ride back to Querétaro. The day in the environs had been a real success!

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One Response to “A Day in the Environs of Querétaro — October 11, 2009”

  1. Jeff Dutton Says:

    This posting makes me want to plan a visit to Queretaro!

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