Mexico Trip Journal – Day 5 – Oaxaca

categories: mexico travel

I am not sure if they have hot showers at this hostel (Hostel del Mercado) which is something I had read in reviews before coming. I certainly did not have one but there seemed to be hot water at the sink nearby. The showers are “complete bathrooms” which means the shower and toilet are in the same enclosure.

For breakfast they brought out tea for me and a pancake and I thought “well that’s OK I don’t need a big breakfast”. Then they brought me a tasty eggs over tortilla chips dish and a small loaf of fresh bread.

After breakfast I headed to the Zocalo and the Cathedral which is at an adjacent square. I walked through the two markets near the hostel. At 10am many of the shops were just opening. There is some great smelling food in the markets, flowers, clothes, spices and many other things.

The Zocalo already had a good crowd of people milling about. There are sidewalk cafes on two of the sides, street vendors, shoeshine stands and a gazebo in the center.

the Zocalo of Oaxaca Zocalo of Oaxaca

Then I toured the cathedral near by. The cathedral is not the most spectacular church in town.

cathedral of Oaxaca

The honor of most spectacular church goes to the church of Santo Domingo which was my next stop. This church interior is gilded extensively and some workers were working apparently to re-gild parts of one wall.

Santo Domingo church re-gilding

museum at Santo Domingo church I toured the museum connected to the church in the old abbey. It has displays of artifacts from the area from the Zapatec civilization through more recent history. None of the displays are in English but an audio guide is available. The entry fee was the same as the National Museum in Mexico City at 51 pesos and another 35 pesos to use your video camera. This museum was less extensive, but the building itself was also interesting.

This seemed to be my day to teach people how to use their new cameras. I ran into a couple from Scotland and Portugal and two gentlemen from London and spent about a half hour total doing a little class in how to get good pictures from their cameras. Both cameras where one of the small Canon point and shoot cameras. Oddly one of the two seemed to have no fill flash option anymore.

Torta CubanaLunch was a Torta Cubana from the restaurant La Grand Torta. A torta is a sandwich and I am a bit of a connoisseur of the sandwich. This was a good one with ham, egg, cheese, beans, avocado, mushrooms and tomato. After that it was time for a siesta in the heat of the day.

After my siesta I went to the large market in the more rustic southern part of town just over the railroad tracks. The market is amazingly huge. I am not sure there is anything you could not find at the market. They had clothes, cutlery, fruit, small food stalls, pots and pans and you could even see a dentist or get a gynecological exam. Parts of it are a dark warren and I noticed only two other tourists there unlike the rest of town that has a serious tourist infestation.

Oaxaca market Oaxaca market

I walked around after that taking pictures of Oaxaca and some of its architecture.

I then met with Sarah who was the guest on Travel to Oaxaca, Mexico – Amateur Traveler Episode 174 for coffee. I had a famous Oaxaca hot chocolate instead. It was great to meet in person with someone trying to make a living travel blogging.

Dinner was a pastry and a cup of corn (with butter, salt, and picante) from a street vendor.

The Zocalo at night was filled with families and with music. There was a band concert in the gazebo and it seemed like most of the town had come out.

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

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