Monday, December 2, 2013

Urban Hiking

Have you ever heard the term "urban hiking" before? I don't know if it really applies to life in Mexico, where every single day is spent walking miles to and from work, the store, church, and any other activity. We try not to take cabs or busses, since we figure we are getting healthy by walking everywhere. So that is exactly what we put Caitlin's family through our first full day in San Cristobal. We took a collectivo into the center, and started our hike through town. 
We went to a handful of churches, ate at a great restaurant, visited the artisan market, and went on a super long trek up the top of the mountain (more on that later). Here are a few pics from the first half of our urban hike. :)
San Cristobal is full of churches, and we love exploring them all. These are two pretty famous ones. The one on the left is the one in the center of town. The plaza in front of the church always hosts cultural events, protests, dances, concerts, etc. The one on the right is where they host the artisan market every day. The market isn't inside the church, but surrounding it on two sides. 

At the artisan market, Clark and Teresa had a lot of fun picking out souvenirs for themselves and family. It was fun going with them since we've been so many times, the novelty of some things have worn off. Except for all the scarves. Caitlin is a sucker for a scarf. The lady in the picture taught Caitlin and her mom how to tie the scarf in their hands in a new way. They both bought one. Ha! 

After going to the artisan market, we went to another church that is set on the top of a hill. I think I blogged about this a few days ago when our friend Ian came. It has the best view of the city, and we knew we had to go to the top with Caitlin's family. 
At the bottom before starting our trek.
We decided to count the stairs all the way up. 279. That is a lot of stairs. So all together we did 558 stairs. We had to relax a little after our long hike. 
Halfway up.

Finally at the top!
The church at the top isn't spectacular, but there is exercise equipment and stuff if you wanted to work out after getting to the top.

Afterward Caitlin took a cab back with her parents, and Justin and I walked home and stopped by la iglesia de Merced. It is the first church Caitlin and I visited here in SC, so I thought it would be cool for him to see. 
La Iglesia de Merced
Then, since Caitlin had to teach in the evening, I took the family to the Mayan Medicine Museum, where we learned about the healing power of prayer, herbs, and candles. We also learned how Mayan midwives work, including the woman giving birth on her knees and the midwife giving the child his/her spirit. Fascinating stuff. 

At the museum, we also learned about Mayan saunas, or hot baths. Justin and I had to try one out, even though the stones were not hot. I can't believe someone would willingly cram themselves into such a small space to suffer from an overdose of humidity. 

They also had an herb garden (well more like plant garden) with all the ingredients they use for their remedies. There was also a store full of remedies, but it was so packed with indigenous people getting medicine that we couldn't talk to the "pharmacist" and ask him about different healing herbs. It would've been fun if we could have gotten some remedies and tried them out - but maybe next time.

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