Monte Python…er Alban

Another great day to explore some of the finest archeological sites in the world. Today, Monte Alban. It’s no joke, but a UNESCO World Heritage site.

A little winded after climbing to the top for this spectacular view of the site on another beautiful, cloud-streaked, sunny day.

Monte Alban was the site of the former ceremonial center and main city of the Zapotec culture. It was excavated by literally cutting off the top of a mountain, like opening the top of a soft boiled egg, making an enormous, perfect plain…and building from there.

Arriving at the south platform, 400 meters above the Oaxaca valley.

It’s history began with the Olmecs around 500 BCE, and dominated life in the region. It fell under the influence of Teotihuacan during the height of its power and declined in later years until being abandoned by 800 AD.

Amazing stone tablets give important records of the local goings on at Monte Alban. These depict the act of castration and associated agony of the offender. Imagine this in your local “Town Topics”.

Another “deadly” ball court, even larger than the one at Yagul.

From Monte Alban we headed back to the Oaxaca city center for an afternoon exploring the City squares, the Beautiful Santo Domingo Church, the regional museum of archeology and some of the other places Marsha and I visited some 24 years ago as part of a small group of crafters exploring the local craft villages; weaving, wood carving, and, of course, pottery. And taking a cooking course to learn the secrets of the five Oaxacan moles.

The exact spot we took this photo 24 years ago, except for Marsha’s black hair.
From the tombs exposed in archeological sites in this area.
This is the view from one of the balconies at the museum into beautifully diverse and well-maintained gardens.

The museum is in a spectacular old monastery, and our guide was so full of knowledge about the artifacts that he went on as though we were gathering info for our doctoral dissertations. We split a little early to sooth our aching backs and feet.

We were exhausted by mid afternoon (close to 14,000 uneven steps) so we decided to splurge in a true Oaxacan gourmet restaurant. We deserved it!

Salsa prepared table side with stylized ingredients and, stylized levels of heat for each diner. Perfect.
An entree of Mahi Mahi
I had a gorgeous plate dish of pulpo (grilled octopus) with slices of Oaxaca chorizo in a slightly spicy tomato based sauce with mayonnaise and guacamole dressing. Never had a better pulpo dish
A unique dessert focused on an ice cream that was based on one of Oaxacas (savory) moles??? Fellow diner said it was awesome.

Now completely satiated, but in need of walking off the late lunch/early dinner while we awaited the hotel shuttle, we inspected the market again picking up a few more “treasures”. The shuttle was an hour late, and we had to take a taxi, but that didn’t spoil our great memories of the day.

After breakfast the next day we drove to the Oaxaca airport for our 1 1/2 hour flight to Cancun, and the long drive to Ecotel Quinta Regia. We arrived about 8 pm (having crossed time zones twice – once to
Eastern, then back to Central) just in time for a nice dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. The hotel is in Valladolid, about an hour from the pinnacle of the journey for us, Chichen Itza, the only modern “Wonder of the World” we haven’t been to. Join us for the exciting “discovery” next.

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2 Responses to Monte Python…er Alban

  1. bob co says:

    Been enjoying another armchair vacation provided by J&M tour co., so glad you make the time to take us with you!, Looks great as always….

  2. Binnie Thom says:

    14,000 steps!!! Acts of castration!! Skeleton skulls!! Pulpo!!!
    At least there was ice cream.

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