Tag Archives: Mexico

Mission San Francisco Solano – Sonoma, California

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Mission San Francisco Solano was the 21st, last and northernmost mission in Alta California.

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 It was the only mission built in Alta California after Mexico gained independence from Spain. The difficulty of its beginning demonstrates the confusion resulting from that change in governance.

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You see, the California Governor wanted a robust Mexican presence north of the San Francisco Bay to keep the Russians who had established Fort Ross on the Pacific coast from moving further inland. A young Franciscan friar from Mission San Francisco de Asis wanted to move to a location with a better climate and access to a larger number of potential converts.

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Here is a photograph of the Mission in 1910

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and one taken by the Tin Man……….notice that the building is very much the same today and the original bell stands where it always has…

 

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The Mission was successful given its short eleven year life but was smaller in number of converts and with lower productivity and diversity of industries than the older California missions.

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The mission building is now part of the Sonoma State Historic Park and is located in the city of Sonoma, California.    

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Sonoma is considered the birthplace of wine-making in California, dating back to the original vineyards of Mission San Francisco Solano, so Tin Man considers this a most important historic landmark!

We so enjoyed walking about and exploring the historic site…..alas we were the only ones inside, the trinket shops were packed but there seemed to be no interest in history today……

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On July 4, 1823 the soldiers placed a large redwood cross on the place in the Sonoma Valley where they expected the ‘new’ Mission San Francisco de Asis to be established. Then they celebrated Mass to consecrate the location. They then returned south to begin gathering men and materials to begin construction.

Tin Man imagined marvelous breads baking in this oven all those years ago….

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Beginning in October, 1823 Fr. Altimira had the opportunity to build his new mission at the location he chose but since Mission San Francisco de Asís would remain open this Mission needed a different patron saint. Altimira chose San Francisco Solano, a 17th-century Franciscan missionary to South America.    His company of soldiers and neophytes set about building all the facilities needed in a California mission. His annual report for 1823 listed no baptisms, one marriage, one funeral.

Father Altimira was admonished by investigating church officials for his over-use of flogging. Fearful of a native uprising, he left for San Rafael and then moved on to Mission Buenaventura in southern California. As a result of growing Mexican pride, there was considerable sentiment in favor of forcing out priests who were Spanish-born. In 1828, Father Altimira voluntarily returned to his native Spain.
His replacement was Father Buenaventura Fortini, an older priest, who was both a fine administrator and a kindly man of the cloth, who gained the respect and trust of the Indian population.

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In the Pursuit of Trivia and World Peace

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Life in the Emerald City has taken a turn for the worst.  The water well has gone dry several days ago and rain is no where in sight.  The water well on the ranch of the Tin Man was dug in the 1800s and has never stopped flowing…..

…..that is until now….. 

Shall the Emerald City one day look like the surface of the Moon? 

Every week the water truck pulls up to the house and pumps water into the holding tank and the Tin Man wonders how long he desires to live in this place, the place of his ancestors. 

It fills the heart he got from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz with great sadness.

 

Recently, someone wrote a history of the area and presented him with a copy of the book; the Tin Man was quite touched as he sat and read the stories of these brave immigrants to a new world, a world belonging to Mexico and how these early immigrants relied on the help and protection of these original owners in order to survive. 

He looked into the expectant faces from the old photographs and envisioned the dreams the ancients had for creating a better place. 

He read the stories of how the original people of this land, the Mexicans helped them and protected them and wonders how and why today the people of this new land turn their backs on the original owners and want to build giant fences to separate themselves from these giving people, why today the inhabitants of this new world want to show disdain for the beautiful, melodic language spoken by the original owners of this land. 

The Tin Man wonders how this ignorant hatred found root in the hearts and minds of people whose ancients would not have survived this new world without the help and care of those original owners. 

So his heart is heavy with sadness and he wonders if the great gods of the ancient lands have decided to take the water away from these new people as punishment for their arrogance and hatred birthed out of self-serving ignorance and self righteousness.

So in order as to not become overwhelmed by this arrogance and ignorance he has decided to try and focus on some trivial facts of our world to lighten his heart.

Did you know that Buzz Aldrin’s Mother’s maiden name was MOON?

Nobody knows where Mozart is buried..

85% of all Life on Earth is Plankton

Ants do not Sleep

The Oldest Known Vegetable is the Pea

To See a Rainbow You must have your back to the Sun

Millions of Trees are planted by squirrels that bury their nuts and then forget where they left them……

…….Thank You squirrels

Monaco’s National Orchestra is bigger than its Army

Every year the Sun looses 360 Million Tons

The average 4 year old asks 400 Questions a Day

 

The Creature with the Largest Brain in relation to its body is the Ant

A Chimpanzee can learn to recognize itself in the mirror, but a Monkey cannot

Panama Hats come from Ecuador

Charlie Chaplin once won Third Place in a Charlie Chaplin look-a-like contest

Shrimps are the loudest thing in the Ocean

The Fruit Fly was the first Animal in Space

The Largest Man Made Structure on Earth is “Fresh Kills”

The Rubbish Dump on Staten Island, New York…..a real tribute to mankind

So until a time when every Country’s Orchestra is bigger than its Army…….
…….and we realize that Ant’s have bigger brains than us…….

The Tin Man wishes for…..


…..a bit more care for our fellow humans and respect for their hearts…..and to celebrate our differences…

Baltimore, Maryland

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Remember the wonderful Aztec people we visited in the rainforest?……….. NO!

Well check out Mountain Top Rain Forest, Mexico with the Aztec People.

Turns out our favorite Modern Aztec Warrior lives in Baltimore now so we went off to visit him.

The Daring - Dashing Diego

We had a marvelous visit and so enjoyed Federal Hill Park

which provided the most magnificent views of the Inner Harbor.

 

There be Dragons Here!

We enjoyed some great seafood at some local restaurants

Oyster Stew and Maryland Crab Soup

Crab Imperial and Green Beans

We visited the Famous Cross Street Market and Enjoyed All the Wonderful Merchants

 

Cream of Crab Soup

But enough of this……….the Aztec Warrior takes us off to fare more of his liking………..

A Molcajete fiery hot from the oven filled with Cactus, Shrimp, Beef, Chorizo and Chicken in a rich, thick, spicy sauce!

 

and a visit with Diego would not be complete without him

playing the guitar and singing his most beautiful songs to us……

…..we also took the chance to celebrate Augustine’s Birthday!!!

The food was wonderful, the sights delightful, but most of all it was so, so very incredible to see our Diego……..

Chichen Itza

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Chichen Itza is one of the seven wonders of the world and it truly is such a wonderful and mystical place.

We visit Chichen over and over and over, never ceasing to marvel in the beauty and special qualities of this very sacred place. We have had the opportunity to observe the Spring Equinox at Chichen and felt as if the very fabric of reality was disentergrating and we were peeking into another dimension. You MUST click on “Spring Equinox at Chichen” to watch the amazing video! To watch the feathered serpent descent the pyramid is a most incredible experience.

We climbed the original pyramid inside the one you see……up the steep staircase in a tunnel that was only large enough for you to crawl and so very hot, dank and lacking of oxygen………no ventitation! Once we arrived at the top a large woman decided to pass out….what to do! She revived and scurried for the staircase to go back down…..I pity those coming up….talk about no room at the inn!!!! Once you arrive at the top of the original pyramid you find the chamber containing good ole Chac Mool…..the guy who loves to have people lie down over him and get their hearts cut out and a jaguar bench for the king to sit upon. I must say it was an incredible experience………one of those “I did it once” kind of things.

The pyramid of Kukulkan is thought to relate to the Mayan Calendar. Each of the four faces incorporates a broad, steep staircase consisting of 91 steps that ascent to the top platform. Counting the top platform as an additional step give a total of 365 steps: one step for each day of the year.

The observatory or Caracol (snail in Spanish) has an interior staircase the spirals upward like a snail’s shell. The round, concentrically-vaulted Caracol was built and re-built several times. The windows in the Caracol point in the cardinal and subcardinal directions enable the tracking of the movement of Venus, the Pleides, the sun and the moon, as well as other celestial events.

We can’t wait to go back!

Cenote, perfect for drinking water and thowing in a few people as sacrifices once in a while……..well how nice.
Standing at the edge of the Cenote
Looks like the Witch got hold of this Munchkin!
Pyramid of Kukulkan in a distance
We are in complete awe each and every time we see this great pyramid
The Pyramid of Kukulklan
Glenda ALWAYS has to make “an entrance”
Amazing Place
Dome of the Observatory
The Observatory
Look what’s for dinner!
Hurrying down the stairs of the Temple of the Warrior…..I am sure I saw Chac Mool wink at me…..gotta get out of here!
Chac Mool ….. just wating for someone’s heart
Chac Mool – Used for Sacrifices at the Temple of the Warrior
Kukulkan – Feathered Serpent Deity – glad the Wicked Witch of the West didn’t know him!!
How one pyramid was built on top of the other
The tunnel inside the pyramid! Small and Scary!!!
Wonder who all sat here!!???!
Amazing Finds
Inside the Pyramid inside the orginal Temple
Loosing my head for this place!
No NBA contract problems here
The Hoop
The Ballcourt
Spring Equinox

Munchkin Powerbeam

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Uxmal, Mexico

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Beautiful Vistas

Sacrifical Altar

Magnificant Buildings

We are groupies when it comes to the Mayan Ruins.  We visit them over and over and go to as many sites as we can.  When we visit Uxmal and Chichen we stay in Merida and so enjoy that beautiful colonial city.  The French influence is still very strong and you can find the most wonderful French restaurants tucked away.

The area around Uxmal was occupied as early as 800 BC, but the major building period took place when it was the capital of a Late Classic Mayan state around 850-925 AD.

After about 1000, when Toltec invaders took over the Yucatán peninsula (establishing their capital at Chichén Itza), all major construction ceased at Uxmal. But it continued to be occupied and participated in the political League of Mayapán.

Uxmal later came under the control of the Xiú princes. The site was abandoned around 1450, shortly before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors and was spared their gift of smallpox.

The main ruins of Uxmal cover about 150 acres, with residential districts spreading further beyond that. Uxmal occupies a grassy savannah surrounded by forest and its buildings were adapted to the varied elevations of the hilly landscape.

Unlike most Yucatan sites, Uxmal derived its not as much from cenotes (natural wells) as from man-made cisterns that collected rain water, one of which can be seen near the entrance. The constant concern with the supply of water probably explains the special popularity of the rain god Chac at Puuc sites.

 
 

The real function of many of the structures remains uncertain, and they retain the fanciful names given them by the Spanish.  The most magnificant and largest is the great pyrimad, the Advino.  Also know as the Pyramid of the Magician or the Pyramid of the Dwarf – me thinks that the dwarf was actually one of the Munchkins!  Yucatec Maya folklore have embedded in their history “el anano del Uxmal” the dward of Uxmal.  He evidently hatched from an egg and emerged fully grown and built the pyramid overnight………something a Munchkin would do.

This post is dedicated to the memory of my Mother : Annie Pauline Traugott Friesenhahn, who loved to explore the Mayan ruins and visit with the contemporary Mayan people…. probably because they are short like she was!

San Antonio Museum of Art – The Goddess and The King : Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Mexico City

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We had the great pleasure of attending a lecture and reception at The San Antonio Museum of Art . http://www.samuseum.org/ Professor Leonardo Lopez Lujan, the archeologist in charge of the Templo Mayor dig in Mexico City, presented the latest findings and discoveries ………….. they are amazing! Professor Lujan has been the senior researcher in archeology at the Museo del Templo Mayor in Mexico City and the Director of the Proyecto Templo Mayor since 1991. He participated in his first archeological dig at the age of eight. The Proyecto Templo Mayor of the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia was created in 1978, when a monolith depicting Coyolxauhqui, the Aztec moon goddess was discovered as workers were digging a new subway line. Now, Professor Lujan’s team has discovered the largest Aztec sculpture ever found, that of the goddess Tlaltecuhtli.

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We arrived at the museum early to ensure a good seat, which, of course, meant a trip to the Cafe de Artistes for some wine………who would have guessed!!?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lecture was quite engaging and the new finds so very amazing.

 

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Afterwards, we were able to visit with Dr. Lujan and discuss his exciting and interesting life.

 He is a most gracious and engaging individual.

To learn more about these wonderful digs, visit: www.mesoweb.com

The we were off to New Braunfels to eat some dinner at what once was the original post office and now houses a wonderful seafood restaurant.

www.mcadoos.com

Of course, more wine was in order, along with some yummy fried oysters and crayfish…most did not make it into the photo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

……and then the final course …… yummy fried soft shell crab. It was a most amazing day, filled with so many wonders.

Ecatepec, Mexico

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We went to visit Diego in Ecatepec, Mexico and stayed at the beautiful La Fiesta Hotel

All of you who know Diego, know what a loving and wonderful person he is. So this was not just a visit…..Diego had planned a huge party……….of course!

He met us at the hotel in his blue bug…………I loved it!

We spent most of our time at his sister Irma’s home high on the hillside overlooking the city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ran about in his blue bug and visited some of the sights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was time for the big party!! and BIG party it was…we ate, drank and mostly sang and danced the afternoon and night away!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening ended with Diego presenting us a beautiful flower arrangement. What a wonderful person he is!

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Matlapa, Mexico

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We had such a grand time visiting Matlapa located in the state of San Luis Potosi!

San Luis Potosi is named for King Louis IX of France and is also known as San Luis Rey de Francia

We went to visit our adopted son Diego and his daughter, Leslie.   He promised a fun time at the markets, restaurants and of course soccer games! He did not disappoint us.

We began with the soccer tournament. The Mexicans and Europeans are very serious about their sport. We had to arrive early and were given instructions on which teams to support and which ones not to support. As with any sporting event, the snacks were wonderful. We had the most wonderful fried wheat breads with hot and fiery sauce. The drinks were served in plastic bags with a straw protruding from the top. What a grand time.

We were so proud of our Diego, the team captain!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diego’s nephew, Juan Carlos, carried the team banner.

After the games it was off to the center of the city to the open air market. I LOVE markets in Mexico with all the exotic fruits, spices, chiles and the lively and engaging vendors.

Of course the evening was spent singing, dancing and eating. Never a dull moment when Diego is around with his guitar!

 

Chapultepec Castle, Mexico City, Mexico

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Chapultepec Castle located in the middle of Chapultepec Park in Mexico City. Chapultepec comes from the Nahuatl word Chapultepec which means at the grasshopper’s hill. Chapultepec Castle is the only royal castle on the American continent. During the second Mexican Empire it was used to house the Mexican Emperor Maximilian I, who was the cousin of King Ludwig II builder of Neuschwanstein Castle (see post :Schloss Neuschwanstein – Castle)  and his consort Empress Carlota. The castle finds itself infused into the United Stated Marie Corps “Marines’ Hymn” “From the Halls of Montezuma” refers to the The Battle of Chapultepec in 1847, during the Mexican-American War. There is even a legend that the red stripe worn on the trousers of officers and noncommissioned offices of the Marine Corps, known as the blood stripe commemorates the high number of Marine NCOs and offices killed storming the castle of Chapultepec during that war.

In 1864 Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico chose the castle as his residence and also ordered the construction of a straight boulevard, modeled after the Champs-Elysees in Paris, to connect the castle with the city center and named it Paseo de la Emperatriz (Promenade of the Empress), in 1867, President Benito Juarez renamed it the Paseo de la Reforma.

The rooftop boasts beautiful gardens and views of the city.

Throughout the Castle are some of the most amazing displays of stained glass windows, with entire hallways framed in these beautiful works of art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The treasures contained within the Castle boggle the mind in their sheer quantity, artistry and elegance. The furnishings and even the royal bath are works of art.

Teotihuacan, Mexico

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We have been visiting Teotihuacan for the past 35 years and never seem to get enough.

 It is such a magical and majestic place.

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Teotihuacan is an enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico, just 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, containing some of the largest pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas. Teotihuacan was established around 100 B.C. and was in continual formation and growth until around 250 A.D. At its peak the population was estimated to be 125,000, placing it among the largest cities of the world in this period. The echos of those people can still be heard as one walks along the Avenue of the Dead.

Diego stops to play a traditional Aztec tune on a flute in the Avenue of the Dead.

We stopped climbing to the top of the pyramids about 20 years ago, but our young Aztec warrior makes it seems like it is running on the clouds.

The early history of Teotihuacan is very mysterious, and the origin of the founders quite unclear. For years the credit to its birth was given to the Toltecs due in large to colonial period texts, such as the Florentine Codes, which attributed the formation of the site to this group. Iinterestingly enough the Nahuatl word Toltec means craftsman of the highest level and therefore, does not directly indicate that this specific tribe was responsible for this grand city. Others have attributed the foundation of the city to the Teotihuacano civilization, which includes the Zapotec, Mixtec and Maya, the Olmec have also been noted to have influenced the culture and architecture. Whoever was responsible for the magical place must be pleased that their creation captures the imagination of millions.