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Old 11-23-2009, 08:37 AM   #16
Thorne
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:17 AM   #17
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Parts of Mexico are enchanting, as your report and photos show.

I've been to Saltillo several times but never made it further west to Parras de la Fuente. This summer, however, I spent time further south; south of Mexico City and southwest of the city in some ancient cities reminiscent of Santorini - the type of places where travel by motorcycle is ideal!

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Old 11-23-2009, 10:35 AM   #18
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Gypsyrr, is that a town in Puebla?
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:54 AM   #19
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Manantial

It is now Wednesday, 18 November.

Today's Spanish vocabulary words are
manantial, poza, and estanque. Manatial translates into "spring", as in a fresh water spring. These springs may sometimes form in a pool which in Spanish is referred to as a poza. As I showed in my Cuatro Cienegas ride report (bottom of my sigtag) these pozas can be of either cool or thermal waters. Manantiales do not have to pool, they may also just seep out of rock from underground aquifers.

In Parras de la Fuente these spring waters have been diverted into what are called estanques. These are man-made pools that are fed by the natural spring waters. This is just one of the many aspects of Parras that make it attractive to tourists. Families arrive here in the heat of summer from different parts of Mexico to refresh themselves in these estanques. There are three major ones in the town at the higher elevations. These are estanques La Luz, La Hacienda, and Zapata. The water is not stagnant in these estanques but flows in from the manatiales and then flows out for irrigation purposes. If you are from Texas, think of Landa Park in New Braunfels or Barton Springs in Austin. Other parts of the manantiales are diverted for the public water system. This is the ideal way to get water supplied naturally. Aquifers are the best way to filter water naturally, and the elevation provides the necessary pressure for plumbing applications in town.

Below are pictures of estanque La Luz. I was there in the early morning. These estanque parks a very well maintained and clean.


Here is estanque La Luz with the chapel Santo Madero up above and in the reflection of the estanque.
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:25 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irak
Gypsyrr, is that a town in Puebla?

That is Taxco. An old silver mining town. Whitewashed buildings built on the side of a mountain with great roads that lead there.
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:25 AM   #21
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Aqueducts

The transporting of water within urban areas is always a challenge. In order to get water to flow naturally, elevation must be maintained. In engineering we call this "head". The ancients developed aqueducts to do this. Aqueduct is simply the Latin word for water pipeline. An aqueduct is often constructed to bridge an area where the water would otherwise lose its "head" and hence its ability to flow naturally to other destinations. Hence they are often constructed to span ravines so that elevation can be maintained as opposed to following the coutours of the earth. We usually see Roman arches that have a water channel on top of the arches. In the picture shown below, one can see the old aqueduct. However, notice that the water is now running on the ground in an open channel alongside. A different path was used to bring down this water for irrigation, so the older aqueduct was not longer needed for water transportation, plus the newer channel was wider so it has more capacity to transport the water. There are several relics of aqueducts in Parras. In each case the topography reveals why the aqueduct was needed. This is the aqueduct Matamoros.



On this day I ditched my motorcycle by leaving it at the hostal. I was able to scrounge a bicycle from the bartender & head waiter at the hostal restaurant bar. He insisted on letting me have it for free. I insisted on renting it for USD $20. A minor argument ensues, but he finally had no choice but to take the twenty. Here is my trusty steed for the day, which I used to tour the whole town, and the vineyards outside of town.
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:48 AM   #22
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Water for Wine

Water also plays an important role in the production of wine and this tells us why Parras was the ideal place for the first winery in the Americas. Wine production started here in 1597.

Study the photograph below. You can see that these tall casks are sitting in a stone channel. Up above you will see that vines are serving as a roof. The vines in this case are serving as shade to keep things cool. The stone channel is used to pool water that is later drained off. Water is constantly poured over the top of these casks to keep the fermenting wine inside at a cool temperature. Hence back in 1597 the location was discovered as an ideal place for the production of wine. Plenty of water for cooling, plus fertile soil with an abundant water supply for irrigation, an ideal climate for cultivation, and established ancient technology for transporting water from the manantiales to the producing fields via aqueducts. The wine is of course no longer produced exactly this way, but the fundamentals remain the same.

Shall I keep going? I mean I haven't shown a motorcycle photo since post #2.
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Old 11-23-2009, 12:02 PM   #23
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Keep going - how much did the room cost?
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Old 11-23-2009, 12:14 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Pete_Tallahassee
Keep going - how much did the room cost?
It was USD ~$50 per night. BTW, if you have a wife or girlfriend who likes romantic type places, this is the hotel to go to, and this the town to go to. There is a wine festival there in mid-August. Book early!
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Old 11-23-2009, 01:33 PM   #25
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While pedaling to the winery shown in post #22 which is outside of town, I notice this winery and liquor factory (more of a bottling operation) that is in town. By now you have gotten a feel for the old architecture in town. Que no?
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Old 11-23-2009, 02:00 PM   #26
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A friend from childhood was from Parras, always talked (bragged) about how pretty his hometown was, then as my interest in wine grew, I then found hat this was the first "winery" in the CONTINENT. I now see why he did it.

Your report is very inormative and with beautiful pics (without a MC ).....We want more and hope that you tasted some of the finer and some of the lesser name wines on your trip
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:43 PM   #27
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Its been a few years since i past thru there ..... And there's lots of
history in the grapes that were planted there. Very fascinating !!
As with most vineyards in the Americas the vines had been
brought in from Europe and some had even originated as spoils of
war from Crusade times.

I am still waiting for Pedro to find some olive trees down there.
There is no telling what he will find next.
ChangoGS was unable to join in the party due to being
in Ecuador.



Quote:
Originally Posted by NAVIGATOR
A friend from childhood was from Parras, always talked (bragged) about how pretty his hometown was, then as my interest in wine grew, I then found hat this was the first "winery" in the CONTINENT. I now see why he did it.

Your report is very inormative and with beautiful pics (without a MC ).....We want more and hope that you tasted some of the finer and some of the lesser name wines on your trip
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:57 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by ChangoGS
ChangoGS was unable to join in the party due to being in Ecuador.


Pendejo! You continue to be our Stealth Rider! Now you go to Ecuador without telling your amigos, eh?!!!

We need to have a link-up at your moto mecca. tricepilot and I have discussed meeting you over there. Riding all your motorcycles, and then maybe getting you drunk so you can tell us some of those stealth secrets of yours

Hope you had a good time down there James
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:09 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by ChangoGS
...And there's lots of history in the grapes that were planted there. Very fascinating !! As with most vineyards in the Americas the vines had been brought in from Europe and some had even originated as spoils of
war from Crusade times...
What James is saying is very true. The original vines in the area yielded very bitter grapes. So, just as in the case of the rest of the Americas, including California, grapes were brought in from Europe. Also cultivated in the area are figs and nuts. The tree orchards for these can be spotted along the various roads, all confined within the bounds of the oasis. I didn't spot any olive production or trees, but it seems to me it would be natural to the area.

Parras also makes a lot of
cajeta de leche. In fact in the El Farol restaurant I had a dessert that was crepas con cajeta de leche. These are crepes made with a liquid dulce de leche type sauce mixed in with nuts. It was absolutely incredible.

Coming up we will soon be discussing the famous vineyard San Lorenzo.
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:27 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NAVIGATOR
A friend from childhood was from Parras, always talked (bragged) about how pretty his hometown was, then as my interest in wine grew, I then found hat this was the first "winery" in the CONTINENT. I now see why he did it...
Your friend chose a good place to be born Anytime I mention Parras to a Mexican I get a smile. So interesting how an attraction like this to Mexicans, is so off the radar to most Americans.

We should keep Parras a secret. I'll talk about tourist infrastructure later. However, I would like to point out now that (1) for any ADVriders living close to the border this is a very good dash to get a dose of the real Mexico and then dash back to the US if you do not have the luxury of time. Also (2) for those of YFFs that are on extended rides down into Latin America, this is certainly a great 2-day stop to make on your way further down.
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