Last Saturday, Alejandro and I took a pleasant excursion out of the city. We went to a town called Villa del Carbón which is located about forty miles to the north of Mexico City. It was about a two hour drive... much of which was spent leaving the urban sprawl of the city. When we had finally left the metropolitan area, the road began to wind its way up into the forest covered mountains.
We knew that we were light years away from Mexico City. When we reached Villa del Carbón, the public parking lot where we left the car shared space with a flock of sheep!
Villa del Carbón is a town of around 8,000 people. The area was originally home to the Otomí tribe. By the late 16th century the Spanish had occupied the region, and the town was formally established in the early 1700s. It was called Villa del Carbón (village of charcoal) because the surrounding woodlands were used in the production of charcoal. Recently the town was named a "Pueblo Mágico", a designation given by the tourist board to picturesque towns of historical and cultural note.
The center of town is quite pretty and is characterized by white buildings with clay tile roofs.
Like most Mexican towns, Villa del Carbón is built around a central plaza.
Nearby is the colonial church dating from the early 18th century.
We had lunch at a restaurant with a balcony overlooking the town center.
Alejandro had mushroom soup...
...and I had "sopa azteca" which is similar to tortilla soup.
We got a chuckle from the sign behind me. "In case of emergency: pay the bill, jump from the balcony, and run like crazy."
We also shared plates of "quesadillas" and "sopes". "Sopes" are flat cakes of corn dough with toppings. It was a very good meal.
I was surprised to find that the center of town was filled with shops selling leather goods. We visited a number of them, and I had my eye on a nice leather jacket. Before leaving the town, we went back to the shop, and I bought it.
The buttery-soft lambskin jacket is made in Mexico, and only cost $85 US. A great bargain!