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Ancient and Colonial Veracruz
Feb 23rd - March 6th, 2018

Plans are progressing for the next Mexico tour in 2018. We will be discovering the State of Veracruz. Veracruz borders the Gulf of Mexico and is shaped like California: long and narrow. The coastal areas that line the Gulf are hot and humid but as one heads up to the mountains cooler climates prevail with lush vegetation nestled in cloud forests. In these forests are magnificent waterfalls where orchids grow wild.

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Tour with Debbie Mounts & Florencio Moreno

Our guide will once again be Florencio Moreno from Oaxaca whose depth of knowledge and professionalism is amazing. His company, Academic Tours Oaxaca, is a boutique tour company specializing in quality, individually designed cultural/arts programs.

Unlike standard tours, Academic Tours Oaxaca creates personalized itineraries around important archeological sites, ethnic villages, jewels of colonial architecture, shopping for great art or exploring the regions natural environment.

Additional activities will include:
* a cooking class with Raquel Torres
* a coffee tasting event and tour of a coffee plantation
* a fiesta with live Jarocho music
* an evening at the Symphony in its new, world-class concert hall

The region offers spectacular scenery, Colonial towns, rich history, historical sites and arts and crafts. It is also a State that has not yet become a major international tourist destination. This is to our advantage.

Veracruz’s wealth most recently has come from its oil production and historically from agriculture most significantly in sugar cane and coffee.

During our sojourn some of the highlights that we will visit are:
* Botanic gardens
* Lencero (home of President Santa Ana)
* Anthropology Museum of Xalapa
* Zempoala Archaeological Ruins
* Port of Vercruz with its Spanish Fort

Veracruz & North Carolina

Milagros Para Ti now has a sister shop in North Carolina! Debbie is currently dividing her time between Mexico and the US having recently moved up to Hendersonville, in the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains. This small town is surprisingly similar to Coatepec in size, climate, and wonderfully friendly folk.

Mexican Folk Art, Crafts & Gifts

Another group makes whimsical carvings of angels, chickens, and other figures that will bring a smile to your face! Also available from Veracruz are hand-rolled cigars of aromatic tobacco, bottles of pure vanilla and the finest shade-grown, bird-friendly coffee.

Textiles

Milagros Para Ti offers you the finest in rugs, huipiles, rebozos, blouses and purses.

Textiles are produced throughout Mexico and contemporary textiles derive their richness and variety from the combination, over many centuries, of different materials, techniques and decorative motifs. All our textile products are hand woven using only natural, colorfast dyes. White cotton is native to the New World as is the luscious toffee colored strain called coyuche. Preparation of the cotton and the dyes to color it is arduous taking from a few hours to several days. Blue comes from the anil plant, red from the cochineal bug which lives on the cactus plant, yellows from lichen, and black from Indigo.

Huipiles and Rebozos

These most delicate and lovely of wraps are themselves a miracle of Mexico. They have been used not only as clothing but have also found their way onto tables as runners and on windows as curtains! We offer them to you in cotton, wool and silk. Each rebozo is hand woven and colorfast, dyed from natural plants and animals. Shades range from white to the most brilliant of colors. The soft beige rebozos are made from coyuche, a naturally caramel colored cotton native to Mexico.

Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec, high in the mountains of the Mixe region of Oaxaca, produces hand woven and naturally dyed cotton shawls in a beautiful array of earth tones. This proud region was never conquered and remains a sacred place for the Mixes who are striving to preserve their traditions and provide the village with an economic base though the sales of textiles.

Debbie also travels to Guatemala to find the best in tightly woven purses, placemats and jackets.


The Vasquez Family, Teotitlan Del Valle

From a tradition that has lasted well over eleven generations, the Vasquez family continues to practice the craft of creating textiles from 100% wool. The entire family, headed by Isaac Vasquez, lives and works in Teotitlan Del Valle amongst many other families of artisans practicing the same craft. Recognized as a proponent of tradition and for his aesthetic capabilities, Vasquez has developed into a respected artisan in his community as well as on an international level. Many of his works have been displayed in major museums throughout the world and he has been featured in numerous publications on Mexican artisans. Isaac Vasquez and his wife Guadalupe have passed down their skills to their eight children who all participate in continuing the family tradition.

The process they follow in producing their exquisite rugs is long and requires incredible skill. It begins with the collection of the sheep's wool when it reaches its longest length. After the wool is gathered it is then washed in waters of nearby rivers, carded to remove foreign material, and then hand spun into thread on a wooden spinning wheel. Next batches of wool are dyed in colors extracted from natural animal and vegetal sources. From 4 basic colors (red, black, yellow and blue) over 126 different shades of color are derived.

The artistry of weaving a rug can take up to a few months to complete depending on the size and intricacy of the patterns. The Vasquez family's rugs feature popular, traditional, and unique designs usually inspired by Zapotec culture.