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  • Day3

    Unfinished Temple of the Precious Blood

    December 13, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Today, we woke up to the usual morning sounds in Mexico - the church bells, a chucking gecko, roosters and cars rumbling by on the cobblestone street. For some reason, there doesn't seem to be many noisy dogs here. The sun was shining as we walked to Dona Esther’s in the market for breakfast.

    We stopped at a tourist kiosk in the Centro to ask about a calendar of events. Lots of activities will be going on here during the Christmas holidays. The posadas start on December 16 and Christmas decorations are being put up all over the town.

    Breakfast in Dona Esther’s was good old fashioned Mexican fare - scrambled eggs, chorizo, beans and fresh tortillas. A green juice for Chris and a giant strawberry smoothie for me.

    We had an extra apartment key made at the hardware store and walked on to the ruins of a huge unfinished cathedral, Templo Inconcluso de la Preciosa Sangre.

    One minute we we walking on a dusty cobblestone street, admiring a couple of beautiful roosters (fighting?), watching as a cowboy rode by on a beautiful black horse and the next minute we entered the huge stone ruins of what was planned to be the largest cathedral in Latin America. We walked through a stone gate into a lovely garden, filled with bougainvillea and bird of paradise plants.

    I read this little blurb about the church:

    “The first stone of the Preciosa Sangre church was placed right at the end of the 19th century, but most of the rest of the construction dates to the first decade of the following century. The idea came from a citizen who wanted to build another big temple for the town. Construction was halted when the Revolution broke out and probably not resumed because of the continuing post-Revolution conflicts, especially in Jalisco."

    We were lucky to meet a Mexican man, Pedro, who took care of the gardens. He was happy to take us around and point out the details used in constructing this incredible building as well as to give us some Mexican history lessons about what was happening in this area during and after the Revolution.

    At present, one small section of the church has been completed and is used as a seminary for first year (18 year old) students. There is a chapel with a beautiful altar and one of two old statues in the world showing Christ bleeding on the cross.

    As we were coming home, it got hotter and hotter. It is quite cool in the mornings and evenings but a little too hot for us now at around 2 pm - siesta time!

    In the evening, the square was hosting a ceremony for recognizing raicilla makers in the area. Raicilla is a distilled drink made in a way similar to tequila. Here’s a little blurb I found about one company’s Raicilla made from a wild agave plant called Lechuguilla:

    “Estancia Raicilla Lechuguilla is made with the wild agave Lechuguilla in La Estancia de Landeros, about one kilometre above sea level in the Jalisco foothills. The agave used in this Raicilla are roasted in an adobe oven for two days, and Old Jack Daniel’s bourbon barrels are used to ferment the cooked agave. Once fermented, this Raicilla is double distilled in copper alembic stills.

    Estancia Raicilla is made in the highlands of the Sierra Madre Occidental. In 2014, Rio Chenery left New York City for the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico with the hope of making his family’s favorite drink. The legend goes that in the ‘60s his grandfather, who worked for the Tecate beer company, came across a rare agave spirit in the small mountain town of Mascota on a business trip and fell in love with it. The locals called it Raicilla, and over the years it became a family favorite. Estancia Distillery is founded with the vision of bringing this rare agave spirit to the world.”

    I will write another footprint about raicilla in a later blog. It is uniquely from this area.
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