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Not strictly speaking biking related, but we did find out about this place courtesy of warmshowers.org (the cycle touring equivalent of couchsurfing). We initially decided to stay here for a week or so as we were waiting for parcels from afar. Tom had also discovered that we needed a couple more things for Sarah’s bike in the process of giving it a good once-over.

Tierra del Sol is in Tlacochahuaya, about 20km east of Oaxaca out along the highway 190. It’s a permaculture farm founded and run by Pablo Ruiz Lavelle and his wife Adriana, and has a steady stream sometimes verging on torrential of visitors. These range from classes of school-kids learning about composting toilets and water use to state government ministers talking about lofty state government things. They have volunteers who get involved in the daily running of the farm and depending on their skills get given various projects to complete. Pablo has many plans for the place, both as an example and in its role as an educational resource. We suspect he’ll need several lifetimes to get them all done…

After a few days when it became apparent that even US Express Post isn’t particularly express to mexico, we managed to arrange some spanish lessons locally. We’d always thought we might spend 2-4 weeks attempting to improve our Spanish somewhere in southern Mexico. In the end it’s worked out pretty well, with us not going spare because we’re stuck in a city for the duration, and we’ve had the chance to learn some permaculture stuff too. We’re both pretty inspired about what we want to do with a piece of land when we get back home. We were particularly into setting up “food forests”.

Now we’re ready to get back to the bikes, though leaving here will be hard and Sarah’ll miss Simone the jersey cow she’s been milking every morning…

Our foray back onto the bike won’t pull any punches… Between here and the coast there are 3.5km of ascent and 5km of descent! Our route can be found at http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/28454884

The Sierra Norte in the backdrop, with plentiful alfalfa for Simone bordering the path, makes for a place as peaceful or busy as you want it to be.

They have a 23m long, 2.5m deep lap pool, complete with fish, frogs and lots and lots of lilies. Possibly a touch cold, given the season. (photo S.Hedges)

A great space for taking a proper look over the bikes :-) (photo S.Hedges)

Milking Simone, the jersey cow, is the beginning of our day - here Pablo showing us how it's done (photo S.Hedges)

We always feel good about windmills in a place - we had the same reminder of Australia cycling in New Mexico. Foreground in adobe

More sunshine, this time tempered by a cloud or two, and the windmill doing its thing.

Another thing we’ll do from now on – mostly to practice our spanish writing, is to add a section in Spanish to the bottom of our entries. Those of you who have better spanish than we do will notice that it’s not a translation of the English. It will also get edited for grammatical disasters by our long-suffering spanish teacher, so don’t panic if it doesn’t make any sense – check back a few days later an it may have improved!

Después de haber estado en Oaxaca por tres dias, decidimos irnos de la ciudad. Antes de llegar a Oaxaca, ya habiamos organizado quedarnos con un hombre, quien se llama Pablo Ruiz Lavelle en su huerta, usando un organizacion llamada ‘warmshowers’. Tlacochahuaya está a veinte kilometros al este de Oaxaca usando la carretera numéro 190. La huerta usa los principios de permacultura y tiene voluntarios regularmente.

Estuvimos esperando unos paquetes de correos también. Al final, hemos estado aquí por casi cuatro semanas. Hemos podido aprender un poco de Español con la ayuda de Maria, nuestra profesora. Hemos trabajado mucho en la huerta haciendo muchos proyectos y cuidando a los animales. A Sarah le encanta ordeñar a la vaca, quien llama ‘Simona’, en particular.

Tierra del Sol tiene muchas cosas buenas. Hay una piscina con solo un carril y muchas flores en el agua. En las tardes, cuando tenemos mucho calor, es bueno nadar en la piscina. Nos impresionábamos con los materiales educativos. En particular nos gustó los bosques cultivados para dar de comer.

Ahora, estamos listos para ir a la costa y al mar. Tenemos una ruta usando las terracerias y los caminitos. Esta tiene cinco kilometros de descenso vertical y tres kilometros de ascenso. México tiene muchas montañas, pero por lo menos son bonitas! Aquí está una conexión con nuestra direciones. (http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/28454884)

This is what happens when a sleeping bag liner finally becomes irreparable.. Out wonderful package from Seattle contained a lovely teal-coloured replacement. Sarah's very happy (photo S.Hedges)

Maria, our profesora imparting amazingly patient knowledge of the arcane intricacies of spanish grammar

Simona, feeling an impending sense of loneliness at Sarah's departure. No-one will ever milk her quite as well ever again

With so much fruit in all the markets, I havn't been able to resist lately. However, carrying it on a bicycle won't happen, so we make the biggest and best fruit salad ever in preparation for leaving Tierra del Sol

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