Guest Celebrity Blogger: Desi Girl Traveler, Viva La México!

Poorna Jagannathan , 21 Jun 2012

I first met Poorna at a buddy’s book launch and was instantly impressed with her poise and personality; and yes of course, I loved Delhi Belly too :) which is why I’m super psyched to feature her travel diary on MissMalini.com and let her show you Mexico – Desi Girl Traveler style!

Poorna Jagannathan
Poorna Jagannathan

The first time I came upon “Valle de Guadalupe” I thought “Shangri-la”. Partly because it’s breathtakingly beautiful but mostly because it appears out of nowhere. After driving through relatively harsh terrain, the Valle’s lushness is completely unexpected. Valle de Guadalupe is Mexico’s wine growing country and it’s nestled in a valley about an hour away from the swagger of Tijuana. When we lived in Los Angeles, we’d hop into our car on a Friday morning, cross the Mexican border by noon and be at The Valle by lunchtime.

Valle de Guadalupe
Valle de Guadalupe

Although hotels have recently begun to crop up, most visitors stay at Vineyards which have guest houses. Besides its wines, Valle de Guadalupe is also foodie paradise. And the range is spectacular – you can have the world’s best roadside ceviche for Rs.150 or have a gourmet, organic meal paired with wine for about Rs.8,000. Here’s a quick peak into some of my favorite things!

The drive to The Valley is along the Baja coastline.

Valle de Guadalupe
Valle de Guadalupe

I love Mexican architecture and the way they unabashedly use color. Since it’s so close to the States, a lot of Americans moved in the 70s. But today, you’ll be struck by the lack of the American Tourist Invasion syndrome: Mexico’s got a reputation for being rough (the recent decapitations just didn’t help….) But the paucity of American tourists gives The Valle a hugely local and authentic feel.

Valle de Guadalupe
Valle de Guadalupe

You know you’re close to Valle de Guadalupe when you start seeing wine bottle installations and wine murals.

Installation Art
Installation Art

Our favorite vineyard to stay on is “Malagon” . Their award winning wines make it hard just to leave the premises but it’s perched on a 600 acre property. I think what I enjoy most about this vineyard is the complete solitude it provides. Our phones are completely off; there’s no chance of getting even a whiff of a signal on this property. Our routine everyday is simple, we drink, we trek for hours and hours, we drink again and collapse onto our beds. Right up on top, after a four hour trek, you reach the ancient rock formations. The view from up there is bliss.

Vinedos Malagon
Church at Vinedos Malagon
Vinedos Malagon
Vinedos Malagon

Malagon is most famous for its “Equua” wine. One night and many glasses down, the owner, Jose Malagon, told us he wanted to make a wine that was as strong and fierce as his father – Equua doesn’t disappoint.

Vinedos Malagon
Vinedos Malagon

Another vineyard I don’t miss is “Tres Mujeres” which translates into Three Women. This vineyard feels the most intimate. Three best best friends run it and Yvette is the one we usually bump into. She’s also a potter and invites us into her home for a meal every time we visit. When I’m at this vineyard, I invariably end up envisioning a parallel life for myself… one where I too become Yvette’s BFF and the vineyard get renamed Quatro Mujeres.

Yvette
Yvette

Without a doubt, the vineyard called “La Villa de Valle”, is one of my favorite places in this world. It’s uber high end but it’s the ultimate
paisa vasool experience. Their organic garden grows alongside their lavender fields which grow alongside their free range chickens – life is beautiful.

Villa de Valle
Villa de Valle

The vineyard has fine wines, amazing guest rooms but also one of the best restaurants in the Valley. It’s called “Corazon de Tierra” (Earth’s Heart) and every ingredient in your 7 course meal comes straight from the garden outside.

Villa de Valle
Corazon de Tierra at Villa de Valle

You also can’t take a bad picture at “Villa de Valle”: case in point…

Villa de Valle
Villa de Valle
Poorna at Villa de Valle
Poorna at Villa de Valle

Other things we love is going horse back riding. Ironically, we always end up getting a horse called “Namaste”. Go figure.

Namaste México
Namaste México
Escuela de Equitación
Escuela de Equitación

This trip, we drive down to the nearest city, the artsy Ensenada, to watch the sun set at a restaurant called Boules. There’s a game of “Petanque” going on – it looks like croquet to me but I’m assured it’s very different. The Mexicans are competing against the French and emotions are running high.

Boules
Boules

I love Mexico. Probably because it reminds me so much of the madness and beauty of India.

I love México
I love México

Doesn’t this totally make you want to go to México? Oooh, maybe we can find someone to swap homes with (like in”The Holiday”) by showing them the ode to Mumbai she shot for Condé Nast Traveller, have you seen it? I Heart. xoxo

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