I live in Lower La Floresta. I have been living in this area for almost three years. I love it here so you aren’t going to be getting an impartial view. My heart is here.
I looked up online the meaning of the word Floresta. It is a great site, www.SpanishDict.com. They had three meanings for Floresta. 1. Forest, shrubbery, thicket. 2. A delightful, rural place. 3. A collection of fine things pleasing to the taste; beauties.
All this time I had thought that Floresta just had something to do with flowers. There are many different kinds of flowers growing here. I am glad to see the expanded meanings because they describe this area well.
I tried to find the exact boundaries on maps but I could only find general areas. For me, of the beginning of La Floresta is when the main road goes through a grove of overhanging trees. This is just west of the cut off to Guadalajara and west, past the town of San Antonio.
What I use for a second boundary marker is Revolution Street. Above the main road, between these two boundaries is Upper La Floresta and below it is Lower La Floresta. I live on the edge of Lower La Floresta, just a block from the water. Part of the year there is a beach that runs all the way into the center of Ajijic. It is a fun walk but right now, after the rainy season, there is no beach here at all. I found that out the hard way. I was down there taking a photo of the lake when I saw what I thought was the beginning of the beach. I stepped in it. It wasn’t solid ground. It was sand floating on top of the water and I slipped in and broke my ankle. But this is a story for another time. I still love the beach, even though I broke my ankle there and am now in bed for a month or so. I must have two thousand photos of the sunsets at the beach.
When there was a beach, every evening I would take Chico (my landlord’s dog) and a folding beach chair and spend an hour watching the sunset. It was my favorite time of the day. Chico’s too. He would sit on my lap and take in all the smells and sights. The sunsets were spectacular. I hope one day the beach will return and I will get well again and Chico and I can resume our much-loved ritual.
On the other side of Revolution is the Calle 16th of September. This street runs into the center of Ajijic. The Lake Chapala Society is on it. One of my favorite restaurants, La Bodega is just a couple of blocks down on it from my house. I will write more about these two places in other postings.
The Real de Chapala Hotel is down the street from me, going east. I must have hundreds of photos of their Sunday buffets with my favorite mariachi band. One day I will write an entire article about that beautiful spot. But for now, I am just giving you the highlights of this area.
La Floresta is an older neighborhood so there are many beautiful tall trees and flowers everywhere. My favorite time of the year here is in April when the Jacaranda trees are in bloom. They line most of the streets in this area. Some people are highly allergic to their flowers. I am glad I am not one of them.
The horses are a few blocks from my house. You can get a horseback ride for an hour for less than ten dollars. I have many photos of people taking those sunset beach rides. Hopefully that will be available again before much longer. I sure miss that beautiful beach. On weekends it was always full of Mexicans out having picnics and swimming in the lake. I never got up the courage to swim in the lake. The water expert in town said it is safe for swimming. But it is kind of cold. I don’t like to swim in cold water.
There are many beautiful homes for sale in Lower La Floresta but they are high priced. This is one of the most desirable areas by the lake. There are rentals and they too are high priced.
The only way I can afford it is because I am living in a small casita with no kitchen. I am (or at least I was before this ankle break) an outside person and I have a beautiful garden. I share it with my landlord but he is very social and is often gone. After I am back on my feet, I will take more photos of the interesting places that are within walking distance of my casita.
At the moment I am looking out my window and several Mourning Doves are bathing in the fountain in the yard. Yesterday I saw a beautiful yellow bird in the fountain. I am not a birder. I just like to photograph them. This is a great place for birders.
Life is good here in Lower La Floresta, even though I am stuck in my bed with a broken ankle. The sun is shining and Chico is by my side. Friends are e mailing me and dropping by to help. I cant think of a better place to recover. There are many other interesting places in my neighborhood. I will write about them in future articles.