Tequillan, Tecuila meaning “place of tribute” in the language of Nahuatl
Researching the volcanoes of Mexico I came across Tequila Volcano. When I figured out that this volcano is related to a town and the spirit of the same name, it was clear to me that I wanted to go there.
To get to Tequila, I took a bus from Guadalajara. Soon after we left the city, I started to see the agave, maguey plantations. As we went on, we approached the mountain that I remembered from the Tequila advertisements and from that I had taken to be the volcano. I was already thinking about taking pictures when we arrived in the next village. To my surprise, it was not Tequila and so the bus drove on. As we left Amatitán the road turned and the impressive “Tequila Volcano” appeared to the left. What had previously been only agave fields, now turned into cornfields, dotted with a few maguey plantations. The landscape became rougher and it was not as picturesque as it had been before. By the time we reached Tequila, there weren’t any agave fields anymore and I started to realize why all the pictures of the tourism board show “Cerro Amatitán” and not “Tequila Volcano”.
But since my project revolves around taking pictures of volcanoes, I began to explore Tequila town. To get an overview I decided to climb up a hill, which I had seen from below. Up there I noticed that I was in a highland, covered waist-high in golden grass and so I happily started walking. The light was wonderful, the clouds were dramatic and I saw to my delight that the afternoon breeze had cleared the top of the volcano. Luckily I had my camera with me to capture this moment.
The following day, I could not go ahead with my plan to look for further motives. It had been raining during the night and so the sky was cloudy and the volcano invisible. Therefore I decided to visit the “Museo Los Abuelos”. What I learned there amazed me: I quote: “Then we crush or mill the agave as our Tatarabuelo (great-grandfather) did over 135 years ago in our stone mill called the Tahona. The crushed agave is then washed with the pure mountain water from Tequila Volcano to separate the pulp from the woody fibers, to create an agave juice called “Mosto”. The “Mosto” is then fermented for three to four days before it is distilled.”
What I learned that day is, that real Tequila is made out of two things: Maguey that grows on volcanic soil and is treated with volcanic water. Finally, I understand those nocturnal eruptions, Tequila has caused throughout my life 😉