View from our sixth floor apartment patio in Pogradec, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Pogradec, Albania .

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Gjyrokaster, Albania on October 6th.

Monday, March 11, 2019

That's a lot of bull!

A relaxing morning for the most part yesterday, then at 11:00am we got together with whoever wanted to join us for a walk into the central area of the town of Villa Corona. Walking, it is 1.5 kms (just under a mile) one way to the central plaza. Some people took a moto-taxi.... one of those three wheeled combo motorcycle taxicabs.

We wanted to try to get to the Sand Church.... Templo de Arena. It's just one of those oddball small town attractions here in Mexico that you won't see anywhere else in the world.

We met up in the central plaza, after having checked out some of the taco stands that we had passed on the way there. Ruth and I had visited this sand church about 10 years ago, but when we tried to visit in 2016, it was closed.

This time, I volunteered to head on up the hill to check it out and see if it was open. It was open, so after a 2.5 km round trip excursion, I reported back to the group! Some of us took a cab up there, and some of us walked.

Back in 1939, Major Jesús Navarro says that the Virgin had come to him in a vision in 1939 and had asked him to build a chapel inside a hill on the outskirts of Villa Corona. Major Navarro, having discovered that the hill was made of soft jal (volcanic ash and pumice), took to his assigned task like a mole, tunneling through the soft rock—which he referred to as sand—every which way, perhaps waiting for a divine sign as to exactly where the chapel should be located.

The property is now maintained by his grandchildren.

Besides the church, there are a lot of tunnels that the family lived in back in the 1940's.

Interesting stuff. 

President Lázaro Cárdenas visited these tunnels in 1959, and ‘This place is yours and nobody is going to take it away from you.’” At that time the chapel was called La Capilla de las Cuevas.

The assurance of President Cárdenas was of great importance because Mexican law only allows people to own the surface of their property.  Anything below the surface belongs to the government which could, for example, rent out the space to a mining company.

In 2008, Major Navarro said on a sad note as he laments the lack of public interest: “Sunday comes,” he says, “and not a soul turns up...and no priest wants to say Mass here anymore.”

Now it is Major Navarro's grandchildren who have taken charge of the project and they told us they are happy to receive visitors every day of the year.

Across from the tunnel property, there is a ranch.

That's a lot of bull!
The cow is not looking too enthusiastic!

Back in town, a cabalgata was starting. 

With music!

We made out way back to where the taco places were, but unfortunately we were too late! Even by 1:30pm they were starting to shut down. On the bright side, we found a roadside stand that does ceviche tostadas... absolutely delicious for 30 pesos (1.55 USD, $2.10 CAD) each. Sorry, no photos... I was too busy eating!

The guy running the stand says he is also there during the Tuesday market... guess where we are going on Tuesday?!

Back at the waterpark, Ruth and I wandered around and took some photos. It sure was a busy spot!

The hydromassage pool.

People having fun.

Too many people for me!

The lazy river is a little clogged up.

The kiddie pool.

We watched the people coming down the waterslides for a while.

It's too funny watching the waterslides. There are no rules like there are in Canada or the U.S... people line up four or five at a time coming down the slides.

Lots of picnickers.

Just lots of people having fun enjoying their Sunday at the waterpark.

Up early this morning, and off to do a 19 km (12 mile) hike. Should be back by noon or 1:00pm to relax and enjoy the afternoon.

Record low price on this Sun Joe Electric Pressure Washer

And in Canada...


  1. Another fun day, that water park sure looked busy.

    1. It was busy but it is also lots fun to watch everyone having a good time. It is really nice waterpark. In the evening when the park is closed they give the group one of the private pools so that we can use it in the evening, it is really nice at the end of the day.

  2. You could have fun at the water park but too crowded to do any swimming!

    1. On a Sunday afternoon, yes it is too busy but in the mornings between 7 and 9am they have one of the pools open for lane swimming and they also have exercise classes and swimming lessons earlier in the mornings.

  3. It doesn't sound like the Sand Church is widely advertised. A hidden Treasure.
    That Water Park was really busy.
    Be Safe and Enjoy your Hike.

    It's about time.

    1. No the sand church isn't widely known but it is in books like the Lonely Planet. We like neat out of the way places like this.

      The water park is always really busy on a Sunday. We love to watch the families having a great time together.

  4. What a difference from one day to the next at the water park. The sand church looks like a great visit. Very interesting story!

    1. It would be a bigger difference if Kevin had shown you pictures of what the place is like on a Monday. They would only have one pool in operation then and only a handful of people compared to what it is like here on Sundays.

      The sand church isn't much but it is definitely interesting.

  5. I remember the private spa area where our group had great fun one night.... great park and a lovely little town.

    1. We remember that too and we asked for them to fill it but because we are a smaller group they actually give us one of the smaller private pools which is still big enough but is smaller than that pool and it is just perfect for our group. We keep forgetting to take pictures though, maybe we will remember tonight. :-)


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