Silvia was away from her country for 22 years...this trip was a momentous occasion for her as well.
Crossing into Tijuana.
Sergio's father was Molokan. His mom is on the right. Their home was built by his dad in Russian style with multiple doors in case of a snow-in...in Baja?
Entering old Russian sauna in Ensenada.
Russian items in Sergio's house.
The last of the harvest.
Original adobe Russian home.
Vines with thick trunks were likely planted by Molokans.
Olive trees planted by Molokans, a few plots away from my great-grand father's homestead.
PERFECT mornings...the food, the coffee, the view the company!
David Bibayeff himself...as in Bibayeff wine. A great aunt married into the Bibayeff family.
Cousins! We just found out we are related...cousins...Efren manages the winery where we stayed, Malagon.
Silvia singing to her hearts content, back in Mexico where the air is fresher and the food tastes better.
Andres! So delightful, called me "La Babashofa". He was a wine chemist for 11 years and a Mexican born citizen, though he said he was never able to master the Spanish language.
This is Dunia Babashoff's grave, first cousin to my grandmother. She died in 1993.
This is originally a Molokan cemetery but also been used by Catholic people of Guadalupe. The simple looking tombstones are Molokan and the crosses signify Catholic.The upper part of the plot, as seen here, is primarily Molokan, and further down the hill, there are more crosses.
Valle de Guadalupe is an emerging wine region. While the mission was the first to plant wine grapes, the Molokans mastered the technique and planted large areas with diverse grapes that love the river bed soil. It must have taken a huge communal effort to level the land and rid it of rocks to develop the pristine agricultural fields that we still see today.
Mapping out the plots. The town has pretty much the same layout, just more buildings and a few more roads.
The Russian land across from Andres home sits empty...olive trees and the Russian homes are all that is left.
Molokans of past, but forever honored in the Museo Ruso.
Describing the right climate for wine and how the Russians planted grapes on a grand scale.
We have family members in this picture.
In the older days, family members each had their own spoon and during meals, dipped it into a large communal bowl.
Russian nesting dolls "Matryoshka" (Матрёшка) brought during the journey to the Americas.
There are two museums across the road from one another. Apparently they compete with one another but I thought they both had something unique to offer.
Family member listed in this picture. Which one, maybe all?
Senora Rogoff's family.
Wonderful stories about his what seemed like millions of animals of every kind.
Senora Rogoff's husband is Yaki, an indigenous group from Sonora.
I could have spent this day on this bench listening to stories and watching the gazillions of animals.
Reminiscing the past with Senora Rogoff.
Senora Rogoff took care of my grandmother's cousin, Dunia Babahisoff, when the Russians were forced to leave. Dunia could not travel because she "had the mind of a child" so the senora took her in and cared for her until her death in 1993. She said all of the Babishoffs were good people, not a bad one in the lot.
Senora Rogoff's family pictures. I get a lot of satisfaction from the diversity of symbols and cultural backgrounds displayed.
Senora Rogoff's parents.
A nice display of Russian items brought during immigration.
Citrus trees do really well in this climate.
Molokan children attended Mexican Public School but they also learned Russian formally in the home.
High up in the hills protecting the valley.
One of our family's original homes.
Land that once belonged to my family. Land ownership is tricky. Many current people living on former Russian land quite possibly do not hold title but may have gained "possession" by squatting.
Happened upon Gabriel as he was leaving his home...one of the few Molokans left in the valley. With each Molokan I met, I had to pass a Russian language oral exam! Once I did, it was like a family reunion!
View of the B&B where we stayed-in the middle of a vineyard-Malagon. The owner, Nathan Malagon, treated us right! It was a slice of heaven, for sure. The land is sandwiched between our family's two main plots, neighbors!
Efren's registered label "Molokan". He gave me the last bottle.
It took a concentrated effort getting this bottle home safely from van, to bus, to trolley, to rental car, to airplane.
Thank you primo!
Efren is passionate about the art of wine-making. He had us all enthralled while speaking about his philosophy and future.
Wine tasting with Veronica. She has a Master's degree in Wine Making (I'm sure there is an official title), spent two years learning wine production in Australia and also studied in Napa.
Nathan Malagon and his wines...our B&B host extraordinaire.
The museum is in an old Molokan home and shows what day to day life was like.
One of these men is my great- great grandfather, Semoni Babeshoff who was one of the three elders to settle the land rights in Guadalupe.
I remember my grandma telling me that every Russian house had a sauna...this is what they looked like.
Farming equipment. Molokans were renowned for the agricultural techniques, often compared to as the Quakers or Amish due to communal living and working.
This is a lovely woman who runs one of the museums. I misplaced her contact information but when I find it, I'll insert her name. She was very helpful and has a wealth of information about the Molokan community even though she is not Russian. When asked how she learned so much, she simply stated, "I listen".
Steve, our guide, contemplating the pictures. Steve is a renowned wine writer. I'm trying to convince him to come up to the Willamatte Valley and do an expose on our Pinot Noir.
Just the stove is left of this Russian adobe home.
The Valley is beautiful from all angles.
Valle de Guadalupe view.