Life after hiking
I finished my hike of the Continental Divide Trail some two months ago. I’m ready to return for my dose of Mexican Culture. My body has let me down. I am unable to clearly articulate just how tired I was when I finished. It wasn’t just the physical tiredness, although that was a major part of it. There was also the emotional and mental tiredness I felt. I needed to rest. And rest I did.
Angela joined me for a short couple of days in the windy city of Chicago. We destroying a famed Chicago style Pizza with its super thick crust. Strangely, a pizza is sometimes called a pie in this part of the world. A pie is a totally different thing where I come from. Chicago was a pleasant city to walk around.
If I had believed everything I heard in the media then there is no way I would visit Chicago, such a dangerous city. Things are not as bad as they seem, the world is much safer than the media would have you believe. But it was time to be reunited with my bicycle in Mexico, a much safer place.
San Miguel de Allende has been my home away from home since my arrival in the town earlier in the year. I call it Gringolandia, due to the high population of Americans and Canadians that live there.
While I rested and waited for my body to heal the annual Day of the Dead came and went. Several parades through the town bought out the colour and vibrancy of Mexico.
I managed to jump onto the bicycle for some local rides including a rather boring and tiring three day circuit ride from San Miguel de Allende. It was tiring. I wasn’t ready to get back into it straight away.
I still had trouble walking. A combination of a slow healing Planar Facitis, general muscle and joint pain, mainly joint pain. On several occasions I paid a visit to the nearby hot springs which helped with the aches and pains.
While resting I spent a lot of time reading and learning about all sorts of computer blogging stuff. I met digital nomads making a living on the road with their computer. I was inspired. I upgraded this blog which has become a labour of love for the last 3 years. All the while I was resting and healing.
Angela arrived from USA for a short visit. Exhausted after her cross country hike we spent several days in San Miguel before busing ourselves to the town of Puebla to visit my old cycling buddy Gareth from Elpedalero.com.
He is possibly the most traveled guy in Latin America. His stories are both inspiring and legendary. Gareth, if you are reading this, get off your arse and write that book! I’d be the first to buy it. When he does write his book I shall let everyone know.
Puebla is a grand city of both chaos and beauty. It is situated near the very active Popocatépetl volcano. Not long ago the volcano showered the city in a layer of ash cloud. A messy clean up by all accounts.
Several days were spend walking around sampling the sights and consuming some of the local foods such as Cemitas, a burger like meal with meat, french fries and salads stuffed between the bun. Cheap and loaded full of goodness knows how many calories. One establishment that Gareth and I ate in would be closed down in any other country due to the poor hygiene standards, I love Mexico.
All too soon I bid farewell to Gareth. Angela and I made our way to another kind of Chaos.
Mexico city is one big urban sprawl, not to mention the chaotic traffic and pollution. Urban planning was an afterthought for this city of some 30 million people. But not all is lost. There is beauty to be found in the people, architecture and culture of the city. The central historic district is the go to place.
It is almost Christmas, so that means Ice Skating, right? Well, in the central plaza, also known as the Zocolo, a large frozen Ice Skating rink was set up. Despite the hot weather people did there best to move over the ice without ending the day in a hospital waiting room. We did not give skating a go.
Angela and I wandered around the Cathedral and nearby ancient Aztec ruins. Not much is left from the days of the Aztecs, the Spaniards and later the Mexicans made sure of it. But what is left fascinates me.
Walking the city streets is not the only pleasure to be had in Mexico City. We headed to the famed artisan market. Santa had to find a gift for his young niece in Australia. Just walking around the market is joyful enough, but, Santa did find his gift.
The Anthropology Museum in Mexico City is a world class museum that ranks highly as one of the world’s best museums. If there is time to visit only one museum in Mexico city then make it the Anthropology Museum. The museum is full of original and replica works of all the ancient cultures of Mexico. From the first indigenous peoples to the Aztecs, Mayans and everything in between. It is all here. We spent enough time here till our legs were too tired to be on them any longer.
Now time to visit the real thing.
Teotihuacan is just north of Mexico City. It is not only one of the most impressive ancient site in Mexico, but possibly the world. The large ancient pyramids of the Sun and Moon were built by the Teotihuacan culture which existed long before the Aztecs. they were built around the time of Jesus Christ, give or take a few years.
Like all cultures the world over they rose and they fell. Now it is a busy tourist attraction which offers expansive vistas and steep climbs in the thin Mexican air to the tops of the pyramids. This was my second visit here and I would easily visit for a third time.
All too soon Angela and I said goodbye, she heading back to USA and me onto my bicycle to explore the rest of the Americas. We will remain friends.