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.

The Bean Chicago

The Bean is a well known landmark in Chicago, specially when there is a grand sunset

Trump Tower Chicago

Trump Tower and the classic Chicago skyline

Mexican Culture

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.

El Diablo

El Diablo – Just another day in San Miguel, leading up to the Day of the Dead

San Miguel de Allende

Another parade through the streets

San Miguel de Allende

Who’s your Daddy

El dia de los Muertes

Mexican Culture of celebrating Dia de los Muertes

Mexican Culture

Mexican Culture

The groto

Relaxing the muscles in The Groto hot Springs

Cyclin San Miguel

A day ride on the railway lines with the locals of San Miguel, what could possibly go wrong

Largest Tree

The largest tree in the Mexican state of Guanajato

Puebla

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.

 

Cemitas

Cooking Cemitas, note the mess on the floor in the bottom right hand corner

Cemitas

Cemitas, the high calorie end prodcut

Puebla Cathedral

Puebla Cathedral

 

Mexico City

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.

Zocolo Ice Skating

Who would have thought about Ice Skating in the Zocolo in the heart of the Historic District

Anthropology Museum

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.

Olmec Head

Olmec heads with a distinct African appearance, from a culture long before the Aztecs or Mayans

Anthropolgy Museum

Anthropology Museum

 

Teotihuacan

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.

Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan looking from the temple of the Sun

Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan, looking up the long avenue

Climbing

Descending the temple of the moon

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12 Responses

  1. Lou Catozzi

    You mentioned how Chicago has a bad reputation in the media. Here in the USA, especially here in Texas, we here all the bad things that happen in Mexico. I guess it takes a world traveler like yourself willing to write about all the good things to do and see in these places to help balance out the gloom and doom commercial reporting we all consume each day.

    I have really enjoyed reading about all of your various travels and getting to know some of these places that I might not ever hear about except thru your experiences and reporting.

    Lou

    Reply
    • BikeHikeSafari

      Hi Lou, there is certainly much more good in the world than bad. Not that I am a glass half full kinda person. But a combination of poor media coverage of world events and human nature to be wary of their neighbours both combine to make the world seem dangerous. For the most part it is not.
      I stopped reading newspapers when I set off on this journey almost three years ago. I now see the world more open minded.
      Mexico really is a safe place in my opinion. I’ve spent almost 9 months of my life traveling here. The people are friendly and inquisitive with a kind of patience and tolerance that people from USA and Australia can only aspire to. On the same note I’ve had nothing but great experiences when in USA. I didn’t get shot or robbed in a drive by shooting. That is what the media would have you believe. Travel certainly does open ones eyes to reality.
      Glad you enjoy the journey. I hope to make it to Texas on day.

      Reply
  2. Anna

    Mexico is just so colorful and vibrant. I would love to explore more as I only did the yucatan. Your photos are stunning!

    Reply
    • BikeHikeSafari

      Hi Anna, Latin America has a lot to offer as you well know. Mexico is a great country to explore. The colour, the food and the people make it a great destination.

      Reply
  3. Ron&LauraForbes/BryceCanyon

    Merry Christmas to you Brad, good to know you are still out there traveling and sharing with us your world.

    Reply
    • BikeHikeSafari

      Hi Ron and Laura, yes still going, get a bit left in these old legs. Merry Christmas to you both.

      Reply
  4. Heather

    So glad to see a blog post from you and glad to know you are doing well and enjoying Mexico. The colors in your beautiful photographs really “pop” with the new blog look! That is a very big tree. Merry Christmas!

    Reply
    • BikeHikeSafari

      No bear spray in Mexico, I don’t think Mexican customs would like me bringing it in. Chicago has a bad reputation for crime, specially through the media. I found it to be a safe place and the media just sensationalising stories to sell newspapers etc.

      Reply

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