After being isolated for some time, our friends traveling the Americas with their Montague Bikes, Mireia and Alex, finally found some reliable internet to update us. Since they’re last transmission they’ve made their way to Southern Mexico. They’ve been in this country for a month and a half so far, and they’re clearly loving it! Here’s their story:
Lots has happened since we last wrote you! After Mexico City, we headed to Toluca, as our Land Cruiser needed a new set of brakes, and we knew of someone there that could help us. After the repair, we stayed for five more days! The family was very charming and had asked us to stay for the whole week. We learned a lot about Mexican culture and traditions from them.
After Toluca we went to Puebla, a very charming colonial village. We loved the town, but I must say there were some truly awful drivers there. Several times we almost crashed due to other’s reckless driving. We’ve been on the road for 4 months now, and we finally met others traveling the Americas by car: a couple which started a project called ‘Hilando America’. Their objective is to cross the Americas visiting schools to teach traditional ropes games which have been played for hundreds of years, but are currently unknown to most.
Next we headed toward Veracruz, a very important port city. On our way we were stopped by the Police for not using a turn signal. This was very funny, because it seems no one in Mexico ever uses a turn signal! I think our distinctly European license plate drew his attention. He eventually let us go without a fine, specifying that he was not corrupt, and in Mexico we should follow the rules!
After a day in Veracruz, we decided to visit Lake Catemaco, passing by Santiago Tuxla, where the largest known Olmeca head can be found, a massive head carved from basalt dating to at least before 900 BC. The views in this area were spectacular. It was a bit rainy when we visited Lake Catemaco, but it was certainly impressive in size alone.
Afterwards we headed in the direction of Oaxaca. We didn’t know at the time, but it turned out to be a 7 hour trip! Many of the villages and fields along the way were flooded, which apparently happens every year at this time. Once we arrived in Oaxaca, everything was beautiful and the people where extremely welcoming. While in the Sierra Norte, a heavily wooded region of Oaxaca, we went on two excursions.
Our bike ride took us on a 3 hour loop where we were able to learn a lot about how the people in this area live. We visited a ‘criadero de truchas’ (trout farm), a waterfall, and the house of a farmer who was baking breads. It was a very nice experience, and by getting away from the main roads, we could see their way of living in more rural areas. They were very rustic and barely using machines even for agriculture. Their farm equipment was pulled by oxen, and for the bread was baking in wood fired ovens.
The trail was great, but the high elevation meant less oxygen in the air, something that took some getting used to. The trail was quite hilly, but with the Montague X50 and X70 it was easy, and at the end we finished with no problems! The route took us through a few stream crossings, and very muddy sections which were a lot of fun! On our way back, it started to get dark, but Mireia came prepared with bike lights, so we arrived safely. The next morning our bikes needed a thorough cleaning before we could pack them up. There’s nothing quite like getting nice and muddy on a mountain bike!
The next day we did a 20 Km. trail, which would follow the path ancestral people used to go from one village to another. This trail was quite difficult as there were a lot of hills, but as expected it was filled with very beautiful views. After these two trails, we deserved a nice meal of ‘trucha’ (trout), a local delicacy. We went to Sra Marta, an amazing person with a very interesting story, who prepared an exquisite trout with vegetables for Mireia and one with chili for Alex. We enjoyed this meal a lot!
After this amazing experience, we went to Oaxaca, also a colonial village where we spent 3 days. Oaxaca had a lot of history and a lot of artisan craft. We explored a valley nearby where there were Zacatec ruins: Mitla and Yula. We also visited what the locals claimed to be the largest tree in the world in a village called Maria de Tule.
And finally, we went to Hierve el agua, massive rock formations that looks like waterfalls. They were create by a slow trickel of mineral rich water over thousands of years. At the top were natural swimming pools. The water was cold but it was worth the view from the top!
From there we went to the coast to find the beach! After so long without sun we were looking forward to it. We will stay here for a couple of days and keep you posted with our next adventure!
Alex and Mire