From Guadalajara, Jalisco to Guanajuato, Guanajuato (350km)
Chris and I wanted to leave early in Guadalajara in order to have as much time as possible in Guanajuato. The targeted 8am where finally 9:20am. I expected more traffic but leaving Guadalajara was quite quick. I didn’t know that right after Guadalajara farming starts and that the country side is that close. I was surprised. We have been riding a toll highway and soon after Guadalajara it started to rain. So I put my light rain gear on.
The navigation system took us off the highway on some real little country side roads. All of a sudden it sent us on a gavel road that went wet and soft and we asked us if this is the right way. Chris did a 200m ahead to see where the road goes and found a locked gate, and a donkey fixed to the ground and came back andso we turned around. I talked to some locals and one showed us with his scooter the road to the main street. It wasn’ difficult too find, but very kind of the guy.
Farming and brick manufacturing are big in this area and also some mining. We made it to Guanajuato, negotiated the Hotel room for the best we can choose from and explored the city. Unfortunately it rained.
The special thing about Guanajuato is that the city was built on an old mining site which means the tunnels left over from mining are all under the city. So there is an upper and lower city map and that’s why the GPS gets confused. It was interesting to see how the upper and lower part interacted with the busses and traffic but also pedestrian ways. It is normal that in the tunnels under the city one lane is used for parking, since in the upper city there is simply no space. The pictures show better how the city works.
We had a few drinks, went to the hotel and later back down town for some fun, however Tuesday night was not much to get in town.
From Guanajuato, Guanajuato to Queretaro, Queretaro (170km)
In the morning we packed our motorcycles and split up since Chris needed to do some stuff and I used my time to ride. I identified a nice road to Dolores Hidalgo, that turned out to be 40km curve after curve. Unfortunately I could not take the pictures like I wanted because I avoided the risk to stop. The curves where that close behind each other and no space to stop that I did not put myself in danger for the following traffic. Mexican drive quite harsh on these back roads.
The rest of the ride to Queretaro was just decent and no big challenge.
When I arrived at the hostel an elderly man bumped into me and asked where I am from. We ended up in talking for 20 minutes. My Spanish gets better every day and I enjoy the exchanges with the local people.
Queretaro has a nice and clean historic city center. Main attraction are an Aqueduct and the Santa Rosa Cathedral, that is a church with a lot of gold applications on the inside. That church should have a nice garden included as well, but when I came there the opening hours have been passed by. I took a walk, like 30-40 minutes to reach the Aqueduct by foot, but it was worth it, and nice that the people keep it in shape.
Chris showed up also and checked in at the same hostel, that actually has a 4 bed room alone for us for 195 Pesos each (that’s divided 17 equal to 12EURO).
Queretaro is really nice, however with Guadalajara and Guanajuato together the 4th day in a town is almost too much. I am ready to see more nature again.
My Cardan-Shaft is no more leaking and that makes me happy on the one side, and nervous on the other side. Why did it stop ? I will find out at Triumph in Puebla when I will meet Antonio.
From Queretaro, Queretaro via Bernal and San Juan Teotihuacan to Mexico City (350km)
What a day !
Chris left early, I got stuck with my GPS programming and left like 10am. First stop should be Bernal in the state of Queretaro where they have the 3rd tallest Monolith in the world (1st one is the one in Gibraltar, then 2nd the one in Rio De Janeiro, so-called “Pao de Azucar” ). So my set is complete by incident :-).
Then I hit the highway south towards Mexico City (the cool way to say it is D.F. [Deee eeeFee], which is the abbreviation of “Districto Federal de Ciudad de Mexico). Every Mexican should not talk to me anymore that the highways in Germany are unlimited and that in Mexico the highways have a speed limit. What is the difference if you don’t care about the speed limit, my mexican friends ?
At the speed limit of 110km/h I was rolling down the highway at 130-140 which is fairly called speeding. Then a bunch of vehicle approached me on the highway and I tried to follow. With my gear loaded I needed to calm down at 180km/h and let them go. So illegally you can do the speed similar in Mexico than at home in Germany.
OK, still one difference is that in Germany it is fairly uncommon to bicycles on the side strip of the highway and other subject of bad manner such as overloaded trucks with over aged breaks or just people on pickups. So high speeds in Germany are less risky to handle.
Aside this I made it fast that day and arrived after all these toll stations in Teotihuacan.
This place is famous for its Pyramids and what is left over of them. It is amazing to see and to imagine how they build these at their time and tool level. The entire area is flat for like 30km, so don’t know where they had the stones from.
I climbed the Sun-Pyramid with motorcycle gear on which was not a big issue for temperature, but at 2000m quite a challenge. The air was thin already. Chris was there just an hour ahead of me, but we did not meet that day.
I left for DF, which was not far in distance but in time. Many cities have a traffic problem, but the one in DF is special. 3 Lanes become 5 or more… I applied the local rules and found my way through. However the pollution is quite tough or is it the altitude or both?
Nevertheless I arrived and had a problem of finding a parking. The hostel did not have any, and 6-7 parking did simply not accept motorcycles. Simple reason is that they park your car and they park them basically mirror to mirror and a motorcycle would disturb the system. Other reason is they were not entering any negotiation. So then I needed to find a solution. Found a Hotel, parked in the garage there at the deep back-end on a spot where no car could park and went to the reception if this is ok. The receptionist said that it is not possible, and I insisted that he should give me a fair chance. I asked him if he saw the game Germany against Brasil last summer, and we had a laugh. He helped me with a favor to let me park there for a 200 pesos for two days (equal to almost 12EUR).
Win Win and here I was. Mexico City.
The hostel was nice, the location great and the pool I only discovered the day later. Sun set already and I had a walk around and had some dinner (grilled Pulpo, or Octopus) that reminded me a good one from other travel and a unique fishing experience in Brasil 10 years ago (greetings to Ingo if he reads this).
On my walk around I found out that the entire city had open doors this weekend for the annual design exhibition. So many buildings have been open and I had a look inside and of course from top of the buildings to the city. Was cool.
What a day !
14NOV to 15 NOV2014
Mexico City (rest and explore the city)
The first nigh in the hostel I shared the 4 beds room with 3 guys from Puerto Rico. 2nd Night I was alone and 3rd night Australians showed up. Multi Cultural !
on Friday I met Faby from Sao Paulo and we had a nice afternoon, talking about the old days back then and what we have been doing in the 10 years meanwhile. Was good. We wanted to go out later and the other day but it did not happen, which was ok for me. Mexico City center has really plenty of nice buildings, bars and restaurants. I saw the important buildings and churches, had good food and also hit into the “zona rosa” by accident. This is the 2 blocks where the gay and lesbian have their place to be. To my taste they over exaggerate it there, but that’s probably the only place in the entire real catholic Mexico they can be. Surprising many western people hang out there too, of course with the same background.
On Saturday I took the Metro and the subway to go to the Aztec Stadium. Unfortunately I missed the opening hours and could not take a picture from inside. It is where Germany lost the world cup final 2:3 against Argentina back in 1986. To bad I could not see it inside but from outside the biggest soccer stadium in the world is quite impressive. It hosts still 105.000 seats. (To be named that the Maracana stadium lost this title after the renovations for the world cup 2014, the number of seats there are only 75.000 seats from a former 200.000)
DF has a traffic, pollution and water supply issue, and positive a lot of history, many good restaurants and represents the country as a capital city. Nearby activities there are plenty, like the pyramids and volcanoes, as I will tell you later.