|I spent about 10 weeks in the centre of the country. This segment of my journey began in the city of Guanajuato. I spent most of these weeks in high altitude and that impacted my body, but the natural and man-made sites I've seen were incredible. During these weeks, I've been in 8 different cities, travelled more than 2 000 km and I've visited a total of 13 UNESCO World Heritage sites.|
First, the city of
Guanajuato (picture above)
and its historical
centre are truly wonderful. There are so many things I like
about the city I don't know where to begin. Let's start by the
colours, since they are truly stunning both by their variety and
intensity, the whole city is a huge camera candy. The city
architecture is also very impressive with the tunnels going through
the mountains and all. Finally, let's point out it's a cultural city
being the Cervantes capital in the Americas, and that's visible all
over town. That's part of why this city is my favourite in Mexico so
Map of Central Mexico
After my greatest surprise
and enchantment from Guanajuato comes probably my biggest
Miguel de Allende. Hopes were high for this
town crown Best touristic destination for 2013, but it fell so
short compared to Guanajuato. Biggest deception in SMA is the
overwhelming presence of Americans, which totally transformed the
city to make it a cheap Texan town South of the border. It's hard to
find Mexican authenticity in such context, even the colours are dull,
the architecture is polluted with Western designs, etc.
Then I went to Querétaro,
which is a large city but in which the centre was remarkably
preserved and it's a real pleasure to walk it, because of its
architecture. But the city also has a very rich history and played a
pivotal role in Mexican evolution on more than one occasion. I also
tasted the local variety of Dori-Lokos,
and compared it to others.
City of Querétaro
Then came my most
anticipated stop in Mexico: Morelia. First, the historical
centre, which presented me a new facet of the architecture giving
it a special character, even if it impacts greatly the authenticity
aspect. On many occasions they removed the plaster layer to expose
the bricks on historical buildings and modern ones made to look like
colonial ones. I also discovered the Mexican gaspacho, which is
essentially what is named 'esquites' elsewhere in the country and
very different from the Spanish tomato-based cold soup.
But my most anticipated
reason to go to Morelia (and go in troubled Michoacan state) was to
take a tour to go visit the reserves
of the Monarch butterflies. Although I was there only two hours,
it is my favourite natural location in Mexico. Being there in the
mountains and seeing tree branches bent by the weight of thousands of
butterflies and look up to see a blue sky with hundreds of orange
moving spots was really an experience of a lifetime. I already knew
how a Canadian found this rest spot for the only butterfly known to
do a migration, but it was equally impressive to realize some of
these butterflies made the same journey I did all the way from
Montreal, flying more than 4 000 km on their own to return to this
very special area.
A few of the Monarch butterflies that surrounded me.
Then it was the planned
pause of four weeks in Mexico
city, to mark my six months of travel but also to give me time to
explore this megalopolis and five of the six UNESCO sites in and
around it. Overall, I can't say I enjoyed Mexico City because it's
way too crowded and way too polluted. But it's still a valuable
experience and a good place to base yourself to visit around since
all roads lead to the capital. Besides, I want to visit every
national capital city of the countries I'll be visiting.
Aerial view of the old Mexico City
While in Mexico
City, I attended an event of lucha
libre and I went to a corrida.
I've seen my first pyramids ever as I visited the sites of Xochicalco
I visited the historic
city centre, explored all this vast city using the cheap and
extended metro system, including the Xochimilco area with its old
canals representing the way of living in the area of Mexico City was
before the lake was drained. I also explored the main campus of the
Nacional Autónoma de México, with a graduate student.
I saw how Mexicans celebrate Christmas and enjoy skating on
artificial ice in various plazas while it was 20 C. I've meet with
who explained me his job of custom printer on a big plaza of the
megalopolis. I've also published articles about the food including
the wide variety of milk
available the cousins dishes that are Elotes,
Esquites and Gaspacho.
Ancient city of Xochicalco, where I've seen my first pyramids.
Then I left for Puebla,
from where I had other magic moments admiring the Popocatepetl
volcano and eating the most famous mole
of Mexico, as well as many other local specialities. I discovered
and participated in the Epiphany celebrations with the sharing of the
king's crown pastry.
After almost three months
in high altitude my body was very happy to return at sea level in
Veracruz and enjoy the ocean a bit as well as the local
food. I made a day trip to see the unusual colonial city of
which is located about two hours South. Very interesting little town
with a very unique architecture for its columns.
Unusual city of Tlacotalpan.
I then took trip of two
days North for my last stop in Central Mexico to visit Papantla. My
main reason to go there was the old city of El
Tajin, which is impressive because it's very dense and richly
decorated. I had the pleasure to be there early on a weekday and had
virtually all the site to myself allowing me to take tons of pictures
without any tourists in sight.
Wonderful city of El Tajin.
But while I was exploring
the rich centre of Papantla, I discovered lots of products about
and that triggered my curiosity. After some research, I discovered
it's in fact a Mexican plant that grew only there until it was
exported with success about 170 years ago in other tropical
environments. The fruits of the vanilla orchid used to be dried in
the streets of Papantla which yielded a smell all over the valley.
From each of those cities,
I've published many daily pictures presenting you a funny side of the
city or lifestyle. I've improved the presentation aspect of these
cards to give them a more postcard-like look. Amongst the most
viewed ones from Central Mexico, you have: Smallest
police vehicule (from Querétaro), Kids
playground (from Mexico City) and Auto-Hotel
Auto-hotel in Veracruz.
Along the way, I shared
with you my thoughts about life: How
do you measure success? and Keep
your expectations low and most importantly The
Asynchronous Man. I exposed you a bit of what
kind of traveller I am too, just after I celebrated my first six
months on the road.
I also kept on working on
improving my Web site and encourage people to become member of my Web
site in order not to miss my posts (if you just like my Facebook
page, you'll probably receive notice of about 25% of my posts because
Facebook decides who reads what). I've launched in late November a
monthly draw amongst my Web site members offering them to receive
a physical postcard sent from one location I visit. I've had 3
winners so far, will you be the next one? I also began offering
customized desktop (or for your mobile device) calendar
where you can select the image you want, include my itinerary or not,
etc. There will be more additional contents reserved only for
members... so if you're not already a member join
now, it's FREE and you won't miss anything!