From Nevado Toluca to Xochimilco

Hola from Ciudad de México,

I am a firm believer in granting second chances. You might have started on the wrong foot, things sometimes don’t go as planned, or you were at the wrong place and time. So I gave Mexico City the benefit of the doubt and it has paid off handsomely. I never felt so comfortable and happy in a big city such as Ciudad de Mexico or CDMX in short.

Me with (from left) Daniel, Victor and Mirell on Nevado Toluca
We took a car to get close to the summit

Located over 2000m above sea level, it did take my breath away, and this time I meant it literally. I have been suffering the symptoms of altitude sickness for the last week. But if you give your body enough time to adjust – or like I showed it how much worse it can get by climbing a 4600m high extinct volcano – a paltry 2250m seems like a piece of cake.

The barren crater of Nevado Toluca
Daniel didn’t even lose a breath
Mirell looking over the abyss

Talking about cake, I have given up eating sugar and carbs, but I do make an exception for tacos, especially here in Mexico City known for its delicious street tacos. Besides amazing street food, the city has been treating me like a king with its wonderful weather. This, of course, invites for some great outdoor activity like cycling around the city. What might sound dangerous at first in a city of 30million people and nearly as many cars, turns out to be much safer than it sounds? Every first Sunday of the month, the authorities close down the main roads of the city to the delight of cyclists. As things would have it, my first Sunday in the city coincided exactly with this day. Thank you, Universe! Back to the volcano, it’s called Nevado Toluca and is located 2 hours southwest of Mexico City and can only be reached by car. We set out very early at around 5:30 am as we had to drive there from Zumpango, the hometown of Victor, whom I met in Beijing nearly a year ago. Victor gathered a couple of friends together who joined us for the trek. It was not an easy climb for me, but Daniel, who just loves mountains was running around the landscape like a mountain goat like it was the most natural thing to do. At around 2 pm it was time to head back and my head welcomed the change in altitude as it was throbbing with pain caused by the altitude sickness I developed.

Ellie, Tamar, Victor and their companions at Xochimilco

Last week I mentioned that I was travelling with Ellie and Tamar from the States, sadly we parted ways, but we did spend our last day in style floating, eating and drinking along the old canals of Xochimilco in one of the traditional ‘trajineras’. You can rent a boat for about 750 Pesos (40 USD), which can easily fit up to 20 people if you wanted to. The best way to enjoy the ride is to bring your own food and booze and let time pass by. Apparently, I am going this Sunday again with my amazing roomies, with whom share a beautiful Art Deco house that I found through a Facebook Group whilst looking for a place to stay.

Our amazing Mariachi band

I am now sitting in a cute little cafe that has the fastest internet I ever had the pleasure of connecting to (200Mbit Down and 120Mbit Up). One more reason to love this wonderful, crazy city. You never know, I might have found the love of my life in Mexico City. So next time try to give a place you hated, chance, maybe, just maybe, it will become your favourite place on earth.

Another ‘Trajinera’ cruising down the canal at Xochimilco

I want to say a massive ‘THANK YOU!’ to Victor, who has been organizing both our boat ride and the volcano trip. I can’t believe it’s been a year since we trekked the Great Wall of China and camped out a night on it together.

PS: By request of one of my Instagram followers I have added another image of Bagan, which you can purchase as a poster on my online shop.