Bicycling in Meixco is fun, but it's not all open roads and gorgeous scenery!

This website consists of a journal written while we were traveling in Mexico, January 8 to March 25, 2009. About three weeks of that time, we were on bicycles in the state of Michoacan. From there we returned by bus to Mexico City and then on to Oaxaca for another six weeks in San Agustinillo, on the Pacific Coast — without bicycles.

This was our fourth bicycle tour in Mexico, but the first that we've managed to put on the web. While the text may be of little interest to anyone besides ourselves, we put it online for whatever it may be worth to other cyclists, together with a good number of pictures that anyone may enjoy.

Boston to Morelia

January 7 – 11

We were amazed that on the trip to Mexico City, everything went so well. The bus ride to Logan was fine as usual, Roman Holiday was the movie, and the hotel shuttle was there quickly to pick us up. Our room at the Sheraton Four Points was decent and cheap, thanks to Priceline, though of course not memorable, and the morning shuttle was good too. All our luggage wei

n correctly, no oversize charge on the boogie boards, which had worried us a little, and we made our connection in Phoenix, which had worried us a lot. We never expected that our luggage would also make the connection, but there it was in Mexico City, all intact. We even got a van to Casa Gonzalez immediately.

Looking back on the trip, there were only two negatives: they now serve NOTHING for free on the US Air flights, not even water (which costs $2 per bottle.) One other near mishap – I (Wally) set down my passport in the confusion of unpacking stuff at the TSA checkpoint, and fortunately someone brought it to me as I was walking away! The kindness of strangers.

In Mexico City at Casa Gonzalez, we learned that Luigi is gone – apparently fired – but Jorge, the owner, was as kind as ever. He's storing our boogie boards while we cycle in Michoacan, then storing the bikes when we go to Oaxaca. On Thursday morning Jorge set us up with the hotel's van for the ride to Terminal Poniente for our bus, and charged us only 100 pesos (vs. 225 for the airport taxi.) The driver, who was well dressed and very polite, was named Fernando, I think, and he may be Luigi's replacement.

Casa Gonzalez consists of separate buildings joined to
create private, interior courtyards. It's quiet and secure,
in the heart of Mexico City.


We've spoken to many folks about our liking for Casa Gonzalez. It's an old, family hotel -- we believe Jorge's family has run this place for nearly 100 years. Though we stayed only a single night at the start of our trip this year, we'll be back for a little more time at least twice -- once when our cycling is done and we pass though Mexico City on our way to Oaxaca, and again for a few nights at the end of the trip.

There's nothing fancy about Casa Gonzalez. The top photo on the left is the lobby of the building where we are staying this time; the open doorway on the right goes to our room, seen in the photo below. This room is quite small, not our favorite, but it is clean and quiet, as is every room in Casa Gonzalez, and it cost about $35 U.S. per night -- an amazing bargain considering that we are in one of the safest and most attractive parts of Mexico City.

But the best thing about Casa Gonzalez, by far, is the simple kindness that Jorge and his staff all show to their guests. That's the real reason we keep coming back.

On Thursday morning we took an 11:00 a.m. bus to Morelia, capitol of the state of Michoacan. Once again, things went very well. No problem loading the bike boxes, and no problem finding a cab that could carry the bike boxes and take us to our hotel in Morelia. I even managed to use a phone card on the first try to make sure a room would be available.

We ended up staying at Hotel Allende in Morelia for three nights. We arrived tired, despite everything going well, and Barbara still has a cold. I didn't even start building the bikes until Friday, and it took nearly all day. Theoretically we could have set out on Saturday morning, but we'd had no time to see anything of Morelia or to gather much in the way of information. So Saturday we stayed put. The hotel had an internet connection, and though it was a bit spotty, we managed to use Skype successfully, so probably we'll be using it a lot more.

In the central patio of Hotel Allende, where we built up the bikes

Cycling in traffic like this is an acquired taste. It isn't as
dangerous as it looks because in the these crowded,
narrow streets, cars move slowly.

Morelia is nice for a big city, but it is big indeed, more so than we expected. We enjoyed seeing crowds dancing on one of the squares on Friday night, and on Saturday night, we watched some clowns performing in the same place. From among the hundreds of spectators, they picked us out as gringos and dragged Wally into the square to be the butt of some broad jokes. It was a little embarrassing but also fun.

The cathedral at Morelia in late afternoon, and as the moon rises in early evening. Soon there
was dancing in the streets on the adjacent square, packed with couples later in the evening.

One definite highlight of Morelia was the Casa de las Artesanias. Michoacan is famous for its crafts, and this museum – if you call it that – has two floors of wonderful examples, organized by region. It would have been easy to spend many hours there. We also went to the Mercado de Dulces, or whatever it's called. Not as interesting, but they did have a LOT of sweets.

The cathedral at Morelia is impressive, as advertised. We walked there on Saturday evening specifically to photograph it when it is illuminated, with a full moon as well – that's when Wally was waylaid by the clowns – but the lights were out! We learned later that this was for a fireworks display that we missed.

A small thing we liked a lot in Morelia – gazpachos, a concoction of diced fruit, juices, cheese, and chiles. They sell it in big plastic cups all over the city.

We met an interesting and very strange person at the hostel, a huge old man with white hair and a long beard, who said nothing to anyone for two days. Then suddenly he started chatting with us very pleasantly. Obviously he's highly educated and possibly insane. He told us he comes to Morelia each year to perform as Santa Claus a one of the Banco Azteka stores! He was probably an American. There were also two friendly and chatty Canadians at the hotel.

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