Puebla had a much quieter feel to it (until we tried to cycle out of it, traffic was just nuts). We stayed at a neat and cheap hostel, Hostal 202. We almost gave up on it though as for the life of us we couldn’t find it. A helpful person convinced us that the door on the second floor (hence the name 202) of an apartment building with two red municipal stickers saying “officially closed” (because they didn’t operate legally) is in fact the hostel. Awesome!
Our Australian friends, Ed and Gaye (cycling from Alaska to Argentina) who we met about four times by now, also happened to be in Puebla after their Cuban cycling adventures. We got together for a coffee the next day. It was great to see them again and share our (cycling) stories and future routes.
It was pretty hot for another day until we finally climbed up a steep, never ending hill into the mountains. A very nice lady offered us to camp at the front of her house (which was also the kitchen and living area) and even made us a delicious dinner. She also had the nine most adorable mini-pigs running around causing all kinds of trouble. The rooster’s cock-a-doodle-doo competition at 3 am was less enjoyable.
The 1,600m elevation loss down a very windy and steep road – our brakes were literally smoking – got us back into the sauna, the temperature must have jumped 20 degrees. We did find a hotel in the next town, no fan or A/C relief though. But the family who ran it was super nice and invited us for dinner. It went on, up and down the hills and into and out of the heat. Eventually we reached the city of Oaxaca where we met up again with Ed and Gaye. Oaxaca is a nice city, it has lots of colourful architecture, crafts markets (weaving, pottery, wood, jewelry etc.) as well as a rich history and culture (a big part of the Oaxacan population are indigenous people). The food is good and it is never far to craft beers, tequilas and the famous mezcal (i still don’t know if I like it or hate it… it sure was great mixed with maracuja pulp ).
Colourful Oaxaca City:
Heading out of Oaxaca was surprisingly painless. A big, four lane road with very little traffic. We still managed to get lost trying to cut across to HW 175, the resulting labyrinth of dirt roads was less fun to ride on, especially as it was already hot as an oven and we still had quite a few km’s to do. Lots of nasty dogs chasing us on that stretch. I figure one in ten dogs is a real mean asshole. Usually Nyle is all safe and sound in front and I am coping with the monsters on my tire. Often a loud yell or growl with a sudden stop sends them running into the opposite direction, sometimes a few rocks are involved.
The scenery has greened up and the mountains are covered in cloud forest. It feels so nice to be around trees and green again. One evening, trying to find a camp spot, we stumbled across a little paradise in the mountains, Rancho Los Nubes. The cabins there were a little out of our price range but they allowed us to camp. The view was just breathtaking, across about ten mountain chains and on clear days as far as to the Pacific Ocean. It was a heaven of calmness from the past chaotic weeks. They have big gardens with all organic veggies, a yoga shack and sauna as well as a restaurant. As there were no other guests, we basically had the place to ourselves. Not the worst place to be for Nyle to wake up sick at night (stomach bug) and then spent all of the next day in the shade on his mat. In between my ‘nursing shifts’ I explored some of the property, including two waterfalls. They also have horses and two puppies running around, very cute! So really, the perfect place does exist!
We should arrive at the Oaxaca coast in a few days. Looking forward to the long downhill to the Pacific and seeing the ocean again. Not looking forward to the heat and mosquitoes, fingers crossed for A/Cs and mosquito nets. Hasta luego amigos!
- The family at Hotel Rojo Canela in Coxcatlan for a delicious meal for us hungry cyclists
- The driver of the red pick-up truck for throwing us a bottle of Powerade
- The lady at the Oaxaca bike shop who donated a free tube to our tour