From Tula it was time to get back to the beach. Somewhere along the road, Seb saw a nice town and wanted to ride through it instead of going round. He didn’t stop for pictures because it wasn’t that nice, so we continued on what we thought was the right way. The further we continued on that route however, the narrower the street got and at a certain point, the pavement stopped and the hard gravel began. This is not a problem on these bikes, so when Seb asked if we should turn around, Kim said no and we continued our merry way down the hill. The further we went however, the harder the road got and in the end, we had boulders the size of tennis balls lining the street and making the descent for Kim a living nightmare, just look for proof to the face she is making in the picture, these were the last meters (where it was flat again)…
The road to Tecolutla, a seaside town, was long but nice since most of it was through the mountains and we got to enjoy the views.
It seems like this guy is asking: “where do you want to go?”
In Tecolutla we found a nice family owned hotel near the beach and we seem to attract the company of the local animals all the time.
It was time for some relaxation, so we decided to stay two nights and have a day of rest at the beach.
Soaking up some sun on the beach and trying to get a tan. In the evening we found out that Kim had got a tan and that Seb had got a very red skin…
At a certain moment, we were both reading our book on the beach when a happy dog with a wagging tail came our way. The first thing Seb said was: “Kim, do NOT touch the dog!” So Kim just looked at the happy dog and the dog decided it wasn’t getting enough attention, so she threw herself on Seb’s feet, making Kim burst out with laughter. The happy dog rolled on her back and just begged us with her eyes to pet her, so in the end we both couldn’t resist and rubbed her flea infested belly. She was the nicest and kindest stray dog we have seen so far, and let me tell you, we have seen a lot of them because Mexico is infested with stray animals. The happy dog kept wandering off to play with some local crabs, some other dogs and some friendly cats but in the end she always came back to us and begged for some more love. Near the end of the day, we were both sold for the dog and we even named her Lut (a abbreviation of the town we were in) and we had this ludicrous idea that we would take her with us if she followed us to the hotel. In the end Lut got distracted along the way, after walking with us for about 1 km and she didn’t come with us, so we said our mental goodbye’s and realized that it probably wouldn’t have been such a good idea to adopt a flea infested puppy from Mexico and take her all the way to Argentina…
The local beach patrol making sure that everyone is safe on the beach. He even came over to us, to ask us how we were feeling, to say that this beach was very safe and that the spot we picked out was one where most of the vendors didn’t come to bother anyone, so we could rest assured.
Tecolutla is apparently a very popular destination for the locals and thus they have a lot of people walking along the beach trying to sell you alcohol, food or just a happy song.
The brighter the cart, the more these people hope to sell.
These are all the boats that will take you for a tour on the river to go and spot some sea life. In the summer time they will all be busy with local tourists, but in the wintertime, they are lucky if one or two can fill their boat to make a tour. Half of the restaurants weren’t even open because there were so little people around.
“Hey amigos turista”, or roughly translated “hey tourist friends”. They will go to any lengths to try to get you into their restaurant, even if they just have to hang a sign outside that tells you why their restaurant is the best. Most of them have someone standing outside trying to lure you inside by shoving the menu under your nose and by naming all the dishes they have in record paste. Some stopped after you say “no gracias”, but some just kept going event though you were already in a different street by that time.
After our well deserved day of rest, we decided to take the coastal route towards Veracruz, a big port in Mexico. The route along the coast was fun and we had some time to go to the edge of the water with the bikes.
Enjoying the peace and quiet near the ocean.
Playing around on the grass because we couldn’t get to the sand.
Fun, sea and sun, what more does a girl want…
Ready to roll.
Enjoying the ocean while we still can.
Ppfft, all this posing makes you tired.
How many people live in your town, here they have 19. The best sign we found said “3”; but we couldn’t stop to take a picture.
Hhmm, no clue what this sign is for, but I’m glad we didn’t have to find out.
On the way to Veracruz, we passed by Quiahuiztlán, a place where we saw our first archeological site. The place also known as ‘the rainy place’ was know for three things during the day: as a settlement for the locals, as a cemetery (seeing as they have 78 tombs in that area) and as a fortification. The settlement is situated right next to the Cerro de los metates (the hill of the ground stone) because they have so many people buried there that used to work with ground stones. The small structures you see in the picture are all tombs.
The hill on the background is the famous cerro de los metates.
We were lucky that it wasn’t raining that day, but we had a lot of clouds and some fog, so we didn’t have a nice view of the ocean.
The downside of temples on a mountain is that you have to climb the stairs to get there, but when you go back to the bike, at least you can come down the stairs again.
The local wildlife trying to figure out what these humans are doing here.
We must say, that when we saw the size of the local ants, it gave us both goosebumps. There was a whole bunch of them, lining the trees and crawling over the barbed wire. They are called golden carpenter ants and they build their nests inside wood. These ants were huge compared to the normal ones we know from Europe and they turn out to be photogenic also.
Some ants on barbed wire.
Ever looked a golden carpenter ant in the eye?
Before we got to Veracruz, we had heard that the hotels in the center could be very expensive, so we thought, what the heck, lets go and find out how much they ask at a ‘love motel’. A love motel is a place where you park in your own garage and go straight to your room, which is most of the time a ‘pay per hour’ room if you get where I’m going with this… However, for us it can’t be more practical because you have private secure parking for the bikes, the rooms are most of the time very modern and big with a nice hot shower, they are just outside the city, so they are quiet and the noise the neighbors make is mostly during the day and not at night, so we just asked the lady if we could get a room for the whole night. When we asked this, she looked at us and was thinking, boy they must have a great physique to last all night long… The price was 350 pesos for the night and we gladly accepted this.
Our very purple room, with an exercise chair and a lot of mirrors.
The instruction manual for the chair, in case you are not inspired and need some visual aid… It turned out to be a comfortable chair to relax in and we might get one in our house in the future… Going by the noise that was coming from our neighbors, we guessed that they were testing out their chair, so we decided to hop on the bike and go and visit the city.
Veracruz is the first place where when we wanted to park the bike, they told us to get away, but in the end, after some searching, we found a place where we could park the bike and where a guy would watch over it for the evening. Veracruz is the most populous city in the state and has some very nice colonial style buildings. The city isn’t that popular yet with the tourists, but they try to change this by promoting their city and by organizing events in the center of the city.
The municipal palace of Veracruz.
The cathedral of Veracruz with it’s dome covered in Puebla tiles (a type of tile normally used for pottery and processed in the town of Puebla).
Some local performers playing a nice Mexican styled song.
Some art lining the streets.
Veracruz is a very big port with lots of container ships coming in and out of the harbor.
The local military making sure everyone is safe.
The city isn’t very popular with tourists, but popular enough for some real stalls selling touristy stuff along the way. It’s the first time since we’re in Mexico that we have seen stalls like these, so we had to get our fridge magnet here off course.
The city by night can be very charming.
In the main square of the city they had some local performers dancing to some typical Mexican songs. The city organizes these nights almost every night and every night there is something different, but it always has something to do with the local culture. So we enjoyed our night in the town with some salsa music and some real good dancers.
The dresses ranged from modern to authentic and they were always amazing to look at.
The ladies always were very elegant in their moves and their hair and make up was immaculate.
After all this excitement, we went back to our ‘love motel’. The motels are frequented by younger couples who have a steady relationship but don’t want to have sex in their family home because it is disrespectful to their family, they also have a lot of gay customers who don’t want anyone else to know they are gay or just by the old fashioned clandestine affair couples, however most of them don’t want to go there out of fear of running into a colleague when they enter of exit their garage space in the motel. Even though Mexico is a very conservative country, they do have a secretary day (and no they don’t just give them a flower like they do in Belgium) the third wednesday in july and this is the most popular day of all for the love motels, just so you know…