10th to 12th June

Tuesday 10 June

Finally, today we take the bikes. We will go from Puebla to Jiutepec, near Cuernavaca. We have a last breakfast with Pepito and leave.

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It takes a long time to get out of Puebla, the city is much extended. Most of the day, we are on a small winding road. The weather is ideal: it is very cloudy, threatening, but it does not rain. So we are not too hot, and we won’t get sunburns. It is so good to be once again on the bike, to travel through the little villages, to smell the nature, to see the landscape pass before your eyes.

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We pass very close to the Popocatepetl, the famous volcano, second highest summit of Mexico. But of course, we don’t see anything of it, only a big concentration of clouds. Here, in the countryside, the people are wearing more traditional clothes, and like in the Andes region, many of the old ladies have two braids.

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The last section of today’s route is on a big road. Many trucks and cars pass us, at high speed, and without a big margin. The last climb, el Cañon del Lobo, is very annoying: imagine several kilometres of climbing, with a huge traffic next to you, very noisy trucks. Speaking of trucks, they are even stronger than in Colombia. Here, behind a cabin, they manage to put two trailers! So you have an vehicle of maybe 80 tons, and 30 metres long!

At the top of this climb, we just have to ride down to Jiutepec. But it starts to rain. Within minutes, it’s raining cats and dogs, so we decide to wait a little. But the rain does not stop, so eventually, we put on our rainproof clothes and start going. The city of Jiutepec looks like Venezia. The streets are covered by several centimetres of water, it looks like pedalling in a river. No need to precise that we are absolutely wet when we arrive at Sandra’s house. Sandra is a friend of Nata, and she will host us for a couple of nights.

Wednesday 11 June

We have a calm morning in the house of Sandra. We had a good night to recover from yesterday efforts (we cycled 10 hours for 140km, 1500m of ascension). In the afternoon, Sandra brings us to Xochitepec (in náhuatl, it means mountain of flowers). It is a city a little South of Cuernavaca. It has kept a traditional atmosphere of a small village. Here everyone seems to know each other, people have time to do their things, or just look at street. Like all the other Mexican city, the heart is the zócalo (the central square), with the church and the city hall nearby. We climb on a (very) small hill inside the town to have a panoramic view.

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Then we come back to Cuernavaca. We visit the zócalo, and wander in the centre. As soon as we arrive in a restaurant for dinner, the rain starts to fall. Again, like yesterday, after five minutes, the street has been converted into a river. The systematic concreting is probably the cause of the earth not able to absorb the water anymore.

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The palace built by Cortes in Cuernavaca

Thursday 12 June

We have another relaxed morning. We checked the bus schedule, and the only available bus is at night. In the afternoon, we go for a visit of Jiutepec (in nahuatl, it means mountain of the precious stones) with Sandra. The cathedral was built in 1529! (but given the name of the city and the avidity of the Spanish conquerors, no wonder the city was built so long ago)

We leave late for taking the bus. So we cover the 10km separing us from the bus station at high pace. When we arrive there, we get the bus, and we are totally wet. Again, we don’t pay any extra for having the bike (the ticket itself is really expensive, like 30 euros for 7h of bus!). And we cannot take any big bag on board.

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With Sandra and her family

While in Cuernavaca, we enjoyed to try a lot of Mexican food. The most common sandwich-like snack is the torta. It’s a white bread, with meat inside. You can have it of chorizo (as here), beef, chicken, sausage,… the best is with cheese, it’s very creamy. You also have a lot of snacks prepared in some crepes, of corn or wheat flour. The gringa here is with wheat flour, prepared with cheese and bacon.

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For breakfast, when they have time, the Mexicans use to cook chilaquiles: it is basically toasted corn crepes (a little like the triangle nachos you can buy to eat with guacamole) with a green or red sauce of chile. It is a little spicy. If you want sweeter, just add some cream, and don0t forgetthe cheese if you are French. Another way of eating the corn is in a soup, with some meat, spices, coriander: it is called Pozole.

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Here is the video of these days: