Because I stayed in Guadalajara for over two weeks, I didn’t had to tell a lot of stories on my blog. In the meantime, I’m on the road again and, actually al in the capital, and ready to share some new experiences! For the people that didn't notice it on the site, I've created an instagram account, where I frequently upload photos of my trip. If you're interested to follow me, @orangeguyonabike
is my account.
It wasn’t my intention to stay as long as I did, but I liked the city and I had something to do, so I decided to spent some more time. The first week, I could stay at Miguel’s house, who cycled through Mexico a couple of years ago. He’s currently kind of settled in this mega city, and earns his bread as an artist (painter, radio maker and especially promotor of poetry). I could help him out with one of his big projects. In November, all the … in an avenue are being painted with words. Together, these words form a poet. Sunday, there was a practical test with the word ‘bicicleta’, to see if it works, potential improvements etcetera. I made the design earlier, and it only needed to be filled with the colors that I chose. Pretty proud of the result, to be honest. Much better than I expected.
Many kids decided to help us out
Not bad, right? Right?
The next week, I could help out in the bicycle-house (casa ciclista). This location has multiple functions: the main one is to help the local community with bike repairs to keep them on the road. Furthermore, various bicycle events are being organized over there and it’s also a place for bicycle tourist to spend some time. The mechanic, Martin, is from Germany and has lived in Guadalajara for about 4/5 years now, abandoning his stressful job as computer mechanic. I decided to help him for over a week. A win-win situation, as he appreciated the help and I learned something new.
During these weeks, I wasn’t busy all day long. There was definitely enough time to go out at night with Miguel and his friends. I met some amazing people that I’ll never forget. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… It was one big party everyday of the week. I went to circus practicing areas, juggling competitions, blues bars, tea places, cinemas, museums… I believe I know Guadalajara better than I know Amsterdam.
Another thing that I don't have any talent for. Good to know!
Right after the juggling competition
After a last long night, I pushed myself (what an achievement!) to leave the city and continue my bike trip. After breakfast with Miguel, I expected an emotional farewell, but it was nothing like that. I didn’t get emotional at all, I probably said goodbye too many times on this trip. Another possibility is that I was just too tired to feel anything about it. The first cycling day to Ocotlán was really difficult. I didn’t have any energy and had to stop multiple times during some easy climbs. I had to take another rest day in Ocotlán before moving on. A real rest day, this time. I could stay in Adrián’s place, a friend of a friend of Miguel, and slept for over 14 hours.
I could defintely notice the benefits of this extra rest day, my next bike stretch went a lot smoother. Zamora was my next destinations, in a new state, Michoacán. I didn’t have a place to sleep yet, so I decided to ask the firefighters to offer me a spot. They welcomed me warmly. Of course I could spend the night. Why didn’t I stay an entire week? Why would I want to continue the next day? In my opinion, there was not enough to see or do to stay longer than a night. They linked me to the firefighters in the next city. Before I left, I visited the highest cathedral of the country and then moved on. I might not be a religious person, those buildings are truly impressive. Furthermore, I’m always intrigued by the praying people in churches. They are so dedicated, certain of their religion and they found a way to live their lives. The Zacapu firefighters already expected my arrival.
Highest cathedral, in gotic style?!
I re-found the joy of cycling when I left Zapacu. For over a month, I’ve cycled on the main roads, because the risks of being robbed is much bigger when you go over the secondary roads. Especially in states like Sinaloa. I’m not crazy, so I’ll do what everyone recommends me, I stay on these main roads. But it’s not fun to cycle on these busy roads. The road towards the tourist place Pátzcuaro was quiet and the views were stunning.
Close to the Pátzcuaro lake
I cycled through various villages where the culture of the Purépecha-indians is still visible. Besides Spanish, they speak their own language and have their own style of clothes. Pátzcuaro, an important city for these indigenous, is especially known for the annual feast ‘day of the death’ (día de Muertos). During this event, they honor the death with offers and by decorating graves. It’s a national feast, but Pátzcuaro is the main location. Before climbing into this city, I decided to hydrate myself in a restaurant. When I parked my bicycle, a family asked me the usual set of questions. Where did I come from? Where am I going to? Most of all: Why??? Edilberto and his wife are both cyclists and invited me to stay in their house. Later that day, we met each other at the church, where there was some kind of Christian feast, I don’t remember exactly what it was. The next day, I went to the small island of Janitzio, which used to be a fishing village for the Purépecha-indians. Because there isn’t a lot of life left in the lake, the places transformed into a tourist trap, with hundreds of small shops with tourist stuff. The top of the island has a big statue of one of the founding fathers of Mexico, José María Morelos.
A bit of a statue of liberty lookalike, isn’t it?
I moved to the house of a friend of Edilberto, Toni, who happens to be the chief of the fire department in Pátzcuaro. He told me that if I ever want to experience day of the death, I can always stay at his house. Really kind!
He and a couple of his bicycle friends joined me the next day for the first 40 kilometer of the bike ride, very wisely until the climbing-part began 😊. The raining season started a long time ago, but I barely had any rain during the cycling. That changed dramatically, since I encountered a tropical storm with a lot of lightning strike. I’ve always said that it’s your time to go if lightning hits you, but I don’t want to take the risk, I seeked some shelter. I arrived in Morelia at the beginning of the afternoon, the capital of the Michoacán state. Morelia is named after the same man of the statue. After my arrival, I went to an hotel and immediately explored the city’s beautiful historic center. I asked for a late check-out, to be able to visit some more things in the morning the next day before leaving the city.
I’m not too far away from the capital of Mexico, Mexico-City. I decided to take the bus into the city center, because it’s a pain in the ass to cycle into the second-biggest city of the world. I'm gonna give a big party here to celebrate my 22nd birthday!
Descending to the contaminated centre of the city, because of the mountains surrounding the city which make it difficult for the emissions to get out.