Mexico
Snaps - December 2014

Snaps – December 2014

About six weeks ago, our camera made thunderous contact with a pavement somewhere on the Yucatán Peninsula. Since then, a thin, faint smudge has appeared near the centre of every photograph we’ve taken with it. See if you can spot the smudges on this month’s collection of disparate snapshots, which have even less connection to...
Feliz Navidad, una vez más

Feliz Navidad, una vez más

A year and a day ago, the Argentine family in whose posada we were staying invited us to join them for Christmas dinner. For us Englanders, there was a twist: the dinner was held not on Christmas Day, but – in traditional Argentine fashion – late on Christmas Eve. Midnight was greeted with cheers, present-opening...
The Night of Radishes

The Night of Radishes

During the 19th century, competition grew tough in the markets of Oaxaca. There were too many vegetables and not enough shoppers, and traders were forced to seek new ways to attract passing trade to their stands. At some point, several stallholders began carving their vegetables into shapes, figures, even tableaux. This novel marketing method proved...
On the up

On the up

From the city of Campeche, a colonial jewel box on the banks of the Atlantic, we rode for 12 consecutive days to reach the beaches of Oaxaca – south-west on the edge of the Gulf Coast, west through the heartland of Mexico’s oil industry, south to cross the country at its thinnest point, then west...
Month 17

Month 17

10 November – 9 December 2014 Countries Mexico (total 16) Distance 2,251.34km (total 21,355.18km) Climb 7,094m (total 192,747m) Longest day 151.77km, Champotón to Ciudad del Carmen in Mexico (longest so far: 160.11km) Top speed 53.5kmh (fastest so far: 67.4kmh) Punctures 4 (total 32; Will leads 23-9) Touring cyclists encountered 12 (total 88) Longest stretch in...
Snaps - November 2014

Snaps – November 2014

Lots of old ruins among this month’s snaps. And alongside those pictures of Ruth and Will – ba-dom-tish! – quite a few photos of some archaeological sites. For more where these came from, click here.     We’d heard that the highway between San Cristóbal de las Casas and Palenque, unfriendly at the best of...
Veinte mil

Veinte mil

When Will pulled into the Guatemalan town of Huehuetenango a month ago, his eyes met those of a tall, lanky man who’d just stepped out of a minibus. The man was wearing a giant rucksack, which led Will to assume that he was a backpacker. However, when he immediately pointed to Will’s panniers, acknowledging with...
Roads to ruins

Roads to ruins

In every bike tour, whether two weeks or (like this one) two years, there comes a point when the cyclist realises that the best riding is behind them. It’s not that there aren’t stretches of splendid cycling ahead, because there often are; and it’s not that the countries themselves don’t hold plenty of off-bike appeal,...
Say what?

Say what?

On New Year’s Day in 1994, a group of masked, armed men entered San Cristóbal de las Casas, the capital of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, and seized control of the city. Similar attacks followed in other nearby towns, plunging Chiapas into chaos. Initially caught off guard, the Mexican army eventually pushed the rebels...
Month 16

Month 16

10 October – 9 November 2014 Countries El Salvador, Guatemala & Mexico (both of us), plus Nicaragua & Honduras (just Ruth; total 16) Distance 1,404.50km (total 19,103.84km) Climb 14,647m (total 185,653m) Longest day 152.92km, Chablé to Francisco Escárcega in Mexico (longest so far: 160.11km) Top speed 64.6kmh (fastest so far: 67.4kmh) Punctures 3 (total 28;...
Dancing in the dark - Mexico's Day of the Dead

Dancing in the dark – Mexico’s Day of the Dead

Just as we’re aware of the different lives through which we pass on the road, so we’ve become sensitised to the different attitudes to death we encounter. The recent histories of many of the countries we’ve visited – and the present-day lives of a few – are punctuated by civil war, genocide, torture and plain old...
Snaps - October 2014

Snaps – October 2014

One month, five countries, 16 point-and-click snapshots. Past entries in this monthly series can be found by clicking here.     The visitors’ centre at the Masaya Volcano National Park is a joy, lined with lovely, hand-painted dioramas and displays that attempt to explain how Nicaragua’s array of volcanoes came into being. Further inside the...