Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Meanderings in Tepotzlán, Toluca and Valle de Bravo

The pyramid is up there somewhere!
How lucky we are with an extra week in our lives to visit places around CDMX (Ciudad de Mexico or Mexico City). A one hour bus ride from the city brings us to this valley surrounded by mountains called Tepotzlán, a pueblo mágico. Somehow we managed to get 3 days of rain so missed the important pyramid above the town called El Tepozteco. We never even saw it from below as the mountains were covered in clouds most of the time.

This didn't stop us from enjoying walking around, having a decaf coffee here and there and favorite pastime was eating delicious vegan food in the stalls of the Mercado. We found several prehispanic vendors with a variety of options so that we had to go back each of our three days. Seems to be our street food week as we also found a vegan taco stand in Mexico City called Por Siempre Vegan Taqueria. Surely a place we will return to. We are making up for the many outdoor markets and stalls we have ignored in our 8+ years of Mexico travel, always passing them for not having items we would like.

This town was hit very hard by the earthquake in Sept, 2017 damaging the large church as well as many buildings in town. We visited the Ex-convento and the exhibit about the earthquake as well as a museum collection of prehispanic artifacts from the area.
Here is Richard reporting....
Toluca, just two hours outside of Mexico City, was described to me as semi-modern and so it is. It is the capital of the state of Mexico and seems to have a thriving population. We met our dear friends there from San Miguel, Tomy and Maria Elena and our main reason to go was to visit Cosmovitral a place of great wonder and beauty. The incredible building was once a marketplace and now is covered with huge panels of stained glass telling the story of creation and the ongoing battle where good wins over evil. Inside the walls are gardens and each one is a jewel. It is a place I recommend as a once in a lifetime visit.

Maria Elena and Luz
Our friends have a cousin Luz living in Toluca who wanted to enhance our time, which she did to our  great appreciation. The first night she prepared a feast for us travelers made with her loving hands and catering to our individual dietary specialities. Together with the rest of her family we had a time to catch up and hear many stories of the cousins and their lives growing up in San Miguel. As no one spoke English, it was a chance to see how our Spanish comprehension has improved over the years. 
A view of Nevado de Toluca
from San Andres

The following day she took us all to see a view of Nevado de Toluca, a volcano covered in snow which we saw from the small village of San Andres. In my youth I would have liked to climb it but now it is a mountain to admire. Then we traveled to a another "Pueblo Magico" called Metepec where we climbed up the  
stairs  to visit the church with a great view of the town below. We shared a delicious meal in town and we headed back to Toluca to say goodbye to our new friend Luz.  
overlooking Metepec
An important memory for all of us was our morning coffee in a little cafe called Huitzi Café which in Nahuatl (indigenous language) means colibri or hummingbird. We were entertained each morning by great music of the 60's. We are grateful to have M E and Tomy as our travel companions and look forward to our next trip.

Valle de Bravo
Our balcony in V de B
And now the very last leg of this trip before we go off technology for the next 10 days. We are in another Pueblo Magico - Valle de Bravo on the shores of a very large man made lake. Having only two nights before our 10 day Vipassana silent retreat, we are enthralled with this very beautiful town with much more to see and do than our two days will provide. Another place to return to (only 2 hours from CDMX). 

Once again we follow our usual search for the best vegan food and found it once again at a small spot run by two lovely ladies - Maria and Elina. They have only been here for one month so if your travels bring you to V de B, please visit them.
Today we went to Bridal Falls for a walk in the woods with the sound of waterfalls surrounding us. We took care of a few errands as we will not have the opportunity to do any extra "stuff" during the next days. FYI, we will be in separate quarters with no eye contact, nor communication with each other nor you....our friends and family. I will write my thoughts and comments on this experience later this month.  
At Bridal Falls

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