Campeche to Villahermosa


One of the reasons I love travel, which these trips bring to the fore, is the impromptu meeting of fellow travellers who cross your path. Two such meetings occured while enjoying a well deserved two day break in the beautiful colonial city of Campeche on the Gulf of Mexico. Noel, a solo traveller from Derby was on a four week trip travelling around Southern Mexico. We had a lovely evening with him soaking up the sights and sounds in the main town Plaza while enjoying a late evening beer. He was one of these enviable people who has a photographic memory for all sorts of facts and proved to be a mine of information.

Travelling by bike affords you the luxury of seeing things up close and personal. Some road side highlghts from Campeche to Villahermosa included fishermen mending their nets by the roadside, jade coloured sea, historic archaeological sites and Mayan roadside settlements, a man sewing his football boots on the side of the road, mexicans swinging in their hammocks in their mudhuts, 19th-century haciendas, superb natural reserves with great white egrets and pelicans and numerous rancheros.

And so having cycled more than 800km, we arrive tired and hungry in Villahermosa but are happy to have reached our destination. We were pre warned about the confusing signage in this city, not thinking it could be as confusing as it proved to be! To sum up, if the sign says go left, go right! Cycling into the city certainly required full concentration – you not only had to watch out for the crazy traffic but also the unseemingly large potholes that could tear a wheel off a bike and a new challenge which we had not come across before – metal grates that could dislocate everything associated with your bicycle including us! Martin went into one and tried to warn me but was too late, back wheel of my bike followed suit, much to the bemusement of the locals who helped me dislodge it. Villahermosa is a hot, crowded, chaotic, curious city with sign posts that send you anywhere but in the right direction. The two city highlights for us were the municipal market and the Parque la Venta. The market is a sight to behold – we didn’t know where to turn first. The market traders displayed strung up chickens, an array of herbs and spices and statues of the Virgin Mary.

The Parque La Venta is a unique city centre jungle park type museum with spider monkeys, colorful parrots as well as the mysterious mega-ton carved stone Olmec heads thousands of years old. Thanks to Brian, we knew who the Olmecs were!

Yet again here I am perched in a cafe listening to a mexicana playing on his Spanish guitar .. and so the next part of our journey takes us from Villahermosa to San Cristobel de las Casas high up in The Chiapas region. It will be a challenging but fun ride into mountainous terrain which we are both excited about … stay tuned.

What we have learned about Mexico, the Mexicans and anything else so far …

They are addicted to soaps and the TV is the focal point of many a Mexican home

Noise is important to them and they all seem to be competing to break through the decibel limit

Mexico is all about food

Spotted about 10 shack type cocktail bars on the side of the road despite signs not to drink and drive

They seem to say ‘Mande’ a lot if they don’t understand, still not sure what it means

If you don’t like tacos or you are a vegetraian, than you will starve here

If you are stuck for accommodation, seek out the Padre and he will fix you up

Potatos orginated from …. not Ireland .. but Peru

Tomatoes originated in Mexico

Although chocolate originated in Mexico (The Mayans and Aztecs mixed ground cacao, or kah-kow seeds with seasonings to make a spicy, drink called chocolatl. It was rather bitter however, so the Spaniard conquistadors added sugar), we struggle to find chocolate in regular shops! 

Post offices in Mexico test your patience 

People keep thinking we are from Holland – Hollanda v Irlanda .. they sound similar!  

Mexican drivers are very courteous and the roads are perfect for cycling



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