On my trip west Air Berlin was nice enough to give me an overnight in Berlin where I was able to see Antje. On the way back, however, it was eight hours in Düsseldorf which I wasn’t really looking forward to. It turns out, however, that getting from the Düsseldorf airport to the city center is quite easy. Sitting across from me on the train into the city center were three Russians fortifying themselves with vodka at 8am. Had I known how cold and deserted the city would be at this early hour I might have asked to join them.
The real reason for my trip across the Atlantic was to help my parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. We all met in San Miguel de Allende, a city in Guanajuato that none of us except Elise had ever been to before. San Miguel de Allende isn’t big but has an incredible art scene. Its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting wealthy weekend visitors from Mexico City, and the city houses “one of the largest American communities in Mexico,” according to Wikipedia. Indeed at the Friday Art Walk in Fábrica La Aurora it seemed that most of the artists were from the US.
In spite of the rain we tried to get out climbing a couple of my weekends in Mexico City. One weekend we went nearby to Los Dínamos, a national park in steep mountains that is literally at the edge of the city, not far from Copilco. By the time we drove up there (stopping on the way for tamales and coffee of course), walked up to the damp/wet crag (there was some discussion as to whether it was mojado or simply húmedo), and climbed a pitch or two, it was raining for real. We descended for beers and a yummy lunch, making it, I guess, a successful day.
A weekend or two later, however, we lucked out with the weather. Or rather we drove far enough north of the city to get away from the storms. We started on the way to Aculco but en route decided to drive even farther to Bernal (Querétaro).
Bernal is one of the popular Pueblos Mágicos. It’s cute enough to walk around, but the attraction for climbers is La Peña de Bernal, one of the tallest monoliths in the world. Wikipedia claimed it was the world’s tallest monolith until I corrected the entry (!); it seems like both Gibraltar and Pão de Açúcar in Rio are taller monoliths. Isaac, Bigotes (Sergio), Fernanda, Ayex, and I climbed it in four pitches. The first belay was hanging which makes one feel like a real climber once in a while.
Unfortunately it takes too long to get out of Mexico City for a bike ride in the mountains or forests, but every Sunday there’s a ciclovía. One Sunday a month they do a significantly longer route. When Nashelly and I went, it was the short version which meant that Reforma was closed to motor vehicles from the south end of Guadalupe (the main pilgrim route to La Basílica) to Pereférico Norte at the south end Bosque de Chapultepec. It’s not a huge distance, but I think we spent five or six hours riding there and back.
In Mexico an Indian nut is a cashew. In Turkey an Indian nut is a coconut. In English turkey is both a bird and a country. That same bird in Turkish also means India. If you feel cheated by wasting your time reading this drivel, you should stop now.
In Germany earlier this week I used two of the three sentences I know in German: “ich sprechen kein deutsch” and “ein bier bitte”. Even though it wasn’t even noon yet, I used the latter sentence twice.
Maybe you’ve figured out by now: I’ve been hopping back and forth across the Atlantic again. I had a direct flight from Antalya to Berlin where I spent a wonderful evening with Antje at the Greek restaurant near her house.
Via a three hour stop in Miami I was next in Mexico City where I spent about three weeks with Isaac. We never ate Greek food, but we enjoyed heaps of tacos and even had an evening of white cheese and rakı to show him how the Turks imbibe.