because of the height of our rig (12,5 feet ) we hadn´t fit through the arch of the hotel “hazienda xico inn” (operated by a german-mexican couple) but it was great on the parking lot in front and if you arrive by end oktober, you can celebrate the octoberfest. Michael has supported us with many things, and even has organized a mechanic, who searched for a fault in our cooling system late evening . We left the place with the fridge filled up with „bratwurst“ done by a special butcher in puebla.
The small town of xico looks as if it had participated in the competition “our village should become more beautiful”. (ist a popular competition in germany) Everywhere cobblestones, tiny little shops, nice and relaxed people. The Mexicans seem shy and reserved, but every greeting is answered with a broad smile and “¿holá, que tal?”.
The hacienda “san bartolo” in xico has a nice campground also, but the driveway for larger vehicles is not so easy. There is a great view – free of charge – towards the snow covered “pico de orizaba” 18400 feet (the highest mountain in mexico, but still about 50 miles away).
Close by papantla lies the probable capital of the totonakes. Ah, that was completely unknown to us. We were very impressed when we entered the ruin site early in the morning. There were numerous pyramids standing close to each other, some had been cleared and others still hidden in the jungle. Wow, what an impression. In 2nd century b.c. the totonakes began to construct the site and in the year 1000 a.c. they left the city and the reason remains unknown.
Apart from the numerous pyramids, there are lots of ball game places and at of these game areas you can find a relief, showing the sacrifice of one of the players. Game over. Although it is not even known whether the victor or the loser got killed, but it is proofed that ritual sacrifice was considered a great honor.
cave of swallows
It is better to be on a rope whlie approaching the abyss of cave of swallows. The diameter on top is just 50 m, but the bell-shaped cave broadens to 150 m at the bottom. The safety line has more symbolic charkater and you should hope that the rock is solid. The depth oft he cave is 1100 feet until the first level and falls towards 1680feet to the bottom. It is called cave of the swallows, because the indigenous sailors pounce themselves by the thousands to the their sleeping places at night times.
Topes, these are the méxican speedbumps. Not “tope” that is singular and this would be senseless. “Topes” they are called and that has its reason. They always come in pairs. Before and after each crossing, – even at traffic lights, – before and after any possibility, where pedestrians could cross, before and after each bus stop. Several times before each entry into the city and, of course, several times at the exit. They occur in the city every 300feet at the latest and certainly also in between. We speak here of méxican styled topes, with non-consideration it lifts off your car and / or the axes are missing.
Topes, the thrill for the acceleration between.
After the heavy rainfall of the last days, the waterfall of tamul should deliver impressive amount of water. There is a possibility to get to the base of the waterfall by canoes, but the currents were too dangerous, all the canoes were moored on the shore. Carlos Jesus, a friendly mexican guy, offered us a lift to the falls, together with his friends. As he told, the way tot he falls was unsuitable for our big truck. After several kilometers and a strenuous hike we were there. The turquoise water falls 315 feet vertically into another, tearing and muddy colored river. Impressively.
Thanks to carlos, for that wonderful trip and day and by the way: he was right, we couldn´t have passed the path with our rig.
The eccentric multimillionaire, offspring of wealthy scottish parents, was born in 1907. He was wellknown in the english nobility and was friend with surrealist artists such as dali and magritte. In 1947 he came to méxico and wanted to create his garden eden. In the mexican rainforest, 5 km east of the locality xilitla, he bought a piece of rainforest and planted numerous orchid plants, but all of them froze in a cold period in 1962. There upon he decided to immortalize the orchids in concrete as a scupture garden. With the help of innumerable construction workers, mostly resident otomí-idians, edward james built a fantasy garden which extends arbitrarily into the jungle without a recognizable system. Out of the 36 curious buildings, only one is habitable and many are or have not been completed. The eccentric principal , nicknamed by the mexicans as “the crazy englishman”, almost poured his conplete assets in conrete. He died in 1984 and probably hasn´t been able to enjoy the freedom in his garden eden, instead he instructed the construction workers for more than 20 years. To concrete was the goal.
drive to xilitla
We drove through the sierra madre oriental mountains to the rain forest area of the gulf of mexico. In a rain forest it has to rain and so we had pouring rain the whole day. We needed almost 8 hours for just 250 km , because there were curve after curve and countless topes (more about topes in an upcoming blog contribution). the biggest challenge instead was to keep the roof windows on the roof of our atego. Soaked with rain the braches hung in the roadway …
Expression of deeply mexican religiousness is to be seen just everywhere, numerous omini-chapels fringed the way.