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The trip from San Miguel to Queretaro is, in principal, an easy afternoon’s ride and I set off around midday, taking a quiet paved road to Jalpa, an almost non-existent village, with a nonetheless extremely impressive church.

Jalpa: on route to Queretaro.

On the other side of Jalpa, the road turns to cobbles – visually charming but extremely wearing for cyclists – for an extended climb.

Cobbles always make a climb seem twice as long.

Full of charm but extremely wearying to negotiate on a bike.

After a tranquil few hours riding, I suddenly discover yet again that major road works are clearly high on the Mexican government’s current agenda. Where I expect to be traveling on quiet unpaved back-roads I find myself thwarted by a relentless development push. As I near Queretaro, an industrial city of one and half million people, I start to be sucked relentlessly onto a gigantic new ring road that circles the town. The pull is almost irresistible but I do, in fact, resist and after asking enough people I am finally directed onto a dirt road that meanders through some fields and into the industrial outskirts of Queretaro where there is no escaping the traffic and I have to ride clear through the city to its far edge.

In Queretaro, I stay with Meara, who I contacted through Couch Surfing. Meara is a young Canadian who has moved to Mexico and makes her living creating replica dinosuar artifacts. It’s not my place to tell Meara’s story here but she is one of the more impressive people that I have met in a long time and I am very glad to have met her.

Dinosaurs in Queretaro.

A swarm of trilobytes.

A trilobyte in the making.

I spend Friday morning addressing the ludicrously bureaucratic process of acquiring the maps from the Secretaria de Transportes y Comunicaciones that will make the next leg of my journey possible, before chilling out in a lively plaza in the old town centre. Later, I meet Meara for a relaxed and companionable evening.

A busy plaza in the old part of town.

On Sunday, after an extended mega breakfast that stretches well into the afternoon, I set off well-rested and well-prepared for my next quest, which is to see the Monarch butterflies in the mountains on the border between the states of Michaocan and Mexico.

Shopping for breakfast supplies, I discover that Meara's local fruit shop has one of the most amazing displays I have ever seen.

Food is beautiful...

...and the guy who does this is an inspired artist - it is hard to attract his attention for long enough to purchase the wares.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Kat | March 9, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Happy (slightly belated) birthday Anna

  2. Daniel | March 10, 2010 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I never know your birthday. Now I do. Happy birthday. Visit Guanajuato if you haven’t passed it already.

    lots of love

  3. Francesca Coles | March 12, 2010 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    Hi Anna,

    Sorry I haven’t commented before on your blog, but I have been following your adventures with interest. It all seems like an incredible dream from my inner-city Melbourne, family-rearing perspective. As one who also loves cycling, I can so imagine the sense of freedom you must have and the rewards of meeting people on the way. You write vividly and your photos are wonderful. There would be real potential to turn your account into a book one day. I hope your journey through Mexico is progressing well.

    I have a friend in Mexico City, who I’m sure would be interested in meeting you if you head that way. She’s a bright and lively expat Aussie with an interest in social justice issues, women’s rights, writing, editing and cycling. I used to work with her at Lonely Planet. I can pass on her email address, if you’d like.


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