Weekend @Cuatrociénegas, Coahuila

DSC_0697

Cuatrociénegas is a small pueblo located about 3h30min northwest from my city, Monterrey. It is one of the main tourist attractions of the state of Coahuila, this because of the gypsum dunes (Dunas de Yeso) and the blue pool (Poza Azul).

Hannah and me arrived at around 2 in the afternoon and stopped by the plaza to eat something. There’s a pretty church from the 1800s (Iglesia de San José) which supposedly was built with calcareous structures from stromatolites, the rock-like microbe formed structures that helped raise the amount of oxygen in the Earth billions of years ago.

Then, we started asking people if they knew where could we camp and we found the Venustiano Carranza museum. It is the house where this former mexican president was born, he was one of the main leaders of the Mexican Revolution and one of the creators of the current constitution of Mexico (Constitución de 1917). There, a lady gave us a brochure and told us that the only place where we could camp at was “La Maquinita”, which happens to be a mill turned into a hostel.

Already knowing where we were going to sleep, we headed to the main attractions. First, the Poza Azul. We were super excited but when we arrived we found a lot of tourists around it taking selfies, drinking beer and though the colors are really impressive it was impossible to enjoy. So… we decided to go to the dunes, but when we arrived the dudes at the entrance told us they were already closing and we could only be there for around 15min (they close at 17:00). We left and since the place where you can swim (Río Los Mezquites) was closing in an hour too, we went to visit the town, asked where we could enjoy the sunset and finally found the tourist information center.

We decided to go to Bodegas Ferriño but you couldn’t visit, just buy (yes, I know, we weren’t that lucky up to that point). After buying grapes and taking 2 pomegranates from a tree we found “La Máquina”. You can camp for 100MXN and you have access to bathroom, showers, a tiny pool, grillers and tons of space for you to decide where to set up your tent. We did and then walked to the nearest mountain through the cactuses to have a better view of the “Cerro del Muerto” for the sunset.

 

 

The next day we finally had time to visit the dunes. This special dunes are part of the Chihuahuan Desert, and another similar landscape can be found in New Mexico (White Sands National Monument). We got there at a somewhat good time before it was full of tourists too and finished our Cuatrociénegas experience swimming at Río Los Mezquites, where you don’t feel at all the heat.

 

 

P.S. We saw no turtles.

Belated 2014 Post #4

DSC_6851

Berlin, Deutschland – September 1 to 6, 2014

 

The plane landed at around 22:30h (15 minutes before what the ticket stated). It felt weird and great not having to wait to claim a suitcase (first time backpacking). As usual, I thought I knew how to get to Anna’s (my first couchsurfing host and the first polish girl I met!). I took a bus to the closest S-Bahn station and got off at the station that Anna told me, then I looked for the reference point she gave me (which was a yellow building) and started walking towards it. Since I felt I was mistaken, I stopped a hippie looking cyclist by yelling “Entschuldigen Sie! Quitzowstraße?”. He showed me the way (which was going down a staircase in the side of the yellow building), and I kept going as I thought “Fuck yeah, german classes paying off”.

After a 5 minute walk I arrived to the building, I rang the doorbell where I read Anna’s last name and when I heard a voice I just said “Anna?”, she immediately came down to open the door. We went up, left my things where Anna told me and joined her and her friends in the kitchen. There was Anna, Joanna (a roomie), Nuno (Joanna’s boyfriend) and Anna #2 (a friend that was visiting Berlin for the first time too). Anna offered me a beer and some biscuits Anna #2 had brought all the way from Poland. I was super hungry so I said yes to everything. She then noticed that, so she gave me some pasta to dine. A really warm welcome with cool people, nice conversation, a polish lesson and Soplica Hazelnut vodka shots!

 

IMG_3048

 

Places/experiences lived in Berlin:

 

 

The last night before Anna had to work (night shift), we wanted to go to a bar in east Berlin. Joanna lend me her public transport pass and before trying to get in the bar, we sat on a bench next to it to finish the beer we picked up on the way. When we wanted to get in they told us they were already closing (?!). We decided to go to another one closer to where the Badeschiff is and we bought more beer and a Mars (my first Mars bar ever!) for the walking. We waited outside again to finish our beers but at the end we didn’t even try to enter the bar, we stayed outside chatting. Later, Anna said something that really made me laugh: “We’re such losers”.

 

Also, one day I wanted to use Joanna’s bike and since the wheels needed some air I tried to inflate them but it didn’t work. I just finished to deflate the tires and parked back the bike. Sorry Joanna.

 

IMG_3051
“Ich bin ein Berliner”.

P.S. ¡Thank you very very much Anna!


 

Belated 2014 Post #3

 

IMG_2928
T4: I loved the concrete and yellow steel structure with its bamboo covered roof (it’s a Kalzip sandwich panel roofing system, bamboo slats in the interior and aluminum on the exterior).

 

Madrid, España – September 1, 2014 (Super express stop)

 

The flight from Istanbul to Madrid was also with Turkish Airlines, but this plane was a bit older, uncomfortable, and the movies were in turkish (and I didn’t succeed at loading english subtitles). When I checked-in they changed my seat to one in a row which I thought was the A (the dude at the desk wrote something that looked exactly like this: Δ), but when I sat an annoying turkish lady tells me that I’m on her seat, to which I replied they had changed my seat and I showed her the ticket. “It’s the #D!” she exclaimed, as if it was super obvious (no, annoying lady, it’s not fucking common for me to use greek letters and use delta instead of a normal D).

Already in Madrid, I kind of knew how to get to Diana’s apartment (hello and thanks Rocío!). I went out of the terminal in which I was and got to the T4 on a free bus. There I asked where to take the Renfe, bought the ticket and got on the train. I looked for a place with Wi-Fi and ended up buying a tiny 5,5€ fruit salad (which at least was good) in a Holiday Inn. I messaged Diana and she quickly picked me up. In her apartment I met her cute little cat Mika (who thought my suitcase and backpack were toys) and her boyfriend Jorge. I only had time to eat and drink something, take a shower and decide what I would carry in my backpack for the next 2 weeks (Diana was super kind to take care of a friend’s brother’s friend suitcase).

I ran out of her apartment, got on the Renfe again and arrived to the airport 30 minutes before the departure. I thought I would lose the flight but still I managed to print the ticket, charge my phone in the bathroom (there was no other place) and be on time in front of the gate. I flew to Berlin with Iberia Express and for what I paid, I think it’s a really good low-cost option.

 

P.S. Thank you for everything Diana!

 

 

Hiking Chipinque up to the “M”

 

Yesterday we hiked Chipinque up to the point known as the “M” (which I think should be called the “W”). This point is around the 2,000m above sea level, the only (untrusted) source I found says it’s 2,030m asl.

To do this you have to send a climbing request to Parque Ecológico Chipinque (parquechipinque@chipinque.org.mx). First you ask for the request format, then you fill it and send it back. I recommend you call if they don’t reply. The day of your request you have to pay 50MXN per person and 100MXN for parking.

On average we carried 3L of water per person and some food (I was fine with a ham sandwich, a peanut butter sandwich and a banana). No one had gloves but some would’ve been useful. We started around 8:30 and descended around 14:30. A great experience, amazing views and an enjoyable company.

The team: Gago, Eva, Iker, Ferrara & me.

Weekend @El Jagüey de Ferniza

DSC_0663

On the occasion of Lolo leaving Saltillo (she’s moving to Monterrey), we visited this place 35km south from Saltillo, still in the state of Coahuila.

Besides the beautiful landscape, the relaxed atmosphere and the joy of not being in the city, there’s another special thing about this place: they preserve the american bison. Supposedly 2 brothers brought some bisons from the US in the 70s, and the species has survived until now. Of course they live in a private subdivided land where not everyone has access.

Zio

A lovely and relaxing weekend with lovely people in a lovely hut.