Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mexico 2014: Tepoztlan

The Day We Climbed A Mountain

One of my favorite day trips from Cuernavaca is Tepoztlan.  It's a magical town (no, literally, it is one of the Pueblos Magicos of Mexico).

My idea of a perfect day in Tepoztlan is to arrive early, Hike up the mountain - enjoy the view for an hour or two, hike back down, eat as many quesadillas as I can, then peruse the market and little shops/stands, then eat ice-cream at Tepoz Nieves before heading back home.  May

be enjoy a coffee at Café Revolución. We got most of that day with the kids. There was less leisurely perusing of trinkets and lingering over coffee than I would have liked, but over all it was pretty close to my ideal day.

We started out, not early, but in the morning. Even just getting to the base of the mountain is quite a walk. Luckily, the way is lined with stands, historical buildings and gorgeous views.

At the top of the mountain is a pyramid.  Spoiler Alert: We didn't make it to the top this time, but in the past the summit has always been worth the climb.

At the beginning of the climb, it's more like climbing steps.  The rocks make a near-perfect staircase that isn't that strenuous to climb - or it wouldn't be if you were in decent shape and the altitude didn't make the air so thin.  I of course was already taking breaks on the stair part - but Leo and Aunt Fanny were taking the steps two at a time. 

This was one of the main things that Leo was looking forward to on our Mexico trip.  I'd told him about all kinds of possibilities - caves, natural water springs we could swim in, and parks with boats and ducks to feed.  He zeroed in on climbing a mountain and was SO SO SO excited that we were finally doing it.  Of course, after a few dozen stairs he got discouraged and said, "This isn't climbing a mountain.  This is just walking up steps."  I assured him that it got harder as we kept climbing.  

When we finally got to the part that was less like stairs and more like scaling rocks he loudly exclaimed, "Yeah! THIS is what I'm talking about!"  And he climbed like a little spiderman.

Zoe fell asleep pretty early in the climb (did I mention she was strapped to my back?) so she didn't get tired at  all.  I, on the other hand, needed plenty of rests and water breaks.  Leo was so sweet - he's scramble up to the next level and then cheer me on, "Good job, mom!  You can do it!  You are doing great!"  I really think that's what kept me going as long as I did.  On the way back down Zoe woke up and she joined in on the cheering.  But rather than yell, she'd pat my shoulder and say, "Good job, mama."  If I teetered a little or said "whoa!" like I was going to lose my balance she would hold each of my arms with her hands as if to steady me.  It was so sweet.  

We turned around and headed back down before reaching the summit for several reasons.  The main one being that Leo said he was ready.  I don't know why exactly, I worry that it was because I was taking breaks and he didn't want to push me to hard.  I assured him that I've made it to the top many times - all with many breaks - and if he wanted to, I could make it again today.  Still, he said he wanted to go back and eat lunch.  The other major reason I didn't push him (besides my own shortness of breath) was that we'd made a plan to meet Abi and we didn't want to be late.  Even though we didn't make it to the summit, we got plenty of great views in.

Confession - this pic is totally photoshopped
Not us or the tree, but there were like 20 other
people in it because the mountain path is super busy
on Sundays.  Now those people are covered by ferns.
Just had to get that off my chest.

Once we got to the bottom, we met up with my mother, ate enough quesadillas to feed a small country, got Tepoz Nieves ice-cream and headed home.  

Sometimes, when I dream about moving to Mexico, I imagine that I would recreate this day every week - like a version of going to church.  The physical exertion, beauty, feeling of accomplishment, hearty meal, and just being in this great town.  I don't think I'd get sick of it.

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