Apparently ‘the rules’ allow cycle tourers to use public transport (or any other means) to return from a destination if they have already pedaled one way. So we did not cheat by taking a bus back from Todos Santos to San Jose Del Cabo!
Neither of us wanted to play chicken with the heavy traffic around the Cabos and the time saved allowed us to cycle east to the tiny village of Zacatitos, which has no mains services. Situated on the Sea of Cortez, the last couple of miles, along a very sandy dirt road, was quite hard going. Unfortunately, there was no bus service to Zacatitos so we had to pedal the hilly twelve miles back to San Jose Del Cabo.
Saturday morning saw our last cycle on the Baja – eight miles to the airport for our two and a half hour flight to Mexico City. All went well as we padded and packed the bikes outside the terminal but went down hill on joining an extremely long queue to check in. As so often happens, the family two slots ahead of us were having great difficulty with their documents, seriously eating into the time to our departure. To make matters even more stressful, the airline insisted that we have our already bagged bikes wrapped in cling film. The wrapping machine, think big silage bales, did not take too kindly to bikes so this was something of a performance, ate up more time and meant that we had to go to the back of the queue again!
Anyway, we did catch the flight and a necessarily aggressive taxi driver got us through the, bumper to bumper, eight lane highway to our hotel in the city centre. Mexico city sits in a vast natural basin some 7,980 feet above sea level. With a population of 26.5 million in the greater urban area, it is the most populous city in North America. Pollution is a real problem affecting both air quality and visibility.
Spanish conquistadors took the then city of Tenochtitlán from Montezuma’s Aztecs in 1519 destroying it’s buildings and temples to use the stones to rebuild in the Spanish style. The huge central square, the Zócalo, or Plaza de la Constitución was once the heart of Aztec Tenochtitlán and is today the third largest city Square in the world. Fittingly, the mighty Cathedral, built in the late 1500s, is the largest church in Latin America and occupies one side of the square.
Excavations in 1978 uncovered artefacts that led to the discover of the Aztec city’s major temple. Some forty years on, after more modern buildings were cleared away, it is fascinating to walk through the excavated remains. The original temple dates back to 1300s and was increased seven times, roughly every 50 years, with each new temple enclosing the one below. When the Conquistadors arrived the temple measured 45 metres high. Many of the artefacts are displayed in the adjoining museum, including those used for human sacrifice.