Rainy day in Mexico.

It was raining when I woke up this morning, so I decided to take the bus to Toluca, where there’s a small botanical garden in the city center. I thought it would be an hour-long bus ride, but it turned out to be two hours with many stops. I’m not sure how you are supposed to find these bus stops–as I watched out the window, the bus would pull over to a person standing on the side of the road–no bus stop sign, no bench, no nothing! I was imagining the directions to these bus stops to be something like: walk down the road past the cows in the pasture, past three green trees, and wait for the bus to Toluca next to the second largest maguey plant on the right. Ha! …good luck with that one, gringos! …I’m sticking to the official bus stations…

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66 pesos for a two-hour bus ride to Toluca ($3.85 USD).

I took a taxi from the bus station in Toluca to the botanical gardens to find out that the gardens are under renovation. There was a giant, 15-foot tall fence around the whole building, so I couldn’t even peek inside through the windows. So, my garden mission turned into a sight-seeing mission.

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The Zócalo was pretty empty. It seemed like shopping at the huge mall across the street was a much more popular activity.

I wandered the Zócalo (main square in the historical district), peeked into a few of the beautiful churches, found some good coffee, ate some super greasy cinnamon and sugar churros from a street vendor, had some papas fritas (potato chips) with hot sauce and lime juice from a vendor in the main square, and crossed my fingers that he’d washed his hands sometime in the last day or so.

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Beautiful wooden doors on the Templo del Carmen.

The detail and beauty of the Catholic churches here is amazing! There are six churches/temples in about as many blocks in the historical center of Toluca. There’s an official ‘Ruta de La Fe’ (Route of Faith) you can follow if you want to see them all.

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Inside of the Templo del Carmen, with a few extra holiday decorations.

 

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Iglesia de Santa María de Guadalupe, another church on the Route of Faith.

I gave myself an hour to walk the three miles back to the bus station. I got about halfway there and realized I needed the bus station that would take me back to Valle, not necessarily the one that Google maps picked out for me. Oops. I made my bus with about one second to spare!

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Flower market on my walk back to the bus station.

The bus got me back to Valle right as the sun was setting. I’m glad I made the trip to Toluca, but it was certainly nice to be back in Valle where things are a little more familiar!

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Goodnight Mexico!
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