Tag Archives: america

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Niagara Falls, June 2014

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I took an opportunity to travel to Niagara Falls when I was at the conference in the middle of Pennsylvania. I don’t regret… for the first time in my life I saw such an amount of water demonstrating it’s force. … Continue reading

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Mexico, June 2013

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I’d call my trip to Mexico as a ‘business trip’, since I went for collaboration at UNAM in Mexico city. Apart from that, I managed to sneak in two great trips, one to Teotihuacan and one to Nevado de Toluca, … Continue reading

Hiking Nevado de Toluca

So when I was planning the trip to Mexico, I knew I had three free days by the end of my stay. I wanted to do some hiking, but Mexico suffers from one thing – everything is far away. There are two hiking options just outside Mexico city though – Itzaccihuatl, also offered on Tuesdays by some travel company and Nevado de Toluca. While Itza cannot be hiked all the way up, since it’s snow covered and you need equipment and preferably more than two days, Nevado de Toluca can be hiked in one day. But there’s a lot to take into account.

First of all, the weather changes drastically over the day. While morning is amazingly blue sky, in the afternoon, the clouds come and fill the caldera and it rains. So the earliest you leave from Mexico city, the better. Apparently what one can do is go by bus to Toluca and then take a taxi up there. I was the lucky person who didn’t have to do any of there, so I simply won’t comment on how doable/expensive it is. But bear in mind, from Toluca, it takes a lots of time, since the road up to the mountain is everything but in a good condition.

The entrance to the park, according to Lonely planet, is 20 pesos per vehicle, apparently they started to charge per person. Lonely planet also suggest there’s a camping ground in the national park, I suppose they mentioned the place close to the entrance to the park. From there, it’d take still quite a long time to hike up. Another option is sleeping directly at the spot by the end of the road. We took this option, sleeping in the car… it’s 100 pesos per night and be aware of the fact that you’re some 4.2 km above the sea level, in another words, it get’s chilly .. actually it get’s below freezing, so really good sleeping bag of heating in the car are in order. They have very basic bathrooms available there (no showers, only sink&toilet).

Hiking up in the morning is a good idea. You can either try to go around the whole caldera (takes a loooot of time, not because of distance, but because it’s essentially climbing on rocks once you reach the rim) or you can reach any of two peaks. If you take the path going to the right, when you face the lakes, you’ll get to slightly smaller Pico del Aquila (4,640 m), if you go around the Laguna de la Luna, to the left, you’ll go up Pico de Fraile (4,680 m). We took the right path, since we weren’t sure which way is doable and there was some group on the path on the right. It doesn’t take long to reach the top, but prepare for sliding sandy surface and rocks and non-negligible altitude. And it’s probably not good for people with strong vertigo.

The clouds started to come early in the afternoon, so we decided to go down the same path as we climbed up. It’s perfectly doable. So all in all, as one day trip, this would be a killer, with overnight, it was a very nice trip.

Nevado de Toluca

My first Mexican impressions

Okay, I don’t want to write about how you should walk around in Coyoacan in the evening or visit Teotihuacan. I just want to express my first  impressions of Mexico city and those little things that made me stop and think for a moment.

First thing you realize: the place is crowded. Let’s put it this way, my whole life, I was living in cities with less than 1,000,000 inhabitants… my country of origin has 10 milion people and here? There’s almost thrice as much on an area comparable to Tenerife. That’s a huge crowd. It’s actually little bit scary. Especially the area around Museo de la bellas artes and Zocalo. Geez, so many people everywhere. It feels overwhelming. On the other hand, I’m staying in Coyoacan, really nice residential area which feels surprisingly safe. There is not that many people and they just hang around, sit on the benches and enjoy living.

With a lot of people comes the need to transport them. I admit, I didn’t get the buses, meaning the local ones, the big ones going outside of the city are pretty obvious. Metro, or underground if you want, seems to be pretty convenient way of transportation here. It can get awfully crowded (really like the human equivalent of sardines can), but it’s nicely cheap (3 pesos… which is like 20 cents, and with that you can cross the whole city if you have the time :D). One peculiar thing about the metro are the sellers . They sell everything from sweets to USB sticks. Usually up to 10 pesos. The best ones are with huge speakers, playing some kind of music and selling the CDs. The sellers get on the train at one stop and get out on the following one.  It’s quite fun to observe the stuff they sell.

Quite unusual for me is the way to get food. Supermarkets are simply not that common here, therefore you just buy water and drinks on the street and other stuff somewhere on the market. It seemed strange to me at first, but one can easily get used to it. The other thing is just getting lunch on the street. I guess there might be certain health risk, but if I’ve survived India, I can survive this. Tacos or quesadillas cost like 15 pesos (1 euro) and one is good enough for me as a lunch. And it’s sinfully good.

Well… more to come, stay tuned and enjoy my picture of Pyramide del Sol in Teotihuacan, just before the rain started…

Pyramide del Sol

 

 

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Joshua Tree, California, January 2013

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Conferences are great. Especially those which are held near amazing places like Joshua Tree National Park in California. The pictures are result on couple of hours spent in Joshua Tree. I wish we had more time, since the place was … Continue reading

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State College, Pennsylvania, November 2010

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Few pictures from my ‘short academic stay’ at Penn State University in State College. I was busy all the time so there are not many of them. Though one sunny afternoon I just picked my camera and went through the … Continue reading

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California, August 2009

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Second time I’ve crossed the ocean and I got to spend one mont in California – four weeks in San Francisco and one week in Pasadena. As one song says, I left my heart in San Francisco. And I agree … Continue reading

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Acapulco, México, September 2005

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First time I’ve crossed the ocean. Long beaches in Acapulco, mayan pyramids in Teotichuacan and the real tropical heat. It was wonderful journey and I wish I had way more time to actually explore the whole country. Ten days of … Continue reading