Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Haselünne, Germany.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? South towards Dulmen, Germany.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Surprise trip to Toluca

Just getting caught up on the daily blog posts because... there wasn't one yesterday. Not often that we miss a day, but there was just too much going on. So if you missed yesterday's post about our paragliding fun, you can read all about it here...


We got up on Saturday morning with plans to go to the top of the Toluca Volcano. Ruth and I had been there in 2013 and we figured this would be a fun excursion for the group.

Our driver Cesar showed up right on schedule at 9:00am. We headed through Valle de Bravo and up the other side to wards the volcano.

Valle de Bravo is at 5,300' altitude... the upper parking lot of the volcano is at 13,600' altitude! The top of the volcano is at 15,300'.

It was an uneventful drive until we got close to the lower parking lot. We were on a rough dirt road and there had been some vehicles in front of us. We figured it was just an odd coincidence, but then traffic came to a complete standstill.

I got out and walked up ahead.

Traffic stopped and I walked ahead. 
Nice blue sky and view of the volcano.

When Ruth and I were here in 2013, there was nobody around. We drove to the upper parking area in the little blue car and there were maybe five or six other cars up there. But this time, it was a zoo. The lower parking lot was full, including 20 or 25 tour buses and now they shuttle you the 10 kms (6.2 miles) to the upper parking area in the back of pickup trucks. 

Not at all what we had in mind for the group. Yes, it was a Saturday... and Sunday would have been even busier. But we had no idea it would be even close to this busy. What a circus.

So we made a corporate decision and turned around before reaching the lower parking area. 

We decided to take them into the city of Toluca (pop 650,000). Out of the 11 people, Ruth and I were the only ones that had ever been there, so at least it would be something new for them. Not many international tourists ever visit Toluca, preferring instead of course the nearby Mexico City.

So, another 40 minutes or so of driving and we arrived in el centro.

Pretty church in downtown Toluca.

We found a spot for lunch at the Restaurante Napoles.

Although it had a kind of a fast food atmosphere, the food was really good!

One of Toluca's central attractions is the Cosmovitral Botanical Garden. 

The building was originally Toluca's central market, built in 1909, but it was closed as a market in 1975. Years went by before they finally decided what to do with it. But Leopoldo Flores successfully lobbied to make the buildings huge windows and ceiling into a space for stained glass art. It was also decided to convert the floorspace into a botanical garden. 

Entrance costs 10 pesos ($0.70 CAD, $0.53 USD).

The entrance piece. 

Kevin, Ruth, Garth, Roger, Mona, Sue, Roy, Jim, Denise, Aron, Owenita.
(Bob, Larry, and Martha had stayed back in Valle de Bravo for the day).

The botanical garden contains over 500 plant species.

It is a popular place for quinceañera and wedding photos.

The cactus garden.

The elephant foot tree.

A fifteen year old girl enjoying her quinceañera.

The cathedral.

Big Mexico flag in the central plaza.

Pretty church with colorful houses in the background.

Los Portales de Toluca.

It was a short visit, but we think everybody enjoyed a few hours in Toluca. It's a clean small city, with enough to keep you busy for a few days. 

On our way back, we stopped at the mechanic shop to pick up Garth's rig. It had been in having the oil cooler changed. A job that probably would have cost well over $500 in the U.S. cost him only 1,800 pesos ($125 CAD, $96 USD). Hopefully that is the end of the mechanical problems for a while!

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And in Canada...


  1. What a lovely city! Beautiful buildings and I love that botanical garden with the stained glass art and well designed gardens! Would love to visit that place for sure!

    1. It is a very pretty city, I have a hard time trying to figure out why more people don't visit this city. We loved the Cosmovitral (the botanical garden), even with it being our second time seeing it. The plants and the stained glass are fantastic to see.

  2. What a feast for the eyes. Thank you.

  3. The glass in the building is just amazing. Seems the Mexican people take great pride in their cities. From everything I see through your eyes of Mexico, I wonder why they want to come here.

    1. Yes, the stained glass is so beautiful to see. The Mexicans do take pride of their cities and their country they just have a different culture to in some ways compared to Canada and the US.

      In reality the amount of Mexicans that go to the States is small in comparison to the total population of Mexico. Those that go, go because the money is so much better. For the most part the ones that go, make money and send it home to their families and to save it so that they can build a good home back in Mexico and then later return to live out the rest of their lives knowing they have all that they need to live a happy and comfortable life here. We are learning that if the majority of Mexicans were to get a good education here in Mexico they could get good jobs and not have to go to the States but many unfortunately many don't stay in school to get that education.

  4. Wow, that botanical garden and the stained glass are amazing!

    1. They sure are! It is so beautiful, we love what they have done to the old market building. :-)

  5. What a beautiful little city! Looks like you had perfect weather as well. Love the pretty girl in her HUGE dress, so proud!

    1. It is a beautiful city and it is a shame that they don't get more visitors there. It was very clean and friendly with gorgeous old buildings and churches.

      She was so happy and when they were taking pictures of her in amongst the gardens she looked even more beautiful. :-)


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