Road Trip: Mexico City to Merida

Road Trip

Well, we survived. It took two days, of 12 and 15 hour days respectively, to travel the 1,500KM from Mexico City to Merida, but we did it without incident. Most of the journey was a 130KMH blur from the cramped backseat for me, but there were still some highlights to share.

The trip started at 830AM on Tuesday and after we fuelled up the car with cheap Mexican gasoline, we spent the next two hours doing our best to avoid Mexico City rush-hour traffic. We weaved through side streets, criss-crossed through neighbourhoods, pulled a few u-turns and darted down alleys to find the holes we needed to escape the city and not get bogged down in the morning-traffic quagmire. And by 11AM we had hit the open freeway where nothing but Valentina’s hunger could slow us down, which it did…

Not long after we escaped the city, we pulled over at one of the usual, non-descript freeway-side restaurants for a late breakfast. Chicharron with salsa verde and frijoles for me and The Roger, and mole enchiladas for Valentina.

Road Trip Chicharron

It was far tastier than it looked.

Road Trip Mole

Nothing like a big plate o spicy, chocolaty-ness for breakfast

From breakfast we made a slight detour to Veracruz, which is famous for its coffee, for, well, a little coffee. And of course we did not just go to any little café, we went to the café in Veracruz: Gran Café del Portal. Located in the heart of Veracruz’s historical centre, this café has been around since 1889 and was filled with that old-time charm, complete with waiters in bowties and white jackets. Now, neither Valentina nor I are coffee drinkers in any form, but the coffee at this place was amazing. It was the best we have ever had. We ordered the house, and region, speciality, Café Lechero, which was roughly three fingers worth of coffee, served in a regular, tall water glass and then topped off by a waiter with warm whole milk from a kettle. But of course, the milk was not just simply poured in; it was epically poured from about three feet above the glass and all with zero splash back.

Road Trip Coffee

An expert pour if I had ever saw one

After the coffee break, we stretched our legs a bit checking out the central plaza and did a quick driving tour along Veracruz’s seawall through the harbour. From Veracruz, the rest of day one was uneventful, as driving along dark highways in the rain tend to be, and we reached Coatzacoalcos, a smaller, industrial town and the rough mid-way point of our journey, at around 930PM and called it a day.

Day two started off at 10AM with breakfast, a sort of Mexican-style, quasi eggs benedict, which is basically a fried egg atop a tortilla. Following breakfast, day two started similar to day one, as we spent the first couple of hours unable to escape Coatzacoalcos as two of the main roads were closed due to a mix of construction and flooding caused by the rains the day before. But, after we dashed about the city a couple times, we were able to find an open road and after a bit of backtracking we were back on track.

And much like day one again, day two was a relatively uneventful 130KMH blur from the back seat, but instead of mountains and fields out my window, the drive between Coatzacoalcos and Merida was just a wall of jungle on either side of the highway. It was nevertheless quite pretty; just not conducive to picture taking.

Road Trip Jungle

Welcome to the jungle!

Oh yeah, we did get stuck in construction a few hours out from Coatzacoalcos, which took us four hours to crawl 6KMs. During which, we stopped at a gas station for a classic road-trip lunch of potato chips, candy and soda. Beyond that however, it was smooth driving along the well-maintained highways, which turned into well-maintained freeways once we hit the state of Yucatan.

We eventually rolled into Merida at about 230AM, to a pleasant, mid-December temperature of 24oC, so of course we had the A/C running… And thus ended the great Mexican road trip.



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