Early Saturday morning we all got up and got ready for the big adventure; going up the Cofre de Perote - NauhcampatÚpetl in Nahuatl - to see snow in Mexico. It would be the first time for both Alice and Esme; neither had ever seen or touched real snow. For me, being born in the Netherlands and having lived there for most of my life, snow was nothing new, but going up a very high volcano to see it was a first.
I packed my trusty Canon A640 digital photo camera and my Amod AGL3080 GPS Data Logger to record our trip in photos and coordinates. A bit later than planned, around 8:20, we left the house. While we walked down our street I could see the Cofre de Perote, and indeed there was quite some snow on it! Esme stopped a taxi and we were on our way to CAXA. From the taxi window we could now and then see glimpes of the Cofre and Alice mentioned "snow" a few times during the trip; she also was very excited.
Just before nine we arrived at CAXA. Esme bought our tickets, while I played with Alice throwing a little "ball". One of the pom-pons of her shawl had come off, and we were having quite some fun with it. Close to the departure time of the bus Esme and I became restless; where was Jilmar, her cousin. Esme had called him just after we had arrived at CAXA and he had told her that he was on his way. So we walked to the entry, and there he was, he had just arrived. All together we walked to the bus and soon were on our way.
From the bus we could now and then catch glimpses of the snow covered top of the Cofre de Perote, and we could also see the nearly white top of the much higher (and more distant) Pico the Orizaba as well; the highest peak in Mexico (5,366m).
After the bus got outside of Xalapa it started to follow the winding road up to Perote, which is located on the Mexican Plateau (Altiplano). Xalapa is located at a height of about 1400 meters above sea level, and Perote at 2400 meters; we had to go up about a thousand meters for breakfast, which we had planned to have at Taqueria "Taz", located near the bus station.
After an uneventful bus tip we finally arrived at Perote around 10:45. We walked to Taz and ordered our breakfast. For starters "tacos al pastor" followed by "torta al pastor", both which were excellent. Alice, despite being distracted by the television hanging from the wall, ate well, and used her right hand for eating; her right arm have recovered very well from the nasty fracture she had near the end of 2009.
After Esme had paid the bill she asked how we could get to the Cofre de Perote and see the snow. She was told that we could take a bus near the nearby church to the town of Conejo, located on the volcano, and that a taxi would be quite expensive, maybe as much as 300 pesos. Which is a lot of money here; I guessed that one could get a taxi from Xalapa to Cardel for that much to which Esme and Jilmar agreed.
Before we walked to the nearby church we first paid a visit to the super market nearly opposite Taz to buy water, a package of AA batteries, and something to eat. At the check-out Esme asked again information, from earlier experiences we've learned that it doesn't harm to ask at least twice for directions, on how to get to the snow. We somehow had expected that we could take a small pick-up in Perote and being taken up the Cofre de Perote to the snow. But we got the same information: we should take the bus to Conejo.
After a short walk we arrived at the town square (zocalo) and the church. Behind the church we could all see the snow covered top of the Cofre de Perote. After I had taken some photos Esme asked again for directions because we didn't see a bus stop at all. She was told to walk down a different street to get to the bus stop. On our way down Jilmar asked again a taxi driver for directions, and shortly after we found in a side street the bus stop with a red colored bus already there.
Esme and Alice entered the bus, and Esme asked if this bus was going to Conejo -- the sign on the bus said "Los Pescados", a town before Conejo -- and was told that this was the right bus. So Jilmar and I got in as well.
In the front of the bus, above the window, was a nice painting of the red bus on its way to Perote with the snow covered top of the Cofre de Perote in the background. To the right of the painting was a list of bus fares; the trip to Conejo was listed as costing 18 pesos.
After quite some time the bus driver showed up and then after some more waiting (over 20 minutes in total) we were finally on our way to the town of Conejo located high up the slope of the Cofre de Perote.
Read the next part of this blog entry in Up the Cofre de Perote to the snow