in the mountains?

Leaving Zihuatanejo, we drove almost due north to get to Mexico City which I soon learned was called “De Effe” by pretty much everyone in Mexico.  Literally, the city is called “DF” which is short for District Federal (Federal District) much akin to “DC” for Washington District of Columbia.  So, the D and F in Spanish sound like “day” and “effay” and whenever you refer to the capital it’s called “de effe.”

Driving from the Pacific Coast back into the mainland of Mexico we passed through some mountains that separated the coast from the interior.  Jungle mixed with farm land and we saw one volcano after another, some blowing smoke and some appeared to be dormant.  Inland, the climate was much more try than the jungle landscape by the ocean but the scenery was still beautiful.  We were back driving on toll roads and while they were a bit more expensive, they cut through mountains with easy gradients and the traffic moved along at a good clip.  It was funny to think about it but we were driving back towards the US!

As we passed Pueblo and came to the southern borders of the Federal District we started climbing in altitude and after a while I started to notice snow-capped mountains.  “No way, this can’t be Mexico City?  Mountains and snow?  What’s next, pine trees?”  Sure enough they came along in due time.  As we climbed and climbed I began to feel like I was in Idaho or Oregon, not in Central Mexico!

Just outside of Mexico City, we saw a view that looked like this:

It was not at all what I expected.

In the photo below, we are driving on the main highway that leads into Mexico City as it cuts through the mountains on the south of the city.  As we crested the mountain we looked down into what looked like a huge bowl, almost like a volcano cone.  And sitting here, the worlds most populous city.  At night, there are dark triangles where there isn’t any light from the houses and street lights; we learned that these were volcano cones.  Some were dormant, some where not.  I shook my head; who builds the world’s largest city in a ring of volcanoes?

When we finally crested the mountains and dropped down into the city, I was surprised to find out that the city itself rests at an elevation of about 7300′!  This city is higher than Denver.  Simply amazing.


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