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Also, we are living in strange and unsettling times so please make sure to check local guidelines before traveling to this destination, as I haven't updated individual posts with current travel information because this changes so often.
Month Eighty-Three was a whirlwind month of wedding celebrations in Mexico City and Cholula before I finally returned to the US after five months away – and promptly got COVID.
I started the month with a few more nights in laidback Sayulita and we mostly just spent it hanging out with our friends at the beach and by the pool, although we snuck in a day trip to nearby San Pancho too.
From Sayulita, we traveled to Puerto Vallarta and flew to Mexico City and it was great to be back in one of my new favorite cities in the world. We spent nine days there in total and it was a full-on time with multiple pre-wedding celebrations planned.
From Mexico City, we headed to Cholula for three nights for the big event of the trip – my brother-in-law’s wedding! After that most people flew out but Dad and I had a night in lovely Puebla and a night by the airport in Mexico City before we flew to Denver.
We spent a night with family in Aurora and three nights at campgrounds in Golden where I caught up with friends and did some hiking. It was so good to be back in Colorado!
We were only meant to spend five nights in Colorado before starting our Montana road trip over to Gorge Amphitheater for me to start work, but after four nights there we tested positive for COVID and booked a cabin outside of Evergreen for six nights to isolate and get better.
I was hoping that I wouldn’t feel sick (we tested because Dad was presenting symptoms but I felt fine except for a sore throat), but I woke up on the first morning at the cabin feeling like I had a bad head cold and I continued to feel like that for a full week. I also lost my sense of taste and smell.
We left the cabin on day six to escape the crazy late season snow storm rolling in and to start slowly heading to Washington, isolating in the RV. The first couple of days were shitty and cold and boring, just driving north through the plains of Wyoming and Montana feeling sick, but on day 8 I woke up and the sun was shining and I felt so much better.
I am still not 100% but I’m nearly there which is such a relief because I start work in Washington in less than a week.
Now onto the stats!
Countries Visited: Mexico, USA
- Mexico: Sayulita, San Pancho, Mexico City, Cholula, Puebla
- Colorado: Denver, Golden, Aurora, Idaho Springs, Evergreen
- Wyoming: Douglas
- Montana: Garryowen, Livingston
National and State Parks, Monuments, and UNESCO Sites: Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
Islands Visited: No islands this month.
Best Meals: Beet and goat cheese ravioli from Don Pedros in Sayulita, smoked marlin tacos from Gaby’s taco stand in Sayulita; cauliflower wings from Yum Yums in San Pancho; allll the incredible pastries in Mexico City but particularly the strawberry and custard pastry from Saint and the pain au chocolat from Deep Bread Experimental Bakery; Margarita pizza with burrata from Pizza Felix in Mexico City; Queen Margarita pizza with roasted garlic and gorgonzola from Pizza Nosferatu; Margarita pizza from Cart Driver in Denver. Lots of great pizza this month!
Worst Meals: Oily and tasteless spring rolls and bao from Casa Pepe in Puebla.
Best Craft Beer: Slush sour by Prairie Artisan Ales, Paloma Paradise cocktail sour by New Terrain Brewing Company.
- Chimney Gulch trail in Golden, CO 6.5 miles out and back
- Lubahn and Olivine loop trail in Golden, CO 2.5 miles
- Peak to Plains and Welch Ditch loop trail in Golden, CO 2.6 miles
I didn’t do any hikes in Mexico this month but I got a few Golden hikes in before I caught COVID.
Watching: The Staircase, The Dropout, Somebody Feed Phil
Reading: The Lobotomist’s Wife by Samantha Greene Woodruff, The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman, White Ivy by Susie Yang.
I wrote three new posts this month – the best things to do in Marquette, Michigan, an absolute highlight of my Great Lakes road trip last summer, the best beaches in the Galapagos, and everything you need to know before booking your Galapagos holiday.
Exploring Lovely San Pancho on a Day Trip
We spent a day exploring Sayulita’s smaller neighbor, San Pancho, and I really enjoyed this more chilled town. I enjoyed browsing the cute shops, eating incredible vegan food at Yum Yums, walking the length of the beach, and swimming and reading on the beach.
Mexico City Explorations With Family
This time around in Mexico City was focused on family time and pre-wedding celebrations and it was fun to explore in a different way as it was just me and Toby the first time we were there.
We also hadn’t seen the family for months (and it has been over a year since I had seen my Dad!) so it was so amazing to see everyone. My cousin Zane was in town too so he got to meet my American family for the first time.
We did a lot of big group gatherings including going to Lucha Libre wrestling, drinking at rooftop bars and pulquerias, we had a fun day out on boats on the Xochimilco canals, and went out for meals together at local restaurants and food halls.
I did manage to escape a few times too, for some solo wanders around La Condesa, Roma, and Polanco.
A Day Out in Coyoacan
Lovely Coyoacan was one of my favorite neighborhoods when I visited Mexico City the first time, ten years ago, so I knew I wanted to return again on this visit. One of my father-in-law’s friends who was in town for the wedding wanted to go to Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s birthplace and museum, which is in Coyoacan so we headed there for a day.
As well as going to the museum, we visited the Mercado for lunch and to shop, as well as wandering the pretty streets and main squares. I loved Coyoacan even more this time around.
A Beautiful Wedding Day in Cholula
Me, my sister-in-law, and my mother-in-law were invited to get ready with the bride, her mother, and her sister and it was a really lovely day getting to know them better.
And then it was onto the main event – the ceremony was very sweet and slightly goofy – so Flip and Blair, there was a great five-course dinner, and then lots of drinking and dancing. The venue was a very chic hacienda – it was like walking into a Pinterest wedding board, so pretty!
You could really tell how much time and planning went into everything and it reflected the couple’s taste so much. It was a wonderful day and I am excited to have a new sister-in-law!
Loving Graceful Puebla
I only had one night in Puebla City (I spent three nights in nearby Cholula – in Puebla state) but I instantly fell for this stunning city. Although I missed seeing the magnificent Biblioteca Palafoxiana (thanks Google), I enjoyed visiting the Mexican Revolution Museum, the multiple Sunday markets, and just wandering around the beautiful streets and squares of this elegant city.
I definitely want to return in the future – I still need to visit the oldest public library in the Americas and I want to try some of the regional foods like Chile en Nogada.
Back in my Beloved Golden
Golden is one of my favorite places in the world and one of my home bases in Colorado so I always love returning there. We stayed two nights at Clear Creek RV Park right in town, and another night at Chief Hosa campground a bit further into the mountains and it was fabulous.
I did three of my favorite Golden hikes, I visited my favorite Golden brewery – New Terrain, went for dinner at the Golden Mill food hall, caught up with friends, checked out the shops, and wandered by the river. I always have an excellent time in Golden.
Day Out in Idaho Springs
Idaho Springs is one of my favorite little Colorado mountain towns near Denver and we spent an enjoyable day touring the Argo Mine, eating Colorado pizza at Beau Jo’s, and looking around the excellent shops. Unfortunately later that day we tested positive for COVID.
Bedbugs in Mexico City
I got eaten alive by bedbugs at the hotel we were staying in in Mexico City, and Toby didn’t have a bite on him. I have never had so many bites from anything in my life and they were so itchy that I was woken up every night for a week scratching them uncontrollably.
I was so nervous that they would get in our bags and we would bring them with us so as soon as we moved to the Airbnb we were staying in with the family, we put everything we could on high heat in the dryer, and everything else in black plastic bags outside to roast in the sun over a couple of days. Luckily it worked and my bites faded over ten days or so, although there are still a few hanging in there.
Burnt Out and Hung Over
The week and a half of family meetups and wedding festivities in Mexico definitely took a toll on me. I am a social person but it is important I have alone time to recharge and it was hard to come by when we were staying in Airbnbs with multiple people.
I also felt like crap after drinking for multiple days in a row and it felt like I had a constant hangover. The lack of sleep because of the bedbugs situation didn’t help either and I felt like by the end it was really starting to affect my mental health as well.
More Google Mess Ups
Google in Mexico is absolute crap and it let me down multiple times this month. I turned up to restaurants that said they were open on Google that were actually closed, I tried going places that didn’t seem to exist, and, worst of all, I turned up to the Biblioteca Palafoxiana in Puebla, the oldest public library in the Americas that I was excited to visit, and it was closed, despite Google saying it was open. So disappointed.
Stress Over a Lost Visa Card
The night before our morning flight back to the US from Mexico City I asked Dad if he had his Mexico visa card – he didn’t. He must have thrown it away rather than keep it in his passport like he was supposed to.
From what I saw online, he would be able to fill in some forms and pay a fine at the airport but I still had a sleepless night worrying that we would miss our flight, and we ended up going to the airport 3.5 hours early to ensure we had enough time.
Luckily it was pretty straightforward and despite it taking a while to check in because of everything we had to show (visas, COVID test, declarations, etc), we were at the airport so early that it was fine.
Time with family often includes frustrations and I had a lot of that this month. I’ll just leave it at that.
I Finally Caught COVID
After not getting COVID (that I know of) for over two years, it finally caught up with me and I was laid out with it for a week. My Dad also got it so we booked a cabin in the woods to quarantine and recuperate.
Isn’t it funny how I traveled for five months through countries where mask-wearing was common and as soon as I returned to the US where people think their “freedom” is worth more than public responsibility and I got sick straight away? Hmmm. What a mystery.
Anyway, we were lucky it just presented as a bad head cold for both of us but I hate being sick and being sick for multiple days was hard for me because I don’t get sick often.
I was scared at the beginning too, worried that I could be one of the unlucky ones that ends up in hospital – luckily that didn’t happen.
Having To Start Driving to Washington When I Was Still Sick
It wasn’t ideal to have to start driving to Washington for work when I was still sick with COVID but with a crazy snowstorm coming in, I didn’t want to get stuck in the Denver area for an extra couple of days as that wouldn’t leave us a lot of time to drive the RV to Washington so we decided to leave and just quarantine in the RV.
It had already started snowing when we left and it was kinda scary driving down the mountain in the snow when we both didn’t feel great and visibility was poor. Luckily as we headed north from Denver we escaped the beginning of the storm and had sunshine again.
But it was still really cold for the next two nights and I froze my butt off on the first night when the heater ran the battery down and we had no heat for most of the night when it was 22 degrees outside!
Now that the weather has got warmer, the scenery is more exciting and we are both feeling much better, everything seems rosy again.
The Shit Show That is the US Right Now
Roe v. Wade possibly being overturned, the disgusting racist shooting of black Americans in Buffalo, the Taiwanese church shooting in California, the pretending that the pandemic is over when it sure as hell isn’t – the U.S. is just a burning dumpster fire right now and although I am excited to work at the Gorge and do lots of hiking and camping this summer, I also kind of just want to leave to somewhere more sane.
A lot of these costs are my half with Toby paying the other half. I also don’t include international flights in my recaps.
Not bad this month, I aim to spend less than $2000 a month and thanks to my Dad covering the groceries and cabin rental when we were sick with COVID, I easily managed to stay under budget.
My 17 nights of paid accommodation for the month consisted of five nights in a hotel in Mexico City, five nights in an Airbnb in Mexico City, three nights in an Airbnb in Cholula, one night in a hotel in Puebla, and three nights in RV parks in Golden.
My 13 nights of unpaid accommodation for the month consisted of three nights staying with friends in Sayulita, one night with family in Aurora, six nights staying in a cabin in Evergreen (paid for by my Dad), one night free camping in Wyoming, and two nights in RV Parks in Montana (paid for by my Dad).
Food and Drink $509
Definitely lower than it should have been had I not caught COVID. A lot of meals were paid for by family during the week-long wedding celebrations too.
- Singlet top $15
- Taxi from San Pancho to Sayulita $5
- Bus from Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta $3
- Flight from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City $58
- Taxis and Ubers in Mexico City and Puebla $57.50
- Metro in Mexico City $2
- Private bus from Mexico City to Puebla $20
- Bus from Puebla to Mexico City $11
- Train from Denver Airport to the city $10.50
- Gas $165
- Entry to Casa Azul $13.50
- Lucha Libre in Mexico City $15
- Great Pyramid of Cholula entry fee $4.50
- One Year National Park Pass $40 (my half)
- Hulu $7.50
- Phone plan $35
- Toiletries $16
- Two Weeks Travel Insurance $19.50
- Laundry $4.50
- Camera bag $20
- Tips and Donations $78
- Hanging Wooden Hummingbirds $15
- Manicure and Pedicure $27
- Souvenirs $7.50
- Gift $17.50
- COVID Test $38
- Spotify 3-month premium membership $10.50
Website Costs $12
- Monthly payment for Keysearch $12
Van/RV Costs $25
- Van Insurance $25
What’s in Store for Next Month
The first few days of the month will be spent roadtripping through Montana and northern Idaho to Washington, then I will be working for most of the rest of the month at Gorge Amphitheater.
In Montana, I am planning to explore Bozeman, Butte, and Missoula, in Idaho we will be stopping in Wallace and Coeur d’Alene, and I want to check out Spokane before getting to the Gorge. It should be a fun little road trip now we can enjoy it!
We will have quite a few days off during the month in Washington too so I plan to spend them exploring more of the state – especially the mountains – as well as my beloved Seattle.
I am excited that I am going to be back in the Pacific Northwest soon!
To read additional Monthly Recaps, you can find them here