Winter break in Mexico

Visitors from Alaska: Nicholas, Lael and Alex started the #bajadivide

Visitors from Alaska: Nicholas, Lael and Alex were preparing an offroad bikepacking route for the Baja (#bajadivide) and stayed at ours for a night

Winter break in Mexico

Missed the last blog? Here it comes: Tijuana, our home for a while
Blog auf deutsch: Winterpause in Mexiko

When March came, it was clear we couldn’t call this a “winter break” anymore. But there was still so much work undone and so many projects we had started but not finished yet. Being very comfortable at Roberto’s parent’s place didn’t help speeding things up, either. But the main reason for our prolonged stay was our wedding.

Butterfly in Tijuana's City Center #tijuanatransforma

Butterfly in Tijuana’s City Center #tijuanatransforma

German consulate Carlos Echeagaray Enkerlin made it clear: „If you got married here, you could save lots of time, money and hassle with paper work!“ Well, that would change all of our plans. I researched everything he said online and came to the same conclusion. If we got married here, we could save at least one flight and several certified translations.

Cyclist Semi from Spain

Visitor from Spain. We had met Semi back in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada and now he was staying with us in Tijuana

So we started the paper hunt and little by little called my family and friends. I was quite sad that on such a short notice I wouldn’t have any of them around on this special day. But this was only going to be a tiny civil wedding, we’d have another big party in Germany someday.

Visitors from Alaska: Nicholas, Lael and Alex started the #bajadivide

Visitors from Alaska: Nicholas, Lael and Alex were preparing an offroad bikepacking route for the Baja (#bajadivide) and stayed at ours for a night

The paper work was much easier and cheaper that it would have been in Germany, but nevertheless we had a lot of work preparing papers like a birth certificate with translated apostille, have our blood tested and attempt premarital talks.

Sue and Stuart from Oregon

More visitors! Sue and Stuart from Oregon! They had hosted us and we told them not to take our invitation lightly. A few months later – here they were!

We were busy for quite some months with paper work, German classes, presentations and projects. Roberto’s family was great, I don’t think we would have gotten any of this done without them.

German students in Tijuana

My awesome German students

We filled the house up with our guests Ann-Cathrin from Germany, Andrea from Guanajuato (we met her back in Melbourne), and Eda and Sam from Seattle (we spent our first winter with Eda in Fethiye, Turkey and then visited her and Sam in Seattle). It was an early start on a grey morning and we made it to the registry office in time.

Newlyweds Annika and Roberto with the family

Proud newlyweds and proud family

I’ll fast-forward this a bit to the time of the party, so I won’t bore you with feelings, tears and all that stuff. The party was where there are some more familiar faces for those of you who have been following our blog for a while. King and Mark from Hong Hong (and originally from Malaysia and the States) drove down from Los Angeles to be with us (here’s how we biked with them back in New Zealand), Tanya from Scotland changed her flights from Canada to Scotland so she could add a little loop around California, Arizona and Tijuana (here’s how we stayed in her beautiful hostel in Golden, Canada), and Mark from Los Angeles/Poland drove all the way down for only this one night (here’s how we stayed with Mark).

The international table

The international table. Top row: Sam, Mark, Annika, Roberto, Ann-Cathrin, Antonio, Mark, Tanya. Lower row: King, Eda, Andrea and Valeria

Some family came all the way from Mexico City and Mexicali, but for many of them this was too much of a short notice. Nevertheless, the very small let’s-just-all-have-dinner-round had grown to nearly 100 people. But in Mexico a wedding with less than 200 guests is still a small and intimate wedding.

The most awesome wedding cake!

The most awesome wedding cake!

Many Mexican wedding parties come with a lot of glitter, glamour and bling-bling. Ours was much more a barrel of local wheat beer, some local wine, yummy gorditas and a laptop with good songs. Anything else would neither have fit our wallet, nor our gusto.

Primas and Primos

The fun is wherever the cousins are

If you have ever thrown a big party, you know how hard it is, to chat with everybody. But time flew, so at night we moved locations and went out to party in Tijuana’s party center: the Avenida Revolución and Calle 6ta. We had reserved the balcony in a fun 80s club with live music and cheap beers and spent all night literally dancing till the feet got sour (I usually don’t wear any heels and needed a two-day recovery from all the dancing).

"I do!"the kiss

“I do!”

We spent the following days showing our guests around town. It’s funny how Tijuana felt like home for me very quickly. The pride that so many Tijuanenses feel for their city got reflected in me and I proudly showed our guests the best shrimp taco places (here’s a list we wrote to the best food in Tijuana), the market, where they saw cactus leaves being peeled and explained the history of the door in the border fence by the beach. Here’s a list we wrote to all the cool things to do in Tijuana

Cleaning Nopales cactus leaves

Nopales are so tasty, but it’s best to buy them without the spines

When our last guest left town, we were transported back into reality: dentist visits and work. Roberto’s hard work in the past months had finally paid off: he had found several business partner for the guide books, will write on a regular basis for the well-known travel magazine “Mexico Desconocido” and even landed a great deal with the tourism board of the state! They realized how bike tourism has a lot of benefits to the state and want us to collect information and build a route for cycling the entire state.

My German students playing a homemade vocabulary game

My German students playing a homemade vocabulary game

The Baja is a popular cycling state for many long-term cyclists who either go from Alaska to Patagonia or the other way around. But we want cycling to be something, anybody can do, no matter the age, the experience or the quality of the bike. So we’ll provide all kind of information on bike shops, water deposits, camping possibilities and much more.

The viewpoint on the toll road between Tijuana and Ensenada

Eda and Sam at the viewpoint on the toll road between Tijuana and Ensenada

The Baja California is state that offers two coastlines, a desert, high mountains (the highest is over 3,000 meters!), archipelagos near the coast, a rocky semi desert, several diving spots, antique rock paintings, a giant cactus nature reserve and a unique ecological system including whales and mountain goats. It’s clear that this place is best discovered by bike.

Batman birthday cake, Batman Kuchen Pastel de Batman

Roberto’s 33rd birthday. He said he’d cry all day if he didn’t get a batman cake. I believe this man will never grow up.

So or the following weeks we will spend the days biking and interviewing people. Where can people pitch the tent? Will the next village have access to water and a shop for food? Does the hotel close during the winter months? Does this bike shop offer repairs? We want to make it as easy as possible for other cyclists to enjoy the Baja by bicycle.

Annika in Food Heaven

Annika in Food Heaven

The only thing that worried me a bit, were my legs. After all these months without biking I wasn’t sure if that one hour of sports every day was enough to prepare me for the Baja’s climbs. But then again I was fitter than after the winter break in Turkey, the leg-break in Malaysia and the work-break in New Zealand. I would probably have a tough time in the first two weeks and be alright after that.

#bajaenbici

Getting ready to ride the Baja #bajaenbici

It was hard for us to say goodbye to Tijuana, to all our friends and to the family. We have spent five and a half months living with harmony and love with my parents in law. I must say I think I got the big jackpot there.

Husband and wife

Husband and wife

Roberto’s friends had accepted me from the first moment on, as if I had always been a part of the group. I was deeply impressed by the open and welcoming way, people treat other people here.

We'll miss our family and friends!

We’ll miss our family and friends!

Now we were curious on the Baja California Peninsula. It was May when we finally packed our bags, dusted our bikes and officially called an end to the “winter break”. Baja here we come!

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  2. Héctor says:

    Thank you for so many good times. We miss you!

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