Our first days in Mexico were spent at a campground outside of Monterrey in San Nicolas Hidalgo. The area of El Potero Chico in Hidalgo is much beloved by climbers, and accordingly most of the people at the camp when we arrived were American, Canadian and German climbers.
The campground featured a communal kitchen with gas burners, real toilets (BYO toilet paper but don’t flush it!) and showers as well as a decent if basic restaurant. (The pool, which we were looking forward to, was unfortunately closed for renovation.). Pretty civilized overall although the bathrooms were at a communal level of “cleanliness” most of the time.
The first full day we were there, we went into Monterrey – the third largest city in Mexico. Accordingly the traffic was quite exciting as we wended our way towards the Parque Fundidora. Fortunately we found the parking eventually (cutting across three lanes of traffic is normal, right?) and began our tour of the Fundidora (disused steelworks).
In contrast to the works we have toured in Germany (yes, this was the third one we’ve been to), the remaining part of the works in Monterrey is quite small. They make up for it with a very personal guided tour (in English!) as well as an animatronic-ish demo of molten steel coming out of the blast furnace. You also get to ride to the top of the furnace on the old materials elevator track – good idea!
We then took a boat ride in the artificial canal that goes from the park to the center of the city. (Totally touristy but we were very happy not to re-park!) After a bit of a wander around Monterrey we settled on some basket tacos for lunch. These tacos are premade then put into a steam basket (‘canasta’) to await customers. Five tacos and a drink for 70 Pesos, or right around $4, was a good deal.
After we got back to the camp, we met up with some Monterrey locals. Getting to know them was the highlight of the stay. Besides being interesting, interested people, they were board game enthusiasts, and very into their food – in fact, generous with sharing it (Carne Asada and bone marrow tacos, and some very good pork and cheese mix). We then shared some of ours as well – I made tuna and garlic pasta that came out well (“I can’t believe it’s tuna!”), and Melanie invented some Saarland-Mexican fusion by marinating the local cut of steak with Schwenkbraten spices from her home area. Though these are usually used with pork neck, the marinade on steak was also a success.
Afterwards there was more barbecuing – by our friends as well as a large group of other locals. Apparently party camping on the weekend is a thing – makes sense to me! (Glad we had earplugs though…)
Greetings from San Luis Potosí!