The drive to Cholula went smooth despite that there are many highways around Mexico city. The navigation system guided us without problems the 127 km. We drove through busy Pueblo to Cholula and found a car park  just in front of the largest pyramid of the world. It was however covered by ash during one of the many volcano eruptions. When the Spanish arrived there was just a nice hill on top of which they decided to build a church. Because of this only part of the pyramid has been excavated. They did dig several tunnels underneath the structure which showed that, also this pyramid, had been extended many times. Unfortunately the tunnels still have not been opened to the public since closing for Corona 3 years ago. We had to do it with the church only and a long walk around and up the hill to get a good feel of the magnitude of the original pyramid. In the evening we wandered through town to find a print shop to print and sign our camper export papers physically and resend it electronically via email. We also took the opportunity to have another taco diner with Corona/lemonade at a local cafe. We camped at a parking lot close to the pyramid. There were facilities available and it looked like they could accommodate many campers on both side of the street. Maybe it gets busy over holidays.

When driving to Oaxaca (357 km) you are first joined by all the traffic going to Veracruz on the Caribbean coast. Many trucks use this road. After they turn off and you continue South East, the road becomes double lanes. It is however used as 3 lanes to overtake slow traffic. You really have to watch out that on the other side they do not have the same idea as you. For some reason our camper timing has shifted a bit so the camper has reduced pulling power, which results that we do not overtake that much. The highway starts at 2000+ m and slowly descends to 1100 m before climbing again to 1700 m. Three quarter of the way you leave the valley and climb back up another mountain range. It was interesting to see in one of the museums that originally North and South America were not connected and that, due to millenniums of volcano eruptions the oceans filled up and created the narrow strip of land connecting North and South America. 

We stayed 3 nights at a well populated Overlander camp site in Oaxaca. Compared to the big trucks or large (Mercedes) Sprinter buses, we were the smallest. There is an area for long stay and a separate area for families. We are somewhere in-between. Rudy made good use of the small swimming pool to cool down after a day of Pyramid climbing or Town/Museum strolling.

There are 2 main reasons for visiting Oaxaca. One is the extensive temple/pyramid complex (Monte Alban) on a flatted hill top just outside of town. The other is the old city centre which has a Dominican monastery from 1570 with a large church. The monastery itself houses an impressive collection of artefacts found in one of the tombs when excavating the ruins on Monte Alban.

The historical site on top Monte Alban lies some 400 m above the town. The mountain top has been flattened and over 1000 years a large temple complex was built. The structures have been rebuild and expanded over the centuries but from what we could see it does not have such an “onion” overgrowth like the temples we have see in Mexico City and Cholula. Also there were houses for the elite with graves inside/underneath them. In 1932 one of these grave revealed a large collection of objects from the 14th century. The grave itself was a lot older (Zapotec, 700 AD) but reused by a later civilization (Mixtec). 

On our second day we wandered the narrow streets of the old city. It is a World Unesco Historical site so the old street structure and houses have been preserved and shop fronts are modest. Beside the Church and Museum we visited is in an area where, over the past years, local artists have expressed themselves in Murals. It is not clear to me why most of the figures are skeletons. Close to our campsite there is a lovely small park around a church which has an over 2000 year old tree. It is claimed that this is the widest tree in the world. You could not stand close to the tree (it is fenced off) so the pictures may not give the right impression. In the area around the church you see more of these type of old trees. It must once have been an impressive grove. Glad that a few still survived the human on-slaughter.