Antigua family and budget tips

Antigua is a great place to visit or to spend more time and stay a few weeks or months. Since our time here is coming to an end, I want to present you with some recommendations for places that we love. These places are great for us – my husband, our two-year-old and me – most of them are not expensive and all are suited to go with children. So here are the Antigua family and budget tips!

General recommendations for families

First things first: There are two important things I want to share with other families that are planning to come to Antigua:

  1. Antigua (city center and beyond) is a terrible place for a pram or a stroller. It´s torture to drive your child along cobblestoned streets or uneven sidewalks with obstacles in the middle of the way. Of course you might want to bring the pram/ stroller for other destinations or for the airport etc., but in Antigua be prepared to carry the little ones, so bring a sling if you have one!
  2. Very few places have a baby´s changing table. Be prepared to be creative and maybe bring a changing mat so you are more flexible concerning where to change the diapers of the little ones.


  1. Pasteles Hansel y Gretel: They sell things you need for baking but also have the most amazing brownies and other sweets. You cannot eat here but the price is so good, you don´t mind taking these baked goods home: 8Q a brownie! Inconspicuous little place. Location:city center, corner of 6a avenida and 6a calle
  2. Zócalo: Mexican restaurant with delicious food and amazing prices. And they are pretty flexible with turning their dishes vegetarian, just ask 🙂 Location: city center close to Parque central, 4a calle oriente.
  3. Coffee Shack: Café with co-working areas, beautiful terrace and a fun game room (table football and table tennis) as well as some hammock chairs to relax in while you enjoy a delicious coffee. Our daughter loves the place, too and she always gets her own little “coffee” (warm milk or a chai latte ;)). Concerning prices it´s average, not cheaper than others, but you do good while drinking coffee here: Coffee Shack supports the organisation Serve Hope and gives a part of their profits to benefit Guatemalan families. For example they give water filters and houses to families in need. Location: city center, 6a calle poniente 39.


  1. Caoba Farms: It´s a great place to go with kids, especially on the weekend when they have activities and a small market. There is a playground, a restaurant with farm-to-table-concept, a store with organic produce, the farm with plantations of salads, vegetables etc. and some animals to look at. Location: 5a avenida sur final, outside of the city center but within walking distance.
  2. Valhalla Macadamia Farm: This is a beautiful place to learn and relax. In the free tour of the farm they explain you everything there is to know about Macadamia trees and nuts and you get a free facial massage with macadamia nut oil at the end of the tour! In the restaurant they have delicious food such as pizza and pancakes made with macadamia flour that you can enjoy sitting under macadamia trees. Location: San Miguel Dueñas.
  3. El Tenedor del Cerro: This is complex of several art museums set in a beautiful garden. It´s all about Guatemalan artists. The entrance is free of charge, there are several sculptures and things to discover in the garden as well as fountains (not a bad place to let the kids play on a hot day) and a playground (behind the restaurant). The restaurant has a beautiful view, but it is quite expensive. If you don´t want to eat there, bring a snack or lunch because there is nothing else sold here. Location: Santo Domingo del Cerro, just outside of Antigua but you have to take a car.
  4. Eco Farms GT: A simple place with some animals, a playground and a restaurant to spend some time. During the week there are a lot of kids that go to kindergarden here, on the weekend there are more families. You can also buy organic produce in a small stand in the parking lot. Location: Jocotenango.
  5. Finca La Azotea: Beautiful finca with a very small entrance fee (25Q per adult, I think). There is a restaurants, a café, a beer garden, play areas, horse riding and bike riding or just walking around the finca and the coffee plantations, a chocolate workshops, a coffee museum and more!Location: Jocotenango.
  6. Cerro de la Cruz: A little hill with a viewpoint on the north of Antiguas city center. You can easily walk up here (or take a car or tuc-tuc) and enjoy the view of Antigua and the volcán de agua behind it. Be sure to go up when the sun is not too intense and the view is clear. Location: access via 1a avenida norte.
  7. Hobbitenango: A “Hobbit village” outside of Antigua with an amazing view of the volcanos (Fuego and Acatenango) and a lot of fun things to do. Entrance and food inside quite expensive though. If you can, go during the week, it gets quite crowded on the weekends. Location: El Hato/ Altamira.
  8. Pacaya volcano: This volcano is a super cool and an interesting spot – you get to walk on a cold lava stream! The landscape is surreal. The hike up is about an hour and a half and even though it´s steep, you can totally do this with kids! For small kids bring a child and easy to hike up with kids. Location: It´s about a 1.5 hour drive from Antigua to the volcano. You can take a car, uber or tour (several options daily).

A change is coming


Today, Gus and me have been married for one year. It has been an incredible year! We’ve had so many wonderful opportunities that I can only be thankful for this first year of marriage: There have been a lot of travels both in Mexico and internationally, new challenges professionally, we have been a very happy aunt and uncle, there have been arguments and lots and lots of love, and most importantly a lot of spending time and sharing our life with wonderful people being our family and friends here in Mexico.

Now, change is coming: A month from today we will be living in Germany and everything is about to change: Gus will leave Mexico and live in another country for the first time in his life, he will leave behind his family, his business, his comfort zone and his culture. He will trade his family for mine, his business for a lot of new opportunities and ideas, his comfort zone for new experiences and his culture for a european one. I will change work for university, the mexican easy-going attitude for the german straight way of thinking and one part of our family for another.

It has recently dawned on me that this is really happening, we have started the change by moving boxes, selling things and waiting for Gus’ visa and I have started to realize how hard this is going to be. I have started being all emotional, dreaming weird things about the flight to Germany and my mind is sometimes too full of thoughts concerning this big change to rest and go to sleep. I have done these kind of changes before and I know that it’s hard: Everytime after spending a time (Au-pair, exchange etc.) in another place abroad, I have felt what I am feeling now: Being sad for leaving and having to say goodbye to everyone at this place and being happy for coming back home and to my family. But this time it’s different. This time, I am really, really sad for leaving because I am leaving behind a part of my family. In Mexico, family is everything so of course it’s going to be hard to leave my mexican family that we have spent so much time with! It’s my family – even though they sometimes annoy me, I love each member very much!

Also, I don’t really know, what to expect back in Germany. I mean, of course I know what to expect in a way but I don’t know anything about the current Germany, how society is changing due to politics and immigrants and I have no idea how I am going to survive the winter! Don’t get me wrong, I am so looking forward to living with Gus in Germany! I am so happy to see my german family, to go back to university, to eat my mum’s cake and to drive on streets that have no holes in them! But I am also uncertain about how things are going to be, because they will be different then here in Mexico, for sure.

The good thing is, that I am not alone this time. Gus is going with me and we will be able to share so many things. He will finally understand what’s it like to be away from home, to not always be able to express yourself the way you wish and to not understand why things are done a certain way. In the meantime, I will try to explain german habits to him, help him learn this complicated language, prepare him a mexican meal now and then, have him welcomed in our german family.

I am sure, that our relationship will change as well because our roles will change: Here in Mexico, he is the one that knows what to do, the one that knows how to get things in order and sometimes how to resolve them in another way. He is the “head” of the family here, taking decisions and supporting everyone around him. In Germany, I will be the one who knows how things are done and he will be the outsider. He will have nothing else but himself to worry about for a change and can start a new life in a way, doing the work and the activities that he likes. We will go to a city which is new for both of us, without any friends or family and we’ll figure out life on the way. And if we miss the sun or our mexican family, we will comfort eachother and book the next flight to visit them 😉


A mexican funeral

A couple of months ago, my mother-in-law passed away. It was the first time I saw what happened in a mexican family when a family member dies and it was a very difficult time for our family. I wanted to write about this whole experience since then, but never knew how. Today, I am finally writing about it.

The death of my mother-in-law took us by surprise because she died of a heart attack. However, she had been in a state of poor health for years, so looking back it wasn’t so surprising after all. Right after my husband and I found out about her passing, I witnessed how everyone and everything started to get “rushed”. I know, it sounds weird, especially thinking about Germany where after the death of a family member everything seems to slow down: If possible, you let everybody know in person, otherwise over the phone and the funeral gets scheduled for a couple of days after the passing or, in case of known people even a week or so after.

Here in Mexico, things really speed up: The idea is to burry the body as soon as possible, usually about 24 hours after the passing. Before that, the body is often brought to the house of the deceased, where family, friends and neighbours get together for the wake. As my mother-in-law passed away around noon, by 8pm that same day everyone was gathered in her house (about an hour away from where we live) and we started the wake that would take the whole night until the funeral home picked up the body the next morning. We had a first funeral service and the coffin was brought into the house. I was really impressed by how everyone came to the wake – even friends of Gus and his sisters came all the way to the little village to support the family. Everyone stopped his or her life for a couple of hours or a day and dropped everything to come and pay their respects. If there is one thing that still impresses me about the mexican culture, it’s how united the families are, how friendships and families intertwine and how much friends and family are worth in this culture.

The whole night, someone stayed up with the deceased and watched over the coffin, right there in her living room. The kitchen was filled with pastries and tea (usually you serve pastries and coffee in this occasion, but my husband and sisters-in-law had decided that the bitter taste of loosing their mother was enough and didn’t had to be intensified by the bitter taste of coffee) and the house was filled with people.

The next morning, it was time for a second service and then the body was picked up by the funeral home to be cremated. One of the sisters of my mother-in-law almost didn’t make it and got to the house just in time before the body was taken away. I wondered what happened if the deceased had close family living in other places in the country that are far away or even living abroad. Apparently, in this case, you can wait a couple of days to bury or cremate the body, but the most common thing is to start the wake and the mourning right away.

After we received the urn, I was suprised to learn, that in Mexico, you can basically do whatever you want with the ashes. You can keep them in your house or in another place, you can scatter them wherever you like, or you can even have the ashes pressed to become diamonds for jewellery or other memorabilia. The law allows this, however the catholic church is trying to oppress these methods as the institution wants people in their graveyards. We decided to go to a special place the next day and to plant a tree with the ashes.

After this, it was finely time to breathe and to start understanding everything that had happened the last couple of days: My mother-in-law had died 3 days before and so many things had happened ever since that we didn’t even had a chance to understand what had happened. Now it was time to process all of this and to start remembering her together: We talked about her, everyone telling an anecdote or something they especially remembered her by. We smiled when thinking about her generosity and how she was always worried about all of us instead of worrying about herself, we laughed about things she had said, we realised that she had lived her life in a good way, we recognised how she had fought against her bad health for years and how her motivation to keep going were her children and especially her grandchildren.

Let’s talk about sex, baby

It’s the most natural thing as people say and I am often surprised about sexuality, taboos and sex education here in Mexico. I recently had a really honest conversation with a few members of Gus and my family about this. It got me thinking and I decided to talk about this topic today.

When I first came to Mexico, I was really surprised how sensual and sexual everything seemed in comparison to buttoned-up Germany. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think that Germans are generally prude, but we still don’t like to make this topic too public. The first time my husband came to Germany, I remember very well how he wanted to kiss me passionately in public – or worse – in front of my parents. I just didn’t feel very comfortable about that back then, whereas he didn’t really see what the problem was. He was totally fine kissing me in front of his parents. In Mexico, everything you see in everyday life is more sexual – the music and lyrics that go with it, how people dress (especially girls) and dance and the language itself as mexican spanish is filled with (sexual) ambiguous sayings.

Now the funny thing is that when it comes to the topic of sex and sex education, mexicans are surprisingly conservative. Gus and me just recently had an honest talk with our nieces (15 and 19 years old) and realized that there were some gaps in their knowlegde and they weren’t as prepared as we would have hoped. If I’m not mistaken, I had sex education three times in school. We talked about anatomy, hormones, contraception, myths and truths and feelings. The rest did our parents and if necessary, informative material from the gynaecologist or the internet. Now I learned that our nieces also had this topic in school, in seperate classes for boys and girls, but that especially the female teachers feel far too awkward and embarrassed to really give an informative education. For example, our nieces didn’t know how to put on a condom – so we quickly took the biggest carrot we had in the fridge and showed them.

There are a lot of unplanned and teenage pregnancies in Mexicos – almost everyone has this one friend who became a parent while still in high school. Abortion is in most families unthinkable due to religion and tradition. So teenage girls become single mothers because the relationship with the father usually doesn’t endure. The father pays his part of child support but in most cases sees his kid every two weeks or less when he lives further away. After a few years the mother might consider going back to school or University, but only if she can count on the support from her family. Otherwise, this is not possible and she probably never achieves what she once dreamt of.

And all of this happens because people still believe in myths like the “Pull-out method” or are simply too lazy to get condoms from the store around the corner if they don’t have any in the moment of need. We have several friends who became parents this way or who dodged the bullet and then do the exact same mistake again….

Another idea people have, is that breastfeeding is a natural birth Control and you can’t get pregnant while doing it – well, my youngest niece (8 months old) is the result of just this misbelief.

I have also realized that most mexicans feel uncomfortable to openly talk about this topic: For example if we are in a circle of friends and someone makes an ambiguous joke, I usually know that people laugh because it’s something sexual, but because I don’t really understand the joke, I ask the person to explain it to me. Some people don’t have a problem with that, but a lot do and don’t really want to explain because they feel ashamed. Same applies for honest conversations about sex: a lot of people feel embarrassed and cannot talk about it – they start laughing nervously or change the topic. These two opposite sides to the topic are fascinating for me: How can sex be so present in the culture in music, advertisement, clothes etc. and at the same moment be something people talk about so little when it is a real problem for society relating to teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases?

I guess – this is yet another big difference between Germany and Mexico, between an open-minded society and a traditional, religious one: In Germany we might not be comfortable with public display of affection, parents tell their daughters to don’t wear that belly top and we certainly don’t dance as sensual as Mexicans do, but kids receive sex education, “friends with benefits” or “open relationships” are no foreign words anymore and with good friends you can certainly talk about the subject openly. In Mexico, there is a lot of public display of affection and the society is filled with sexy images, but there are a lot of taboos, the lack of knowlegde causes troubles and to openly talk about the topic in any way is a problem.

Cuba – a journey to the past

This year Gus an me started out with a little journey I would like to tell you about: we went to Cuba. We had been thinking about going to Cuba for some time now and around Christmas we realized that it was a good moment to go. So we bought a cheap flight from Mexico City to Havana just 5 days before the journey and started the Adventure on 1st of January.

We arrived in Havana at night that same day and immediately realized that we had come to a whole new world – this was different than any other place we had visited. While we were still in Havanas International Airport José Martí, there was a blackout – twice. It only took a few minutes until the light was back on, but it was our first impression of Cuba and we were a little bit worried. Anyways, we took a taxi to get to our casa particular – houses of cuban families that rent one or two rooms to tourists. On our way there were several things that made me think, “Yes, this is a comunist country”. I am a little to young to be able to compare Cuba with the German Democratic Republic (DDR) because I was born just one year after Germany had been reunited. However, I have an idea due to visiting the Eastern part of Germany when I was a kid and hearing stories about the DDR from my grandparents. Therefore I somehow recognized the way some buildings are build, the national pride represented in seeing the cuban flag, images of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro and signs with sayings to motivate the people like: “El hombre crece con el trabajo que sale de sus manos.” (The man grows with the work that comes out of his hands.) or “La mujer cubana crece, triunfa y avanza.” (The cuban woman grows, triumphs and advances.)

The next day we started to explore the beautiful city of Havana and quickly noticed that we had travelled to the past – the buildings of Havana and especially Old Havana, the old cars driving around everywhere, people without their cellphones in their hands and small businesses instead of big supermarkets – we felt like we had travelled 50 years back in time. All of this is amazingly beautiful in a way, in another it can be a little annoying and of course there is an explanation for all of this.

In Cuba, there is a big disequilibrium of prices and salaries. Professionals working as an employee earn about 50 EUR per month when a soft drinks costs 1 EUR or a meal in a restaurant even 6 or 7 EUR. So you can imagine, that they simply don’t have the Money to renovate their houses or even buy or Import a car which is both incredibly expensive. Technology is also very expensive here in Cuba so most people don’t have a cellphone or a computer, but simply a normal phone at home and that’s it. For those who have a Smartphone (mostly tourists) there are very few places were you can make use of the Internet. The cuban telecommunications company ETECSA offers Internet Cards for 1 EUR per hour. So you have to find a spot where there is wifi and then use the card to log in. I am going to be totally honest with you: Gus and me both used our phones to connect with the internet for about an hour each during 8 days in Cuba and it was wonderful! Havana is a place where people still walk with their head held high during the streets – no one is looking at their phone or rushing through the streets making important phone calls.

As you can probably guess from the disequilibrium of prices and salaries, most restaurants and shops (at least in Havana) are exclusively for tourists. In general, Cubans live from the tourists. Several of our hosts explained us that due to the low salaries, no one can live only from their salaries. So a lot of people rent one or two rooms in their home, a lot of people work as a taxi driver additionally to their job or they simply do illegal stuff like selling the ETECSA Internet Cards for a much higher Price in the street. You might be wondering how that can work when you just buy one for the normal price at the company. Well, first of all, most tourists don’t know that the Price is 1 EUR for 1 hour. Second of all, ETECSA is one of the places where you will have to wait in line for a while. Yes, Cuba is a place where people have to wait in line for a lot of stuff, we saw lines for currency exchange offices, for shops that sell cleaning and personal hygiene products (These are very expensive and difficult to get in Cuba – bring your own stuff!), markets, bakeries and restaurants.

I have to admit that I – as the sweet tooth that I am – had some difficulties. If you go to Cuba, you won’t starve because the main meals in restaurants and family places are good, but we had a lof ot difficulties finding Snacks. We usually eat some fruit, peanuts, sandwich, some sweet bread or whatever during the day, especially when we’re on the road travelling from one place to another. This was almost impossible in Cuba. You might find a sandwich or some cookies (of bad quality) but that’s it. And me, sweet tooth, I suffered from there being almost no sweets but chocolate and vanilla ice-cream.

Cuba is a place of incredibly people. Yes, you do have to be careful that you don’t pay far too much for a service (taxi, meal etc.), but it’s understandable that the Cuban people want to use any opportunity to get Money due to their economic situation. But besides that, we have never met people so open and interested. Cubans start talking to you at any occasion out of sincere interest about you. They want to know about other places and people since it’s rather difficult for them to leave their country. They are interested in knowing because most of Cubans don’t even know their own country. Cubans use any possibility for some small talk and know how to enjoy life. The island they live on gives them an easy-going, tranquil life where they can enjoy a good mojito or a cigar at any time. This applies even more for the rural areas (we visited Viñales and Trinidad), Havana is much more busy and hectic at times. In Trinidad we actually felt like we had travelled back 100 years in time, the streets are made out of cobble stones and the way of transporting are mostly horse-drawn carriages and bicycles. People in Trinidad were especially nice and the place especially tranquil.

When you decide to stay in a casa particular, so to rent a room with a cuban family, be prepared to be welcomed as part of the Family with a lot of love, kindness and affectionateness. Cuban people are incredibly kind and open-minded. This loving welcome combined with the interesting places and beautiful landscapes this island has to offer made this journey something very special for us and I can honestly recommend anyone who wants to see something different, to go to Cuba.



Posadas and piñatas

Well, the year is coming to an end and you are probably wondering how Christmas is celebrated here in Mexico.

First of all, I have to say, that growing up in Germany where we have so many wonderful Christmas traditions and put a lot of importance towards the weeks before Christmas, the festivities itself, the family, the food and the gifts, it is sometimes hard for me to not be in Germany during this time. I miss my family and the traditions I grew up with especially during this time of the year – the Christmas markets, opening the advent calender every morning until the 24th, baking cookies and making a gingerbreadhouse. During my time in England it was no problem, because there it´s almost the same, including the cold weather. All of this is either missing or very different in Mexico.

First of all, Mexicans don’t celebrate the Advent season, the 4 weeks before Christmas. The city and houses are decorated with images and lights in every colour you can imagine, enormous christmas trees are put up in the plazas and people go a little mad in the shopping malls.

So far so good – this is pretty much the same Thing all around the world during this time. Now what is the mexican thing about Christmas? Easy – posadas, piñatas and the importance of family.

In Mexico, posadas are held in families, neighbourhoods, streets, at work and with friends during the 16th of December and Christmas. The first Posada was celebrated in monastery of Acolman in Mexico City. The posadas represent the pregnancy of Maria and her and her husbands search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. People at a Posada sing Christmas songs, eat and drink and there is always a piñata.

Even if you don’t attend a Posada, a piñata is a vital element of any Christmas celebration and through out the year of children’s birthdays as well. Originally, the form of a piñata was round with seven peaks representing the seven capital sins. Therefore, when smashing the piñata it was a symbol for destroying the seven capital sins. Nowadays, piñatas come in all shapes – traditional ones, characters from movies, cartoons etc. Just recently we bought a piñata for our nephew of Captain America and in April we had a Minion piñata for my cousin. You put up the piñata hanging on a rope recheable for everyone. One side of the rope is movable and this way, someone is moving the piñata up and down and to the sides. For small children this is not necessary but for adults the piñata is moving and also they use a blindfold for their eyes to make things more complicated.

The piñata is usually made out of papermaché and therefore getting weaker with every hit until she eventually bursts open and all the sweets fall out. For hitting the piñata usually a broomstick is used (in case you are wondering – yes, we have already broken several broomsticks this way). As you can see in the picture, the moment, the piñata bursts open, everyone wants the sweets. Seriously – this is like war. I have seen my mexican family throwing themselves at the sweets, gathering them up in an incredible speed and ignoring anything else that is happening around them. On our nephews birthday a month ago, my husband took away sweets I was aiming for – I was holding our baby niece at that moment and when I asked him later about it, he hadn’t even realized that it was us aiming for the sweets! Seriously, if Mexicans were as determined as they are with the piñata in all other matters, this would be a world-leading economy!

Anyways – to come back to mexican Christmas, the most important part of all is to be with the family. I love this part, because in Germany we sometimes loose focus on the family part and concentrate on the gifts, worry about the right food etc. But here, family is the only thing that matters for Christmas – and isn’t that the main idea of the Holidays?








Identity in between cultures

The other day, Gus and me went to a Halloween party of a friend. Everyone was dressed up and we had a wonderful time. That night, we met a couple which is mexican- costarican and the husband which is costarican and me started talking. We are both living in Mexico for some years now and agreed on a lot of things concerning identity and life in Mexico as a foreigner. We talked about food, mexican attitudes and cultural details. The most interesting part for me was agreeing on a lot of things concerning our identity: As we both have been living in Mexico for a while, we miss it when we’re not in Mexico. I always miss the welcoming, warm-hearted people, the sun and the food. Little details that I sometimes find annoying when I am here are suddenly missed when I am somewhere else. Mexico has become my home in a way. I know my way around, I have adjusted to a lot of things and have wonderful memories in this country. Arriving in Mexico means not being somewhere unknown, but somewhere known and loved although it’s also a place where I don’t understand or don’t agree with a lot of things. I wish I could change some things because sometimes I feel really lost and think that this wouldn’t happen in Germany where I really know how things work. However, Germany is not the same place in my imagination and in reality. I only think about the good things that I would like to have here from Germany – a little more order and organisation, being able to trust in others more, chocolates and certain things being easier. When I am in Germany, I notice all the things that are so much better in Mexico and notice so many things I don’t agree on. So in conclusion: When I am in Mexico, I miss some things from Germany and the other way around.

Concerning my behaviour it’s the same thing: I have adopted certain attitudes or behaviours from Mexico but I am still ‘very german’. So my being and my whole identity is actually a mix of both cultures. In Mexico everyone always says to me that I am basically mexican already, but that’s not entirely true, because I feel way to german for being mexican. If you have never been in a situation like this, I guess it’s hard to understand, but if you have, you will understand easily:

Sometimes, I don’t know where I belong. I don’t feel that Mexico is my home entirely, because I am way to exotic here as a german. But I also don’t feel like Germany is my home anymore – the place of my childhood, yes, but it’s not really my home anymore. So yes, there are days when I feel a bit ‘homeless’ or lost. Of course this is the sad way to see it – the best way to see it would be to say that I am at home in both countries on two continents.

The thing is that whenever you leave your home for a while and live in another country, you return as a different person as the person you were when you left the place. Due to all the experiences I made in Mexico that other people in my home never made and most likely never will make, I see things differently than they do. While you have changed, the place has not changed and most people will not understand the feeling of missing a home away from home.

Another thing about identity is to not be ‘the german’ in Mexico and ‘the girl that lived in Mexico’ in Germany. Yes, ok – these things will always influence your life, how you are treated etc., but you can not let it stand in front of your personality. In Mexico it has happened to me a few times that people limit me to ‘the german girl’ instead of getting to know me and my personality. They only ask about things from Germany and not about me. Another problem is to use the ‘being german’ as an excuse for anything. For example it has happened to me and Gus that we didn’t understand eachother and there was a misunderstanding. Sometimes it’s because of the language, but sometimes it’s also because of bad communication and you have to recognize that and not say that it’s because of the language.

I am not good at talking too much with several people I don’t know. When it’s one or two people at the time I am fine, but being in a completely new group of people I need some time to ‘warm up’ and talk with everyone. Before that, I prefer to talk to the people I already know, especially when I didn’t speak Spanish very well. But this is not something that is ‘german’ – that would be an excuse. This is something of my personality and sometimes you have to seperate the personality and the nationality very carefully.

Another thing my mexican family sometimes doesn’t get is that it’s not always easy being away from my family for so long. Sometimes I just get sad from what seems like nothing but that’s because there is this part inside of me that just misses my family and I don’t allow this part to take over me very often. So there are just moments when these emotions win over me and I get sad without any obvious reason. There is nothing I want or can do against it because feeling the emotions is important.

This is what it feels like to live here in Mexico, maybe some of you can understand 🙂



Honeymoon in paradise – my Top 5 places on the Yucatan peninsula

6 months ago, Gus and me got married. After celebrating a beautiful wedding with both our families and a lot of friends there, we went on our honeymoon. At first we had planned to go abroad for this trip but decided then to take advantage of the fact that Mexico has beautiful destinations to offer and we wouldn’t need to get a visa or pay an expensive flight. So we decided to do our honeymoon on the Yucatan peninsula.

The Yucatan peninsula is a place full of history and culture due to Mayas living there for over 1000 years now. Also, the peninsula possesses fascinating flora and fauna such as cenotes and jaguars. Most people only know Cancún as a point of reference on the peninsula. Cancún is the biggest city in the area and home of the most frequented airport in Mexico. Everyday, more passengers pass through Cancún Airport than the airport in Mexico City. Cancún is home to sandy white beaches, a turquoise sea and hundreds of resort hotels. In Cancún you can pay with US-Dollars, expect people to speak English (which is not the case in the rest of Mexico) and see the typical visitor from around the world on an all-inclusive vacation. I hate that place. Everything is so fake. A lot of people never leave the hotel complex and say that they went to Mexico. Mexican restaurants sell westernized food, the main streets of Cancún and close by Playa del Carmen are filled with international chains and you can buy souvenirs from all over Mexico in the stores as if you really had visited the whole country. Also, Cancún is really expensive because people take advantage of the fact, that foreign tourists will pay a rather high price for Mexican standards because it’s still a lot cheaper than in their home country.

As you can see, I am not a big fan of Cancún and neither is Gus. That´s why when we arrived to Cancún airport, we immediately picked up our rental car and got moving to the south of the peninsula. Here, a few hours south of the tourist madness lies a blue paradise: The lagoon of Bacalar or the lagoon of seven colours. The village of Bacalar which is spread out on the lagoon is tiny and there are only small hotels, no chains. The lagoon is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life! It actually is made up of 7 colours because of different depths and plants in the water. The water is sweet (which makes the swim even more enjoyable as I think) but because of the size of the lagoon and the tropical climate you feel as if you were on the Caribbean Sea. There are several cenotes in the lagoon, deep wholes and sources of fresh water, that have there own ecological system and are a paradise for divers.


My top 5 of the Yucatan penisula:

  1. Bacalar
  2. Tulum
  3. Calakmul
  4. Xel-Ha
  5. Holbox

Bacalar is definitely my number 1 destination on the Yucatan peninsula and probably in the whole country that is Mexico. In Bacalar you will get a real Mexican experience – the place, the people, the food etc. The next place I would highly recommend to visit is Tulum. The archaeological area on the lime stone cliff is breathtaking! The town is full of young travelers and the beach is absolutely beautiful. Also, there are several cenotes (fresh water pools) in the area where you can enjoy a swim.


From Bacalar we went to the archaeological area of Calakmul for a day trip. When you have a rented car that’s no problem to do so, if you don’t, the transportation there can be complicated. However, it’s definitely worth to go because Calakmul is an astonishing archaeological site and old Maya city that was a rival of Tikal in Guatemala. Everyday, thousands of tourists visit Chichén Itzá. When we went to the even bigger site of Calakmul, there where about 20 other tourists on the site. And we went on a Sunday, when the entrance to most archaeological sites in Mexico is free. The pyramids that lie in the jungle here are worth a visit and also the view from the top of the pyramids is amazing – you see nothing but green, no sign of civilization what so ever!


Close to Playa del Carmen there are several parks that are supposed to be really good. I have visited Xel-Ha and Xcaret and have to say that they are both expensive but really cool! I especially liked Xel-Ha with it’s mixture of water fun park and actual marine beauty (there is a bay with fishes, corals etc., a cenote and just beautiful beaches).

Holbox is an island on the north coast of the Yucatan peninsula. Due to the position between the Caribbean Sea and the Golf of Mexico, the island is surrounded by very smooth and shallow waters. When we got into the water, we walked and walked and walked before it ever got any deeper. We never walked as far as we couldn’t reach the ground anymore because that would have been to exhausting. When swimming in the sea here, you are almost alone (depending on the beach) and there are fishes and animals here and there. When we were swimming in the sea, 3 young rays passed by and during some months of the year, whale sharks come to the waters of Holbox. The island is rather small and there are no cars, so you get around best by bike or walking. And make sure to plan a lot of time at the beach – you will feel like in paradise!


These 5 are my favorite places on the Yucatan peninsula – of course the list can go on and on – Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, Mérida, Celestún, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres…. What’s important, is that the area is incredibly diverse and paradise like anywhere you go. So just maybe consider going here on a vacation because it’s definitely worth a visit!



Patriotism and an earthquake

For this post I had actually planned to write about last weekend and the national celebration of Mexicos independence day on 16th of September. However, now there is an earthquake I would like to talk about. I am not going to bore you with the facts about the earthquake that happened on tuesday in Central Mexico, you can check that in the news. I want to talk about the atmosphere and what is going on here in Mexico.

The month of september is a month of pride for Mexico due to the celebration of independence. The whole month you find city centers decorated with the faces of the heroes of the independence and with the colours of the flag – white, red and green. This year I heard a little jingle on the radio – imagine a Mariachi like melody singing “México, México, México que país!” Than I don’t remember well the lyrics, but in the end it said “Unidos somos uno, un sólo México”. So translated: “Mexico, Mexico, Mexico, what a country! United we are one, one Mexico.” Never ever would you hear or see such a public display of patriotism in Germany. Yes, ok, we put out our flags for a FIFA worldcup or Europe cup, but that’s no more than pseudo national pride. Mexicans are actually proud to be mexicans! They are aware of the problems in their country, but they love it anyways. That is something I absolutely admire but it’s true – there are a lot of reasons to be proud of our home countries!

The earthquake in Central Mexico happened two days ago and since then everyone I know is doing something to support the people in Mexico City and the states of Morelos and Puebla. People living in Mexico City distribute messages about where help is needed via WhatsApp and facebook, people living in the surrounding cities like Querétaro distribute messages about places where people can bring relief such as food, articles of personal hygiene (diapers, paper, shampoo etc.), blankets, clothes and so on. Daily several trucks and vans leave Querétaro, bringing the needed articles to the affected areas. Just on a short walk in the city center today, I saw 4 of those places where relief is collected – it can be anything: a café, a university, a medical station, any public place really. People are even collecting in their houses to help the people in need. Most of the news you get via facebook and WhatsApp – I read about a woman who is collecting toys and things for children at her home to bring it to the affected areas, there are messages asking for translators because german and english speaking people from european brigades come to Mexico City to evaluate the damages and help with reconstruction. On facebook I saw the message of a couple living in Mexico City that went around several places to bring food yesterday – at three places they were sent away because there was no need for food anymore! The user wrote that it was kind of frustrating but also amazing that so many people are helping!

Mexico is being very strong and the population incredibly supportive. Something that cannot be said from the mexican government where several deputies refused to help the people in need. People are angry about that as they say they pay taxes, so it’s their money the government doens’t want to give them when they are in need. Hopefully, people will remember this in the next election.

The earthquake happened on 19th of september, exactly 32 years later than the last big earthquake in Mexico City in 1985. Mexicans are superstitious and believe in destiny, so they say that this can not have been a coincidence. In 1985, thousands of people got killed and over a million of people where left without their homes. The good news is, that since then, construction improved to prevent such a disaster and it worked: In a city of millions and millions of inhabitants, only around 40 building collapes this time and so far there are 250 dead due to the earthquake.

I also think that this earthquake wasn’t a coincidence. I don’t know yet, what was it’s purpose, but so far the consequences it brings are good: mexicans working together and helping eachother without much help from their government but with a lot of support from one another.

Mariachi and ‘Despacito’

So today I want to talk about music in Mexico. The amount of german music that’s present to mexican people is pretty much limited to Rammstein, Mozart and Beethoven. Other than that people might have heard of the electronic music scene in Germany and of the song “99 Luftballons” from 1990s star Nena, although the english version ’99 red balloons’ ist far more known outside of Germany, I guess.

Same applies to mexican music for us Germans – before coming to Mexico I had never heard of Alejandro Fernandez or Juan Gabriel and they are mexican superstars in the music industry. My brother in law was shocked when he found out that I didn’t know them! However, one mexican musical genre is world-famous I suppose: Mariachi music. This music than can be both happy and sad, but is mostly rather up-beat. It’s usually performed at a birthday or some other event with one or various guitars, violins, trumpets and sometimes different flutes. A typical job for a group of Mariachis is to be send to the window of a woman by the ladies boyfriend or admirer and play for her outside on the streets below her window in order to show the admirers love. Mariachi always dress up in their traditional costume when performing and where the big hats – sombreros. Lately, women can also be Mariachi, although it remains a classic male occupation.

Besides traditional mexican music, there is a lot of US-american music in the radio – sure, stars like Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson or Miley Cirus are known everywhere. The funny part is, that often songs that everyone knows and that are originally in english, have their spanish version. I have this heard with a couple of Beatles songs and with ‘Blame it on the Boogie’ from the Jackson Five (1978), which Luis Miguel (another mexican singer who has become famous in all Latin America) converted to ‘Será que no me amas’ in 1990. The lyrics are more or less similar, but it’s certainly not a direct translation. The melody however is clearly the same.

Spanish music is of course very big in Mexico – whether it comes from Spain, Colombia or any other spanish-speaking country. This means music of all genres and from a lot of different countries, but this music unites Latin America in their identity. Before I came to Mexico, I didn’t know any spanish and had never lived in a spanish-speaking country, but even I knew some songs from my childhood and youth – songs that were played on kids parties and in the radio. Of course the most famous one is ‘La Macarena’ – who doesn’t know this song?! But with some other I surprised Gus even more when singing them: ‘Veo veo’ (Tatiana), ‘Asereje’ (Las Ketchup) or ‘Hijo de la luna’ (Mecano).

Today, songs in spanish or at least in a mix of english and spanish are popular around the globe. Latin singers are conquering even the german radio – Shakira, Ricky Martin or Marc Anthony are just a few examples. Personally, I really like that the latin music is becoming more popular, however I feel a bit sad because so far, only one kind of song part of this trend: happy party music, for example ‘Loca’ or ‘La Bicicleta’ from Shakira, ‘Vayamos compañeros’ by Marquess, ‘Bailando’ from Enrique Iglesias or ‘Danza Kuduro’ by Don Omar. Don’t get me wrong – I love most of these songs and they tend to make me feel like life is easy and all you have to do is dance, but artists like Shakira, Enrique Iglesias or Ricky Martin have so much more to offer than these simple ‘party songs’. But well, apparently these are the songs people want to here – Reggaeton most of all it seems, because not only do I hear ‘Despacito’ from Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee on every street corner here in Mexico, but also in the european radio. Similar to ‘Despacito’, the following songs playing were everywhere during the last couple of months here in Mexico: ‘Subeme la Radio’ (Enrique Iglesias), ‘Chantaje’ (Shakira feat. Maluma), ‘Reggaetón lento’ (CNCO) and ‘Vente pa’ca’ (Ricky Martin feat. Maluma). Songs like this in spanish or mixed between english and spanish are incredibly popular and it seems like more and more artists follow the example of Pitbull or Daddy Yankee in this genre. The thing about this music is, that even though the lyrics usually don’t say much or talk about sex and are often disrespectful towards women, it’s music that will make you move and probably make you feel like you are in the Caribbean dancing on the streets or on the beach – it’s feel-good-music. And well, there are so many songs with no meaning – at least these ones allow you some day dreaming 😉