El Oro de Hidalgo, Edomex, Mexico

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El Oro de Hidalgo is a small town at the border of Estado de México, close to the state of Michoacan. One can take a three-hour bus from the Observatorio/Poniente coach station in Mexico City.

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Whilst the modern-day El Oro extends much further than this, you are welcomed by this arch before entering the city proper.

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It was founded by Jesuits as a mining town (gotta pay for His Holiness golden throne and studd somehow), and so the free museum with the houses of the English mining company is an attraction. It’s not terribly interesting the and tunnels available to the public don’t go to any depth at all, but it’s free and it’s got a staff who’s very enthusiastically showing tourists things.

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Its main attraction is the several European buildings in its historic centre. Unique in Mexico is a mix of English and French architecture, influenced by the abundance of English miners and French priests who shaped the town since around the independence of Mexico.

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It also had one of the first railways in Mexico, and so there are plenty of railway stuff around.

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There’s likewise a small park called Tiro Norte. I’m not entirely sure what it’s supposed to be, however.

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It doesn’t really have international tourists and is quite a peaceful and relaxing town.

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The municipal palace from the other side.

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Some modern art thing.

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The mining museum.

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The theatre in the main square.

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A train-themed restaurant. Quite popular. Always a queue.

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Plenty of markets around. Things are cheap. I bought a number of artisanal products.

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Its main church.

Toluca, Edomex, Mexico

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Toluca is the capital of the State of Mexico and was at one point considered for the country’s national capital. It’s today a major city for car exports to the United States.

The layout of the historic centre was very similar to that of Mexico City’s. But outside of the small centre, it’s not that nice.

Amecameca, Edomex (Mexico City Metropolitan Area)

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Amecameca, or colloquially Ameca, is a small town in the State of Mexico, once again within the Mexico City metropolitan area.

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In the city centre, there are several structures, such as this arch.

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But the two volcanoes close by are much bigger attractions.

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Or rather, the Paseo de Cortes, where the Spaniard allegedly passed, or the hiking trails up.

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Within the city, one could walk up a smaller hill to a church.

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Or to the hacienda, an area that’s basically like a hotel resort/theme park.

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The volcanoes are not that frequently visited, and travelling up there wasn’t entirely easy. It took me literally hours just waiting and waiting. There’s a small museum up there but nothing much. Kept worrying about not being able to get a bus back to Ameca.

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The hacienda was genuinely decent. It’s got something for everyone – there’s a maze, there were pools, there’s a lake with stuff, there were workshops, there were museums, there were biking trails, and there’s this historical building, where the famed Mexican poet The Rev Sister Juana Inés de La Cruz lived for several years. She’s the woman featured on the $200 banknote, and this was the literal scene. #feminism

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There were two workshops – one to make your own volcano, another one to make cheese (I wasn’t sure if I did it right).

Naucalpan, Estado de México (Mexico City Metropolitan Area)

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The Los Remedios church in Naucalpan de Juárez. The Mother of God, St Mary The Virgin, was obviously aiding the Catholic Spaniards when they fought against the natives, and she was at the time known as the virgin of Los Remedios.

Nevertheless, after Mexico has gained its independence, the only living saint switched side and supported the Mexicans instead. Legend has it the statue of the Los Remedios virgin was then moved to the ground of this church. It’s a nice basilica.

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Another one of State of Mexico’s second-largest city’s main attraction, the Los Arcos water transport system. It’s no longer in use but it’s basically a smaller version of the one in Queretaro. It’s easier to take a good photo of it too.

This reasonably big city within the Mexico City metropolitan area has been home for the past several years due to its proximity to my place of work. It’s mostly a residential city,  and not a touristy place. Big-name architects did construct a handful of iconic structures in the city, including the Satélite Towers, the town’s symbol. In the native language, “Naucalpan” means “four neighbourhoods”, and it officially has “de Juárez” attached to its name, in honour of the nation’s favourite president.

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The beginning and the end of the aqueduct. It hasn’t got much around it.

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Rumour has it that Cortés hid out in the city when he and his gang were forced out of Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, by the indigenous people.

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The city from the top of Cerro de Moctezuma, an archaeological site with nothing.