There are many compelling vistas for the traveler heading west of Mexico City on Route 15. The extinct Nevado de Toluca volcano, for example, dominates the scene to the left. Within its now quiet caldera lie two lakes, which, at an altitude of more than 15,000 feet, are among the highest places in the world where people scuba dive. The volcano's lakes thus offer the opportunity to get altitude sickness and the bends at the same time.
Then there are the views to the right as Route 15 turns from a busy highway into a twisting, two-lane mountain road. Pondering the sheer drops from the switchbacks my bus is negotiating can be the cause of--or cure for, depending on one's particular physiology--the gastrointestinal problems this part of the world is famous for inadvertently inflicting on gringos like me.
This article was originally published with the title Visiting Royalty.