The river runs from one side of this valley bowl to the other.

Without doubt, my favorite thing about Orizaba is the river walk.  The rio comes down out of the mountains crystal clear and icy cold and, at some point, slips itself into the steep-banked, mostly paved path it has carved through the center of Orizaba, from one side to the other.  It’s a little surreal to see the water rushing over man-made waterfalls and around the foundations of buildings.  Along each side of the river are sidewalks, and nearly every street that ends at or crosses over the rio has stairs or ramps that take you right down to the path. Dotted here and there along the river walk, sometimes appearing unexpectedly around a curve, are large, well tended enclosures full of animals.  It’s a zoo!  Granted, I’d like for the deer to have some green grass to walk on and lie in, and the monkeys would probably be happy with a little more space to swing and play, but I almost always feel that way about zoos.  You can tell, though, that these animals are well cared for.  None of them seem shy of humans, none of them appear depressed or anxious, none of them are dirty or underfed, and the enclosures get a daily cleaning.  That says a lot about a zoo.

Also dotting the walk are small parks, picnic benches, and little chess tables just waiting to be used.

Walkways, rope bridges, and other foot paths allow walkers the occasional chance to cross the river.

Every bridge arches gracefully over river and walk alike.

Another fun feature of the river walk are occasional pieces of large-scale outdoor sculpture, like this angel hovering beneath a bridge.

I really, really wanted to rub his fuzzy horns.

Bunnies!!!! Squeee!

This big kitty rumbled and rubbed on the bars ’til his caretaker gave him a thorough chin scratch.

Even pigeons have a place here.