I’ve just left Mexico City; where I made new friends, was stunned by the sophistication and beauty of its historical center, spent a day touring by bus and another in the ruins of the Teotihuacan pyramids an hour outside the city.
I covered a lot of ground during the five days of my stay, so hang on for a long one! I’m not even counting day one, since all I did was land and eat dinner (for 80 cents – remarkable itself).
Day Two – I headed for the pyramids, by way of a tourist bus that goes right out that way. The bus ride was a boon for me because I met Beth, from Cincinnati – also a solitary woman traveler although married – and we really hit it off. So, I had company in my exploration of the pyramids. The grounds were huge, and I must confess I didn’t get as far as I would have liked. Luckily, I had my new friend with me because I truly struggled. I even went down one set of stairs on my butt – intentionally – as they were steep with nothing to hang onto. But it was all worth it and we rewarded ourselves with a fabulous lunch at La Gruta (The Grotto) – an amazing restaurant inside a huge cavern. Just breathtaking.
Day Three – Moved to a hostel two blocks from the historical center’s Zocalo Plaza – and easy walking to the Palacio Nacional, Templo Mayor and the Metropolitan Cathedral. I just strolled around the area – still exhausted from my pyramid excursion.
Day Four – I revisited the Centro Historico beginning with the Palace, which contains wonderful murals by Diego Rivera amid a mix of ornate and simple architectural touches comprising an enormous area – three city blocks. The grounds include several areas to sit and contemplate among flora and modern art.
Templo Mayor, an Aztec temple to mark the center of the universe, has been built over seven times and finally excavated and preserved right in the heart of the city. It can be partially viewed from the street level, but to fully experience the wonder of an archaeological site of this importance buried beneath a colonial city, I paid the $2.50 to get in and walk the “streets” and visit the 8-story museum with its many artifacts.
The cathedral is overwhelming in its sheer size. Each side is so lavish that it seems to be the front until you arrive at the entrance, which left me speechless for several moments. Inside a service was taking place so I cut my time short inside.
I had lunch atop one of the buildings overlooking Zocalo, then trundled back to the hostel.
Day 5 – I topped off my visit to Cuidad de Mexico with a Turibus ride through two of their routes, which took 8 hours. I really enjoyed the double-decker treat, but missed out on Frida Kahlo’s house due to protests blocking streets. Apparently street protests are a very frequent occurrence in the capital.
I saw so much of the city I became enamored of it. This is an extremely livable city with great transportation, hip neighborhoods like the Condessa district, and tremendous parks, arts and entertainment opportunities. I would love to return someday, maybe several times.
One big plus to my Turibus adventure was meeting Clara and Pedro from Argentina, two lovely young sweethearts who were so generous with their conversation! I may make it to their place for barbeque someday!
Now, I’m in Oaxaca – just settling in but plan to stay awhile. More from the road soon!