Mexico part 5 – Mexico City CDMX

Mexico City, the capital, was my base during the whole stay in Mexico.

I’ve spent in total around a week there and managed to see quite a lot. I’ve lost the count of the precise itinerary, but I want to describe all the top-must-see spots which sum up for the great, not-so-easy-going plan.

– Teotihuacan

The first pyramids I have seen and – at the same time – the biggest ones in Mexico. Built by the Aztec, the team contrary to the Maya. Located around 40 km from Mexico City itself.

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I was there on my first day in Mexico City, so I felt at least WEIRD. More than 2000 meters above the sea level, still a bit jet lagged, I was losing breath every single step and my heart jumping out of my chest due to lack of oxygen. But the weather was perfect… well, the Mexicans were wearing winter jackets, caps and scarves, but us – Gringos – felt perfect.

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Thanks gods (Sun and Moon, in Aztec case) for the huge crowd of people lining to climb the summit, we could at least walk slowly… I just wonder if tones of tourists will not destroy Teotihuacan sooner or later?

There is an amazing restaurant nearby, which is built inside the cave, totally underground, where I’ve drunk the best by far Margarita of cactus flower flavor.

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– Coyoacan

My favourite district in CDMX (Ciudad de Mexico)! Lovely markets full of local art, fresh fruits, weird chili sweets, pinatas and stylish souvenirs (really, the supply for typical tourists was surprisingly good quality and not-made-in-China!). I have even eaten the grasshoppers, fried with lemon!

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Astonishing architecture. Many colors and cultural places. A park with the wolves statue (symbolizing that before the city there was nothing but forest there).

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Worth visiting, wandering around, spending a decent amount of time and even a bit of money (I bought lovely jewellery there).

– Xoxhimilco

We have visited Xoxhimilco a day after Chiara’s birthday party not without the reason… It was perfect to just chill and relax from the fast pace of the downtown Mexico City (and the remainings of the party in our blood).

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This part of the city is filled with the long canals (which are the remaining of the lake which was covering the whole area before the city was even started) are quiet and full of nature. You can take one of the colorful boats and enjoy the cruise in silence and sunshine. The boats are so colorful and have very silly names!

– Chapultepec

Each big city has a castle or palace. So has Mexico City. It is located on the hill, in the middle of the huge park.

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It was not the best idea to go there on Sunday since the amount of families enjoying the free time in nature (with crazy kids running and shouting, of course) was far too much. Nevertheless, there is a beautiful panorama of the whole city visible from the castle.

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You can also see Reforma – the main avenue of Mexico City, which was modeled on Champs Elysees in Paris. It ends with the Angel de la Independencia statue, which is a symbol of Mexico’s release from Spanish rule in 1810, after around 400 years.

– Frida Kahlo’s house

I had huge expectations from this museum and was slightly disappointed.

Well, the exhibition itself was great – apart from Kahlo’s and her husband’s (Diego Rivera, famous muralist), you can see all the interior of the house with authentic furniture, painting accessories and even a special hall dedicated to Frida’s garments. On the other hand, it wasn’t really well-organized. Insane line to enter the building, then walking in a single file from one corner of the room to another and being told off by the museum staff to walk faster was rather annoying.

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But I loved the blue walls of the house 🙂

– Anthropology museum

I usually don’t go to historical museums. I am not that much into this field, do not memorize much from what I see and I prefer art exhibitions which give me enriching aesthetical and creative experiences.

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Yes, that’s the original!

I enjoyed this one a lot, though. It gave me a lot of basic knowledge (I was surprised how little had I known about North America, why do they teach us in school just about Europe here…) – from the difference between Mayas and Aztecs to the contemporary-times culture in Mexico.

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– Modern Art Museum

Modern art museum is my must-see in every city I go to. I was really keen on seeing this one since I wanted to compare if there is a lot of ‘mexicanicity’ even in today’s art of the globalized and more-less unified world). And yes, there is, but in principle it all concerns the same topics: these ones which currently bother the particular group of people.

Some time ago I’ve seen an exhibition in Warsaw, in which a significant part concerned the refugee crisis and problems which refugees and the society are facing.

Apart of controversial photographs of beauty in corporeality and the Swiss design, there was one exhibitions which also concerned the migration. Guillermo Gomez-Pena depicted stereotypes and controversies around the Mexicans and the way they are falsely perceived in the US.

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– Zócalo

Typical main square – parliament building, shops, restaurants, Christmas decorations, ice rink (well, in that temperature it is more of a lake, but they try hard), cathedral…

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And that’s the fun part, because just near the cathedral you can see the old temples discovered under the other buildings. Yes, Mexico City we know was built on the top of other city. And it was typical of the Spanish to build catholic churches at the top of Aztec and Maya pyramids…

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– Bellas Artes, Casa de los Azulejos and the Post Office

I’m giving those 3 spots in one point, since they are all nearby and all are TOP for their architecture.

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Palacio de Bellas Artes is one of the most important attractions in CDMX. It’s really impressive, built in Art Nouveau / Neoclassicism from the outside and Art Deco in the inside. There are dedicated murals of Diego Rivera and other artists on the walls, and today the palace – apart from crowds of tourists – still hosts music, theatre and dance events.

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Casa de los Azulejos – just on the other side of the street. Honestly, I don’t remember what is inside this building (a shop? a restaurant?). I was just so overwhelmed by the beautiful blue mosaic everywhere on the outside walls!

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And if the main Post Office in Łódź looked like the one in Mexico City, I would let my dad send me to pick up the parcels more often!

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– Guadalupe

Place of distant from me religious cult. That’s the site of apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the most important apparitions of Mary in the Americas.

Putting the religious value aside – this place was a mystery for me.

There is a beautiful, old, conventional Villa de Guadalupe church there. Since the surface waters make the ground subside and the church is already tilted like a tower in Pisa, they built a modern church just nearby… Well, it was supposed to be a church, but for me – it looks like an aquarium or other zoological building. I wonder if there was any architectural control over it. But the Mexicans love it so maybe that’s just their style…


 

Overall impression of Mexico? It was so surprising! So much different from what I imagined!

To be honest – I though that Mexico will another India – dangerous, disorganized, falling apart. And I’m sure there are dangerous places to which I was lucky not to get into, but in general concept – I didn’t feel much different from Europe.

If Lviv looks like a poorer Polish any-city from 50 years ago, some Mexican cities can be definitely compared to their Spanish counterparts from the past. Mexico is – for me – like a combination of Spain, what I imagine to be Cuba and the US with some folklorist additives.

It’s good that I shifted to the non-vegetarian mode for this holiday (I have seasons in my life – most of the time I’m vegetarian, than I eat meat for some period and then stop again), cause there is not many meat-free options in Mexico. Now I understand the struggle of the Mexicans I knew in India, where you can’t find much more than chicken.

People are lovely – warm-hearted, open and hospitable. No-one ever treated me bad for being an obvious foreigner. They just never could get that chili is really spicy for me 😀 But maybe that’s just mindset difference…

I just regret not having more time to explore other parts of the country too (but it’s always like this, there is never enough time… I still haven’t been to some places in Poland!) – Guadalajara, Oaxaca (cheese!), Monterrey, Chihuahua (yes, those rat-like dogs come from there), Baja California and Chiapas are still waiting for me. And so is Tequila! Yes, there is a city from which all the tequila in Mexico come! Why am I not there yet?!

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