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Published: July 10th 2009
Day 815 (23.06.09)
With the comfort of our homely setting of Kate and Danny's flat it was hard to tear ourselves away but after a nice brekkie we left the apartment to find out what Mexico City had to offer us. Jumping on the tube we made our way south(ish) to the Coyoacan area home to some historical, cultural and horticultural sites.
We started off with the large park in Coyoacan which is not only a great place to stroll but is also the nursery for a lot of the Botanical parks and gardens in the city. Not long after stepping foot in the park we were confronted by loads of curious squirrels who were quite happy scuttling within feet of us. Progressing through the park we reached the central 'plaza' and were amazed to find small groups of guys in Matador school. Fascinated, we took a seat and watched them practising. We were especially amused by the guys sporting a pair of bull horns on a pole pretending to be the bull (some going as far as making bull noises) charging their mates who would elegantly dodge the oncoming assault. Great entertainment.
Leaving the park and moving
further into the historic area, we reached what used to be the central plaza for a small town which was enveloped in the expanding metropolis of Mexico city. Quaint and still retaining the small town feel, we took in the bustle of everyday life before moving onto the local market for a spot of lunch. Not hugely hungry after our breakfast at the flat we looked for a light snack, but ended up with a banquet of a three course taco and enchilada lunch instead!
It seems as though whenever the words 'Mexico' and 'Art' are put in the same sentence the two names that immediately follow are those of two artists called Freda Kahlo (who sports a rather spectacular monobrow in all her self portraits) and her one-time husband Diego Rivera. Whilst in the area we had to see what this was all about so visited Freda's old house (now gallery and museum) to see what it was all about. It was interesting, not really our 'cup of tea' in terms of the art but in our instant critic style visit we had a good time trying to understand the eccentric couple.
With our feet telling us
that they were ready for a rest, we stopped off at the market once more to pick up food for dinner and headed back to the flat for a slap up fish feast.
Day 816 (24.06.09)
With our sights set on the historical centre of Mexico City for today's fun and games we once again used the tube and stepped out onto the main plaza in Zocalo. This is rumoured to be the third largest in the world (I think) and looked huge even with an event taking place filling it with marquees.
Walking through the massive cathedral lining one edge of the plaza we sat and took in the enormity of the building and the stories behind the art and carvings it contained. Back outside we also got a proper view of the tilt that has occurred since its construction many years ago. This tilt has been caused basically because Mexico City was founded on a swamp and the foundations were neither deep or strong enough to support the massive structure causing it to sink unevenly.
Across the corner of the plaza we next headed to the Palacio Nacional. The heart of Mexico's political scene
and the location of the once a year shout of 'Viva Mexico', the Palacio is home to some of Diego Rivera's biggest and best murals which are not to be missed if you are in the city. Covering Mexico's history it is a one stop shop visual timeline where the more you look the more detail and hidden messages (including his famous communist viewpoint) become visible.
Taking to the streets we took some time to walk and take in the local life and the hustle and bustle around the plaza. It was a really nice area to simply see where our feet took us and then try and work out how to get back to the plaza.
We had finally planned to go up the Torre Latinamericano tower to a bar overlooking the city and so we sat and watched the sun dip lower in the sky sipping on a couple of delicious cocktails. A superb way to finish a days touristing if you ask me!
Day 817 (25.06.09)
Yet again taking our time in the morning, we were off to another town swallowed by the spreading Mexico City in the form of the San Angel
We spent a great time pounding the pretty cobbled streets and plazas, popping into the galleries and through the flower market. Before we turned tail back to the flat we finished by stopping off at a lovely local cafe for a coffee.
We also had a funpacked eveing. After a really nice traditional Mexican dinner at a local restaurant we all went over to a local salsa bar, Mama Rumba's, where they had a lesson. It was a lot of fun, if a little cramped, and we learnt some great new moves to test out on the next salsa night out. We then went to another local bar where a load of Kate's work colleagues were celebrating the end of term.
Day 818 (26.06.09)
With yet another relaxed morning in the bag (are you seeing a trend here?) and all with the friday off work, we jumped on a local bus, and then another bus out to see some of the precolumbian restored pyramids at Teotihuacan.
Arriving with rain clouds on the horizon it was touch and go as to whether we would make it through without getting a soaking. Climbing the many steep
steps to the tops of both the Sun temple and Moon temple gave us a great idea of the site as a whole with plazas, temples, administrative and living areas stretching on for over a mile. Well worth the visit.
Back in the city and Kate and Danny had decided to cancel their salsa class to join us for an evening of wrestling. Lucha Libre is massive in Mexico with wrestlers becoming some of the city's stars and wrestling masks and memorabilia one of the biggest selling items at markets. We thought we should go see what all the hype was about.
It was a hilarious night. We got some pretty good tickets (for about a fiver) and laughed and cheered with the rest of the wild crowd as grown men and women in skimpy spandex threw themselves around, and occasionally right out of, the ring. The athleticism was amazing and with plenty of drama and humour like the midget mascot getting slammed by one of the wrestlers and an old wrestler in too small pants being carried off on a stretcher the evening was well worth it! Unfortunately you will have to take our word for it
as we had to check our cameras in at the arena as we weren't allowed to take them in.
Day 819 (27.06.09)
We finished off our time with Kate and Danny with a great brunch together with some other friends of theirs and an afternoon at the local art-n-craft market. Kate and Danny were collecting some last things for the stag and wedding including 13 wrestling masks (loads of fun trying them all on) whilst we got a couple more amazingly impractical souvenirs to take home!
We packed up and had a few cocktails, some chatting and a couple of hands of poker which saw us finish ourtime with kate and Danny with a great but quiet night in the flat before heading to the airport the following morning. Thanks a million guys for letting us stay, it was great to see you and very kind of you letting us invade your home.
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