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Published: November 9th 2018
Today is earmarked for Ian’s tour of the historic centre. We start early to avoid the heat...and actually it’s a tad chilly! We begin with breakfast at a pavement cafe in the zocalo. Eggs and beans for me, omelette in a tangy sauce for Ian.
We begin at the cathedral on the zocalo. The tower is supposed to be open so that we can frighten ourselves to death climbing it for superb views of the city. Anyway, it’s no longer open to the public so we are spared the suspense.
We enter the Biblioteca Palafoxiana opposite, the former bishop’s palace, which is said to house 50,000+ books. It’s not open yet but we are able to access the courtyard.
We then head down various streets, faced with traditional fronted buildings. Many of the buildings are covered in decorated 17th century tiles. We also pass through the artist’s quarter with its arts and crafts market, El Parian, established in 1940. This leads on to yet another square in front of the Principle Theatre. All is very colourful and quaint.
Rather than complete the loop of the historic quarter we decide to head to the 5 de Mayo park,
a mere 20 minute walk uphill. Once in the park, we are promised a theme park. UK kids would be disappointed - it’s not the huge fun fair that I was expecting but rather a themed trail of scenes from within the state depicting its history. They have the look of carnival floats about them.
At the highest point of the park is Fort Loreto, site of a major battle with the French in 1862. From here we enjoy fantastic views across the city, including a panoramic view of the volcanoes which surround this city. Only one of them, Popocatepetl, is currently active, having erupted two years ago. The other two, Iztaccihuatl and Malinche, are now dormant.
It’s gone 11am and we are approaching the main heat of the day as we make our way to the city’s teleferico. First we must ascend a tall building in a lift to reach the cable car. We are the only passengers so we get the whole car to ourselves. It’s a fairly short run...just over 600 metres, but the views are spectacular. From up here we also spot a few more ‘themes’ that we missed earlier. We also see the
football stadium which has housed the World Cup twice, a suspension bridge and the city planetarium, amongst other things.
We make the return trip on the cable car and walk back into the centre. The sun is now fierce so we return to our hotel to siesta before completing the remainder of Ian’s history tour.
It’s gone two and we feel ready to face the sun again. The tall buildings mean that the streets here offer good shade once the midday sun has passed. We head back to the zocalo, then pass through streets with more colourful buildings including the City Hall and the Casa de Los Munecos - a tiled house built for an 18th century mayor.
We walk down a road famous for its handmade candies and crystallised fruits. We take care not to look too closely! We finish at the 17th century temple of San Christobel. Now Ian would like to visit the Santa Rosa Covent museum. Unfortunately we cannot find it - we conclude it’s another of those buildings no longer open...many have been closed due to damage by the last earthquake here.
This evening we have decided to eat at one
of the many Italian restaurants on the square. We choose to eat on the pavement terrace which may be a mistake as it’s somewhat chilly now, but it’s really pretty as everything is all lit up.
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