Monday, May 28, 2018

Mexico City 1/25 - 2/1/18 (and 1/12 - 1/15/17)

Proud bustling Mexico City

So interesting and something I did not know: During the Aztec period, Mexico City was initially built over a lake, the Lago deTexcoco. Aztecs built an artificial island by dumping soil into the lagoon. Later, the Spaniards erected a second Mexico City atop the ruins of Tenochtitlán."*  We learned all about this on our trip and it is fascinating to me.

We learned so much about the culture, the mixing of people, the Aztec, Mayans, Spaniards. Each time period is compelling and so well described by the Diego Rivera's murals at the National Palace. The murals were begun in 1929 and was completed in 1935, soon after the Mexican Revolution. Every ethnic group is represented and he did a most amazing job. I was utterly astounded and brought to tears with the beauty of these masterpieces.

There is so much offered in Mexico City and it would take a lifetime to enjoy the riches.  It is a beautiful city, much walkable in the historic district.  I arrived earlier than my travel group because I wanted to be sure I could adjust to the altitude.  I stayed by myself and walked around and took two tours and had a ball.  I made a wonderful new friend from "Georgia" and when I asked -- Atlanta or where? and Jeff said, no the country.  We had nice tours together, talks and lunch and beer.  Who knew I would gain a Georgian friend.  It was a treat.

The Mexico City group who welcomed us were such fun and loving people.  They made sure that we saw everything possible in our time there.  When one looks at the "top 10 to see in Mexico City" we were treated to the top 15.  Such varied activities, sights, learning opportunities, food tasting, and fun and more fun.

We were welcomed with a party, and our last night treated to another party.  We (my group of 16) were treated so well and I thank all the home hosts, day hosts, all who participated and gave so much of their time and energy.

I will mention my family of course.  First, Maru, who is very active in FFI Mexico City and her husband, Jorge.  He is an engineer and work on substructures which with all the earthquakes in Mexico City must be a challenge.  Their daughter and grand daughter live with them so we had a fun household to join.  It was (to me) surprisingly cold while we were there and I spent a lot of time bundled up.  Sort of caught me by surprise (that seems to happen to me a lot).  But I did have my coat, just not the heavier one I needed.

We were treated to a Welcome Party and Farewell Party.  Home cooked foods and trips to some wonderful restaurants.  We were driven around and several times van transportation was provided.  It was a culturally rich trip and I know the hosts wanted to share their past and present culture.  I don't think they could have done a better job.

I'm not going to list all the places we went because you can find that in any guide book.  A city very rich in public art that was beautiful, extreme, fun and displayed everything under the sun.  I'll share some photos that hopefully you will find interesting.

Huge, huge bakery I found walking downtown

Such adorable cakes

Early morning, no people yet.
Later this street will be packed.

City is full of grand doors

Free Dali art right downtown
What a surprise


View from the top

Big city, not too much smog on this day.

At the top, after a long, long walk up to see
Capilla del Cerrito (Chapel on the Hill), overlooking new Basilica.
This is my Jeff, from Georgia, who I met on our tour yesterday.

After two days on my own, I join my FFI group at the airport for the night, head to Chaipas, and now I'm starting the Mexico City portion of my trip.

We were welcomed with a great party.

My host family, Maru and Jorge.  Brenda
was my roommate, from Manitoba, Canada

Happened to see lovely girl getting her
quinceanera photos taken.  Beautiful.

Diego Rivera - fell in total love with his work.
A true master of murals.

Bust of Diego, cool peacock.  Museo Dolores Olmedo,
This museum should not be missed.

Xochilmco, blend of fun and learning about city's past.

Jorge, my host.  He was a fun loving guy, life
of the party and astute gentleman.

Sweet and caring Maru, totally organized busy, woman.
She wore native clothes every day, from different regions
and always looked like a million dollars.  Wonderful
hostess who made us laugh and feel at home

Ballet Folklorico de Mexico
Wonderful night up at Chapultepec Castle (huge history)
seeing the famous dancers perform

Tamales for breakfast - a first

Great breakfast in dining room.
Maru looking so beautiful in her native textile dress.

The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest building in Teotihuacan, believed to have 
been constructed about 200 CE, and one of the largest in Mesoamerica.  Wonderful
to visit and it was so cold and the wind was howling literally.

It was so, so cold and the wind was howling.

This was a dessert option at lunch, so glad I chose it.  A cactus pear, ripened to
perfection, prepared in such a way that it tasted like pure heaven.  A favorite.  This
is special to their restaurant so I don't think this can be found?

Ripening cactus "prickly pear" fruit.

Old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Visited by millions of people each year and considered
as a most holy place.

The new Basilica that houses the cloak of Don
Diego.  Very interesting visit.

Beautiful home, wood and tile work.

In Mexico, we sat at the dining table, again 
lovely fresh fruit, pastry.

Coat of Arms of Mexico
Mexican Golden Eagle devouring Rattlesnake

Aztec stone calendar

Replica of Montezuma's headdress

Palacio Nacional
 Painted between 1929 and 1935, History of
Mexico murals by Diego Rivera
His work takes my breath away, a genius

Chapultepec Castle - a very interesting history.  Great place 
to visit, it is very beautiful and well preserved.

Top of the hill with a wonderful view of the city

Chapoltepec means "at the grasshopper's hill" and
this fountain is a grasshopper.

Several nice murals were in the Castle showing
some of the history of Mexico

This was so odd to me -- Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, installed as emperor of Mexico by French Emperor Napoleon III in 1864.  He was
assassinated in 1867

My home host, Jorge, who is an engineer
designed the substructures for these beautiful buildings.

Castle Dining Room

Empress Carlota of Mexico was a Belgian princess 

Huge stained glass windows

The castle served many purposes over the years, and in 1876, it was designated as the 
Astronomical, Meteorological, and Magnetic Observatory for several years.

A full time job I'm sure.  The floors gleamed.

Walking around the castle there was a 360 degree view of the City.  Chapultepec 
has the rather dubious distinction of being the only castle within North America to 
ever house actual sovereigns.

Our Farewell Party.  So hard to say goodbye.

Our hosts wore many native outfits and looked

We were treated to a lavish dinner with wine, tequila and mariachis.

Each of us were given a lovely shawl from our
generous hosts who spoiled us every day.

That music in a small room was blasting off the walls.
It was a wonderful, fun filled party.

We were serenaded by Rosie and many
encores were requested.

 Jorge and Maru having fun dancing.

Hasta luego beautiful Mexico City and
to all our new friends.  

hasta que nos encontremos de nuevo

A great city, filled with public art, amazing murals, colors, and a great vibe.  Highly recommended as a place to visit and I hope to return to see some of the things I missed.  Dejo una parte de mi corazón aquí.