A Travellerspoint blog

One Day at a Time in Mexico City

sunny 25 °C

Our day started in Guatemala City at 4am when we took the hotel shuttle to the airport for our flight to Mexico. We flew past one of the world's most active volcanoes, Popocatapetl, which erupted just a few days ago and disrupted flights with a plume of ash 4 kilometres in the air. It gave us no trouble today and by 11am we had dropped our bags at our hotel in the Condesa District of Mexico City, had a late breakfast, and took the open-topped tour bus to get an overview of this capital. First, a glimpse of the modern city soaring above the tree lined boulevards...
The city's parks and squares are filled with statues of the great and the good, including this very famous one of the last Aztec emperor, Cuauhte'moc. His feet were immersed in boiling oil in the early 16th century by Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes in order to extract the whereabouts of Montezuma's gold. Cuauhte'moc was tortured for three years before being hung - probably a relief.
Cortes got his hands on some of the Aztec's treasure, but Montezuma is still getting his revenge on foreign invaders – though, luckily, not on us on this trip so far.
Christophe Colon, (Christopher Columbus), was probably to blame for the catastrophe that befell the Aztecs, along with the Toltecs, Mayans and numerous other indigenous civilizations in the Americas, but he is seen as a hero throughout the continents of the New World. This is his statue in Mexico City...
The historic central square in Mexico City, known as the Zocalo, is surrounded by magnificent buildings and the largest cathedral in Latin America...
The Spanish built the cathedral on the site of the Aztec's Templo Mayor and, to add insult to injury, even used some of the building materials from the temple. The Zocalo was the principle ceremonial site for the Aztecs prior to the Spanish invasion – yet another reason for Montezuma's revenge.

The monumental entrance to the Central Park in the heart of the city is quite magnificent...
And the nearby Palacio de Bellas Artes is a stunning building that hosts cultural events including music, dance and opera....
There are so many important buildings, museums and galleries in Mexico City that we will have difficulty getting to all of them in the next three days – but we will try. Here are a couple to begin with...
This enormous triumphal arch in the Plaza de la Republica commemorates the revolution that lasted from 1910 to 1920 and radically reformed the government.
Whereas this gold plated winged goddess is called the Angel of Independence and celebrates Mexico's independence from Spain on September 16th 1810...
Many of the shady tree lined boulevards and parks are filled with weekend markets and it seems that most of the twenty million locals, along with the many tourists, are out looking for a bargain ...
The national museums, galleries and tourist sites, are free for Mexicans at the weekends, so there were long lines in some of the more popular places. Maybe things will be quieter by Monday and Tuesday.

Posted by Hawkson 17:44 Archived in Mexico

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Great photos as usual.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Oh that looks wonderful! Feeling rather envious on this cold and foggy day!

by Catherine

Impressed at how clear everything is. Memories of Guadalajara--after 11 am smog from vehicles made eyes water and haze over everything downtown.
Note the heavy jackets and sweaters on many. 25 degrees chilly? Minus 13 in Ottawa at noon today.

by R and B

Great to see your photos. They bring back memories of my visit to Mexico City last year. Do go in to the Palaccio de Bellas Artes - they have free tours of the building and you can see the magnificent Tiffany safety curtain.
I found the Mexicans generous to senior citizens, with free entry to some places and at Frida Kahlo's house, we were fast-tracked to the front of the queue. In that area, do go and see Trotsky's house too.
The archaeological museum is another must!
Les deseo mucha alegria!
The underground is interesting with women only carriages and pictograms for station names.
You're going to be busy for 3 days!
How long were you in Central America? I'm wondering about going there or maybe India in Nov.

by Heather M-T

Jim, you should be a history teacher ! I am learning so much more from your blog than I would be by reading travel guides or books.
Happy and safe onwards travels.

by Christine Lloyd

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