Saturday, September 13, 2014

Three days in Mexico City

I lost five pounds over ten days in Mexico, and I didn't get ill. I consumed less than I do at home, but I think most of the weight loss came from walking. Certainly I ached more than normal. So the following itinerary might not be for everyone, but it can be done. I was in the state of Veracruz for a week before I went to Mexico City, but that's somewhat off the tourist trail (although if you have a way to get around it is a fantastic place to visit) so I'll leave that part of the trip out.

Sunday: My hotel was conveniently close to the Paseo de la Reforma, a two-mile boulevard dotted with statues and very friendly to cyclists, so I walked there and then up to the cathedral and other buildings on the Zocalo (central square). It's non-stop mass on Sundays but you can go inside and look around without joining in. Outside there are people selling things and native people dancing for tourists. Then on to the Templo Mayor, and then the Diego Rivera murals at the National Palace. Chocolate and churros for lunch before heading all the way down the Paseo de la Reforma to visit the anthropological museum in Chapultepec Park. Drink 1.5 litres of hibiscus-flavored water (not as good as it sounds, but how could it be?) on the way back to the hotel. Dinner at the surprisingly not bad chain restaurant Vips.

Monday: Almost all museums are closed in Mexico City on Mondays, so it's a good day to visit Teotihuacan. I decided to book a tour there, though, and it didn't go until Tuesday, so I headed by metro to the Coyoacan area, where my guidebook describes a walk, which I did. Walked past the closed Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky houses, and should have had lunch in this area but instead kept walking until I reached a metro station. Headed up to the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, which involved a bit of a walk through a not very prosperous neighborhood but no one mugged me and the threatened rain stayed away. The Aztec ruins here turned out to be open (and free), which was a nice surprise. Very similar to the Templo Mayor, but without the museum. The church was closed, but for all I know it always is. Then on by metro to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where there was, oddly, an unsuccessful snake charmer (outside the metro, not in the church), and another mass going on. Moving walkways behind and below the priest take you past the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary. Back to Vips for lunch at dinner time, then dinner almost immediately after at a place called Hellfish.

Tuesday: Bus trip to Teotihuacan (should have gone by public transport and walked to the murals at Tepantitla). Arrived not long after the place opened, but even later in the day it was not very crowded. Spent the morning looking around and climbing pyramids, then off to taste tequila (followed by too much time in a gift shop) and eat lunch. Back in the city I visit the murals in the Palacio de Bellas Artes and have dinner at the old world-seeming Restaurante Danubio, whose walls are covered with framed cartoons and messages from, presumably, happy customers. 

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