Sunday, March 1, 2015

Saturday in Mexico City

Every street is filled with people.
I have never visited such as busy place as Mexico City on a Saturday. Everybody is out and everybody is shopping. There are streets displaying only clothing for children, arcades of craft and school supplies,
windows of quinceañera dresses, and department stores filled with luxury items.
The ceiling in EL Palacio de Hierro reminds me of the old Samaritaine store in Paris.
The population of the Mexico City metropolitan area is 21.2 million people making it the largest city in North America. It is the oldest capital city in The Americas and one of two that were built before the coming of Europeans.
The Aztec city of Tenochtitlan was built in 1325.

The Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, built in 1325 and housing over 200,000 inhabitants, was a modern city when Cortés visited in 1519. The zócalo on which my hotel looks out was the principal square of the Aztecs and Moctezuma's house stood on the site of my hotel (so says the information book in my room).

El Templo Mayor was the main temple of the Aztecs.
When the Spaniards conquered Tenochtitlan, they destroyed the Aztec city. The site of the hotel became the Viceroy's house and the major temple was destroyed with its foundations rediscovered in the 20th century. The Cathedral  that stands on its site is the largest in The Americas.
tile work showing the crest of La Ciudad de México
Largest square, largest population, largest cathedral, most museums…..Are you noticing a theme?
Mexico City was just too large for me yesterday. After my travel day and my hotel fiasco, all I did yesterday was wander the streets of El Centro Histórico which is a UNESCO Heritage site. I felt quite safe although I heard no English and I did not see any "obvious" tourists (no cameras or maple leaves).


The flowers are real.
Sometimes, bad luck brings good luck. The Zócalo Central hotel was a true Mexican hotel with a quiet elegance that I probably would not have found at an American chain. There are flowers everywhere, tropical fish, a dulce on my bed each evening and right now I hear a marching band in the Zócalo. I leave this afternoon for Oaxaca after a brief introduction to the capital. I'm glad to have visited but I would have needed more days to explore and probably my trusted travelling companion!
This picture is for Janet. These are called quesadillas but they are more like a deep-fried crust stuffed with cheese-filled  zucchini flowers.


5 comments:

  1. I'm so impressed by your independence and resilience in travelling. You're truly a role model! What an overwhelmingly large city, but so very much to see and learn.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you. Mexico City was a challenge with the hotel confusion and the size of the city. I had read some books a few years ago about Cortés and the Aztecs so I could focus on the area around my hotel which was the centre of the Tenochtitlan.. It seems that big cities can be broken down into more manageable units.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really like how your photos focus on those small details found amidst the throngs of the city. Looking forward to more.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mexico City can be overwhelming, but there is so much to see and do. I have lost track of how many times I have been there, yet I always find something to do, and somewhere new to explore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In such a large city, I was surprised to find so many kind people. The hotel staff were exceptional
      in their eagerness to tell me about the history and their skill in English. I did not even scratch the surface of the culture.

      Delete