A slug meets a snail. The latter says to the former: “You’re soft, who are you?” (in Serbian, we spell that last sentence “mexi-co-ci-ty” 🙂 ). And so, our arrival in this enormous city started with a very funny joke. It is funny, it really is.
Apart from everything we didn’t know before visiting Mexico City, I should also inform you about what is worth seeing.
The flight from Merida to the capital city we spent half-asleep, getting up early comes at a price. At the airport, we exchanged the rest of the money we planned to spend there, because it turned out we found a really, really good exchange rate (in the previous post I wrote you should never exchange money at the airport, and yet here I write that you should. There’s something wrong with me). A bus which goes to the historical part of the city, where we were staying, can be caught on Gate 7, and the ticket bought in the ticket vending machine at the Gate no. 6. The ticket costs MXN 30. Or simply take Uber to the wanted location. We used Uber quite a lot, and for an hour-long ride, we paid a fairly reasonable price of around EUR 5,6 each.
We stayed at the historical part of the city in a fantastic apartment, with a magnificent balcony and a city view.
The advantage of staying in the historical part of the city is that Zocalo, the second largest square in the world; the Palace of Fine Arts, the most beautiful building in the city; 5 de Mayo Street, Madero Street are all within reach and you can drop by any time you want.
As we walked through the backstreets around our Isabel la Catolica Street, we realized that this neighborhood is divided into quarters and that in each quarter they sell only musical instruments, or only chandeliers, or only bathroom fittings. All shops in one quarter offer only one type of merchandize.
We started the tour of the city passing through Alameda Central park, near the Palace of Fine Arts, where a standup comedian, performing in the park, called us as soon as he saw our camera. He called Vlada a gringo. He expected Americans. As soon as he learned we were from Serbia, his joke fell flat. The only thing resulting from his failed attempt was that a Hungarian came up to meet us. In front of the Palace of Fine Arts we came across a group of young freestyle rappers, competing in dropping rhymes – or as it is officially called, rap battle. The Palace is the most beautiful building in the city, and the entire area with the park is definitely not to be missed.
After the Palace, if you head for Madero Street, you come across the first, 44-storey high skyscraper in Latin America, built in 1956 – Torre Latino. You can climb to the top of the building for a panoramic city view. You will get the impression that you’re holding Mexico City on the palm of your hand. Admission is charged and it costs MXN 100 (almost EUR 5). Madero Street resembles Knez Mihajlova Street, with many shops, cafes and it leads directly to Zocalo.
The second largest square in the world, after Moscow Red Square, will unfold in front of you in all its magnitude. Square-shaped, surrounded by the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Palace and the building of Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources. Giant Mexican flag is waving in the wind above the square. From the square, you can go back by 5 de Mayo Street to the Palace of Fine Arts, or you can go by Uber, or metro to Plaza Garibaldi with mariachi bands. On the square, you can often see bands competing, if we can call it that. They will come up to you to see if you would like to request a song. Stop by for a nice margarita or tequila in Tenampa Salon, where, at the entrance, you will be greeted by an armored policeman.
I would advise you to avoid green “beetles” as taxi vehicles. We barely saw two of them in the entire Mexico City. Use either Uber or marked taxi vehicles. In most cases these are purple cars. Mexico City has the largest number of taxis in the world. A number of 100 000 taxi vehicles is mentioned.
Chapultepec park or “the lungs of Mexico” we visit the next day. We stop to take a picture with comrade Tito and we sing „Lepe ti je, lepe ti je, Zagorje zelene„.
On the way to the park entrance, we come across an exhibition of Dali’s sculptures. In the park, you can rent a pedal boat and drive it around a lake, you can feed squirrels that are completely unafraid and can get really close to people. You’ve got to have something to entice them, some food, such as sunflower seeds.
Chapultepec Castle is located in the park and holds an enviable collection of items related to Mexican history. From the Castle terrace, there’s an astonishing view over Paseo de la Reforma, the largest avenue in Mexico City, as well as the rest of the town. Castle entrance fee is MXN 51 (EUR 2.5).
We continue our walk through Reforma Avenue surrounded by office buildings. Once again, we are reminded of the city’s size and power. Millions of people are on the streets. The avenue landmark is the Angel of Independence, dedicated to Mexican independence.
The next item on the bucket list of places to see was the Blue House (Casa Azul) where Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera lived, today a museum dedicated to the life and work of Frida. We were swept of our feet by the courtyard of the house. Museum entrance fee is MXN 80 (EUR 3.87).
This Mexican artist leaves no one indifferent, and we were no exception. In her honor, immediately on arriving back to Serbia, I wanted to own something with her image. Cool Brush Design made my wish come true.
The Blue House is situated in the part of the city called Coyoacan, an area with predominantly wealthy population. If you continue down Ignasio Allende Street, you will run into Hernan Cortes House, Kiosk Coyoacon and Arco Atrial in the Centenario Park.
I would recommend that you see Xochimilco, the floating market. We weren’t that lucky with what was offered at the market, I hope you will have more luck.
We also visited a real Mexican market, the La Merced market where we purchased bananas and the hottest chilly in the world – the Habanero. Uber driver told us to be careful and whished us luck when he dropped us off at the market.
To get to know Mexican culture and people better, we visited another magical village – Tepoztlan, to get there from Mexico City takes less than 2 hours. The place is famous for Tepozteco pyramid, which can be reached by steep and endless 2.5 km road from the foot of the mountain. Gasping for breath we arrived at the pyramid with a fantastic view over the magical village.
On your way to the top you will certainly come across at least one coati – a raccoon-like animal, lurking prey in the form of a fruit or a candy. If he starts hissing at you, throw down everything edible you’re holding. They have sharp teeth and claws.
Tepoztlan is a nice place where for the first time we tried mango with sweet pepper, and a very bad ice cream, perhaps the worst I have ever tried in my life.
Irena, our friend I mentioned in my previous post told us about this place. Thank you, Irena.
With this post, I’m rounding off the story about Cuba and Mexico. Soon I will present to you the world metropolis, New York, and believe me, I’m slightly nervous. Am I up to the task?
All photos by: Danica, Vlada, Milica
Camera used: Nikon D3000