Sunday, May 10, 2015

More from Mexico City

I could have spent a month in Mexico City, but I was happy with what we were able to see and do in seven days.  Our last days were spent strolling the streets of Zona Rosa, Coyoacan, and the historic zocalo area. 

We took the subway to Coyoacan, a subsection of Mexico City.  It had a small town feel with several blocks of great restaurants, shops, and a beautiful artisan market.  The area is known for their churros stuffed with anything from chocolate to any kind of fruit you can think of.  I tried the apple stuffing.  It was like eating a stick of warm apple pie.  Yummy!

A touch of the States in Zona Rosa...

Every Sunday they close the Paseo De La Reforma (a main tree lined street that runs through downtown).  We walked from Zona Rosa to the Zocalo and enjoyed watching all of the bikers, joggers, and rollerbladers taking advantage of the street closure and getting a great workout on beautiful day.

The entire exterior of this building was covered in tile - gorgeous.

The main zocalo and cathedral.  The second largest in the world behind Russia.  We were told this is the biggest flag in Mexico.  We were told the same thing about three other flags as well...

The architecture was absolutely stunning.

It's always nice to see a superhero or two around to keep the streets safe.

Sunday was a popular day to be in historic downtown.

There is a lot of bad publicity about Mexico City.  We were surely going to be robbed or kidnapped, or so we were told.  Mexico City is a big city with big city crime just like any major city in the US.  We did not have a single bad experience while we were there.  We felt safe walking around, taking the subway, and riding busses.  Like any other big city, watch your surroundings, and be smart.  I would return to the city in a heartbeat and highly recommend it to others.  It is a city filled with history, culture, architecture, and beautiful people.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Pyramids at Teotihuacan

We believe that adventure is not only in the destination, but the journey as well.  There was definitely adventure in the journey to see the Pyramids at Teotihuacan today.  We decided to find our own way to the pyramids after finding out from the front desk at the hotel that a tour would cost 500 pesos ($34usd) per person.  We are just too cheap for that.  After doing some internet research, I found out that we could take the subway (located less than a block from the hotel) to the bus station.  We would then catch a 2nd class bus for 308 pesos total($30usd) round trip, drop off and pick up right at the main gate.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, it would have been easy cheesy if the front desk agent had told us the correct stop to get off the subway and the bus hadn't broken down on the way to the pyramids.  Oh well, we made it there after a bit of delay and got to practice our Spanish along the way. 

The pyramids were awe-inspiring, as promised by the guidebooks.  We took in the amazing scenery as we walked the Avenue of the Dead.  The Pyramids of the Sun and Moon were magnificent.  After climbing the 250 steps of the Pyramid of the Sun and the many other steps just getting there (including the subway steps) we refrained from going to the top of the Pyramid of the Moon.  Visiting the Anthropology Museum prior to the pyramids was definitely beneficial.  We had a solid knowledge of what we were looking at and did not feel the need to hire a guide to take us around.

Walking the Avenue of the Dead.

In front of the Pyramid of the Sun, prior to climbing to the top.

The Pyramid of the Moon

On top of the Pyramid of the Sun

A view of the Pyramid of the Moon from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun

The Pyramid of the Sun

As I descended the steps of the Pyramid of the Sun, I began to think of the beautiful symbolism that can be taken from this experience and applied to life.  I can't wait to use this as a metaphor in the near future as the girls grow and experience difficulties in school, relationships, jobs, etc.  It will go something like this:

Katelyn/Hannah remember when we stood at the base of the Pyramid of the Sun.  We looked up at the enormous pyramid with 250 steps leading up to the top and thought, "Wow, that's high!"  And remember how I told you that we were going to take it a little at a time and not rush.  We started to climb the first set of steps and came to a landing.  We paused and took a deep breath until we were ready to move on to the other steps.  We did this step by step, section by section, until we finally reached the top.  Do you remember what it felt like at the top?  It felt like an amazing accomplishment.  We did it!  We stopped at the top and looked down at all of the steps and thought, "That wasn't that bad."  The view at the top was unbelievable.  Then we walked back down the steps and it was so much easier than going up.  That Pyramid of the Sun is a lot like life.  So many times we feel like we are climbing the steepest of steps and we will never make it to the top.  But you know what?  When we do make it, and you will, it feels good and makes us stronger.

What a Seventh Heaven moment that will be.

On a side note, the subway system here is awesome.  First of all, it is only 5 pesos per person.  That means that our family of four rode the subway for less than $2.  Our only previous experience with subways were from riding the Bart in San Francisco.  I'm glad that we had that experience to know what to expect.  In Mexico City, however, you can ride as far as you want and get on as many different subway cars as you need to without paying another peso.  On the Bart, you are charged based on the distance that you are going and if you get off that particular train and need to go further, you have to pay again.  And in Mexico City, you can buy toenail clippers, extension cords, classical music, and Halls cough drops from the many vendors that come and go on the cars.  How convenient!