March 31 – April 11, 2016.
After a wonderful week in San Miguel de Allende, we headed South to San Juan Teotihuacan located about an hours drive before Mexico City, to visit the Mayan Pyramids of the Sun and of the Moon. We then left our rig securely parked at the Teotihuacan Trailer Park and took the bus to Mexico City for a few days of sightseeing.
Mexico City is the capital of Mexico and one of the most populated city in the world with 20+ million urban inhabitants and sits at 7,380 feet (2,250 m) of elevation. A lot of people skip the City when visiting Mexico but we had heard such good things about it, that we wanted to see it for ourselves. We were not disappointed.
Where Mexico city now sits, the Aztec built the City of Tenochtitlán in 1325. It was almost completely destroyed by the Spanish Conquistadors in 1521 and Mexico City was later built over the Aztec ruins by the Spaniards. After independence from Spain was achieved, the federal district was created in 1824.
Now Mexico is a vibrant and happening city with a perfect mix of old and new. Colonial, modern and Mayan architecture, a thriving Artistic and Cultural scene, all the museums you can imagine, ancient ruins, fabulous restaurants, neighborhoods waiting to be explored …
We took the bus from Teotihuacan and got dropped off at the Metro Station. We got a couple transfers and emerged in the historic center where we spent a lot of our time walking and visiting the main attractions. We felt safe and were impressed by the ease of going from one place to another either by walking, taxi or metro. We only spent four days but could have stayed a lot longer, there is so much to see and do.
Historic Center of Mexico City
The Zocalo is the common name of the main square, Plaza de la Constitution was the ideal spot to begin our sightseeing. Every day at either 6:00 AM or 6:00 PM the Army has the ceremony of raising and lowering of the giant Mexican flag.
From our hotel room we had a great view of the Cathedral and the Zocalo (main square).
Rear view of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Assumption consecrated in 1656. It’s the largest cathedral in the Americas and is situated atop the former Aztec sacred precinct near the Templo Mayor.
Templo Mayor (Great Temple).”Before the Spaniards demolished it, the Teocalli of Tenochtitlán covered the site where the cathedral now stands, as well as the blocks to its north and east. It wasn’t until 1978, after electricity workers happened on an 8-ton stone-disc carving of the Aztec goddess Coyolxauhqui, that the decision was taken to demolish colonial buildings and excavate the Templo Mayor.”
Excerpt From: Lonely Planet. “Lonely Planet Mexico.”
The famous murals by Mexican artist Diego Rivera inside the Palacio National
Courtyard of the Palacio National
Palacio de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum)
Edgar Degas , Ballerina 1876 and Alexander Calder, Evelyn 1970
Diego Rivera’s murals
Henri Matisse, Jazz 1947
National Museum of Anthropology houses one of the worlds largest collections of archaeological artifacts from pre-hispanic civilizations. It takes a full day just to walk around the different exhibits.
The Voladores is an ancient Mesoamerican ceremony up a 30 meter pole
Renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was born in, lived in and died in, Casa Azul (Blue House), now the Fira Kahlo museum. Probably our favorite attraction we visited in Mexico.
Frida’s studio. Wonderful light. Note the picture of her beloved Diego on her desk.
Frida’s studio. Note her wheelchair in front of the painting.
Frida’s traditional Mexican kitchen.
Photo taken from Frida’s bedroom where she had a nice view of the courtyard from her bed.
Another landmark of the historic district is the Baroque masterpiece Casa de los Azulejos (House of Tiles). Iron balconies and blue and white tiles from the nearby state of Puebla.
Now, the 18th century palace is home to the Sanborns flagship restaurant.
We stayed at the Teotihuacan Trailer Park for a total of 8 night before and after visiting Mexico City. It was the perfect location to visit the Pyramids, meet other ovrlanders and leave our rig while we visited Mexico City. The owner Mina was so accommodating and helpful. I even got some dental work (two crowns) done by her dentist/daughter and one of her dentist colleague from the City.
Quite a line up of overland rigs. Hymer from Germany, DodgeRam/XPCamper from USA, Mercedes Sprinter Van from Portugal, Toyota Land Cruiser from Switzerland and another Mercedes Sprinter from Germany.
Marc and Connie Richter and their dogs Chilli and Pepper traveling the world in their Sprinter Van. The Happy Richters
Two Mexican Ladies traveling solo in their respective rigs. They are part of the AMAAC La Asociacion Mexicana de Acampadores (Mexican camping Association)
Fun evening with our new Mexican friends! Dutch Oven and grilling!
We met this great family from Mexico City. Angelica, Pedro, Pedro Jr. and their black lab Stark. They were our tour guides for 2 days. They took us to some of the surrounding towns, the light show at the Pyramid of Sun, made us taste all kinds of different foods and guided us through the local food market.
We visited the Historical Cultural Center in the town of Otumba and made a quick stop in the town of Axapusco
Angie and Pedro made us taste Escamoles (Ant eggs) considered a delicacy and Jumiles (dried crispy worms) both are harvested from the Maguey (Agave) plant.
At the local market we discovered these tiny salty fresh water shrimps and Chicken Barbacoa cooked in Maguey (Agave) leaves.
The St-Laurent Family, Pascal and Veronique and their three sons Arthur, Loïc and Thierry originally from Quebec now living in Whitehorse Yukon. They took a one year sabbatical to travel in their modified school bus. Quite an inspiration!
Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon
“Teotihuacan was Mexico’s biggest ancient city and the capital of what was probably Mexico’s largest pre-Hispanic empire.The city’s grid plan was plotted in the early part of the 1st century AD, and the Pirámide del Sol was completed – over an earlier cave shrine – by AD 150. The rest of the city was developed between about AD 250 and 600. Social, environmental and economic factors hastened its decline and eventual collapse in the 8th century.”
Excerpt From: Lonely Planet. “Lonely Planet Mexico.” iBooks.
Sitting on the Pyramid of the Sun with the local pooch with the Pyramid of the Moon in the background.
View of the Avenue of the Dead and the Pyramid of the Sun from the Pyramid of the Moon.
Joe standing in front of the Pyramid of the Sun.The world’s third-largest pyramid, surpassed in size only by Egypt’s Cheops and the pyramid of Cholla. We had the place almost to ourselves, we were there at the opening before the tour groups arrive from Mexico City.
What a view from the Pyramid of the Moon!
Joe attempting to emulate Gunter a fellow Overlander and XPCamper owner who likes to do a handstand in front of landmarks. Not bad!
The light show at the Pyramid of the Sun was a great experience! Experiencia Nocturna
Next, MEXICO, Veracruz and Puebla … stay tuned!