Around the world & Travels

Arriba, Arriba…Viva el Mexico – part III

Hi, darlings,

I hope that you are still with me and following the last part of the trip to Mexico. After so many adventures and great places, the trip was going towards its end…unfortunately. Although I have to say that in the last nights in Mexico City I kind of wanted to change my plane tickets and prolong the trip.

After a very nice adventure in the canyon, the trip continued to Oaxaca. The state is located in Southwestern Mexico and it is well known for its indigenous people and their cultures. The most known ones are the Mixtecs and the Zapotecs. Oaxaca City is situated in the mountains, surrounded by gorgeous landscapes and has a magic historical city center. I enjoyed walking on the narrow streets, feeling the vibe of the city and everything that has to offer. The first on the list was the Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman. The finely carved baroque facade and the detailed interior make it a priority on your to-do list, but as well a great place to pray and find peace.

The visit continued to Mercado Benito Juarez, where you can find lots of interesting things. The first place that I visited was a store where they make chocolate from fresh cocoa beans. Mainly it is used for hot chocolate, but the taste is delicious and you can choose from different flavors. Later on, I arrived in the food area of the market. There you can try some interesting things. Guess what? The main attraction were the chapulines (crickets), and other types of fried insects of all colors and flavors 🙂 Of course, the star of the region is the mezcal, the drink with the worm inside. I had in the past the impression that tequila is the one with the worm, but I was very wrong to believe so. Mezcal has a different and more pronounced taste than tequila. I didn’t enjoy it that much, for me it tastes a bit like something smoked, but it was nice to try it.

I cannot really say that trying the bugs was really rewarding so I decided to have the traditional tacos for lunch and be on the safe side. I think I overdosed on tacos and guacamole in Mexico. Even back home I try to eat as much as possible guacamole. I put it on a sandwich and sometimes I eat it with other dishes as well. If you think about it, a few years ago I couldn’t stand avocado. I cannot really say why. I found it at that time a bit buttery, so I tried to avoid it as much as possible, even if it’s so so healthy. Somehow I found later guacamole, and with the mix of lime and tomatoes, it was love at first sight.

After a long and interesting day, filled with different flavors, experiences and nasty insolation, the temperature seemed perfect for a dinner at a terrace. The portions of food are huge. If they tell you that the platter is for 2-3 people, don’t believe them. It was enough for the whole table and we couldn’t finish it :)) Even better than tequila are the cocktails with tequila, like the frozen margaritas. That cocktail is perfect for a hot summer night while listening to the mariachis. It was a dream came true.

 

The next day, the trip continued towards Puebla. While getting closer to Mexico City, the landscape was gradually changing, and also the features of the people. As you arrive in Puebla and Mexico City, the people are way more mixed and don’t have that much the indigenous traits. As I said the landscape and the weather were changing as well. I had so much great and hot weather along the way, that I didn’t even remember how it is to have rain. Puebla it is well known for its colonial architecture and pottery. The first thing that I visited was the Renaissance-era Cathedral which overlooks the central square, the Zocalo and is filled with gorgeous paintings.

While walking on the beautiful streets of the town, I stopped for a traditional meal and later on, I have enjoyed their offer of sweets. The cakes are quite similar to the European ones, but with a twist. You can find for example tres leches cake, which is very creamy, churro apple pie, where churros are used as a crust, Mexican hot chocolate pie, or my favorite the chocolate flan cake, two desserts in one. The pastry is very interesting as well and has delicious flavors. You can try a lot of sweets with chili and other sweet and sour flavors.

As I said earlier there was finally rain, after almost two weeks of hot weather. It was interesting to feel again the raindrops on the skin and I had to run somewhere inside not to get wet like a cat. One can get used to dry weather very fast, especially someone like me, who doesn’t like rain too much, but instead loves the hot sunny weather. The fact that I had to hide somewhere was in the end quite interesting. I saw live the filming of a video for reggaeton music 🙂 I have no clue who the guy was but I found it quite entertaining to watch.

I left Puebla with a bit of a sad feeling. Due to the heavy rain and the strict schedule, I couldn’t see that much of it. I wished that I would have used those hours more efficiently, but I guess this is a very good reason to come back to Mexico. On the way to Mexico City, I finally saw the very tall volcano, that scared everybody. Close to Mexico City, there is El Popocatepetl, or how they call it El Popo. It is one of the Mexican active volcanos and has 5426m. It was amazing to see it, even if it was from the distance. A few months before the trip, it started erupting, and you never know exactly how it will go or how bad it will get. When I was visiting it still had activity, and small eruptions were happening, but it was at a very local level and didn’t affect the population or the air traffic. I wished I would have seen it closer, but even from that distance, it was very imponent and special.

When you arrive in Mexico City, everything is so different than the rest of the country. The city is gigantic and very modern. I cannot say that I wasn’t expecting this, but is way more impressive. Mexico City is a densely populated, high altitude city, and it is well known for its Templo Mayor, a 13th-century Aztec temple, the Palacio National, which houses historic murals by Diego Rivera and the famous Plaza de la Constitucion, the massive square known as the Zocalo. The iconic war of independence monument, The Angel of Independence welcomes you to the city.

Mexico City is an experience in itself, and definitely the 2 days spent there were not enough. It is a mix of modern and historical buildings, giving you the feeling of a vibrant metropole. El Zocalo is a very interesting place. First of all the square itself, is one of the biggest central squares in the world. It is located in the heart of the Historic Center and it was the center of Tenochtitlan before the Spanish conquerors arrived on the Mexican territory. Nowadays it is the big hub of the city, an events venue, and is surrounded by restaurants and terraces. You can visit nearby the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City, the National Palace, the Historic City Hall, and the Government Building. Also during day and night, it is very crowded and you can enjoy traditional indigenous dances or a purification ritual. The good food is of course not excluded and you can choose from a great variety and enjoy the local drinks.

After all the impressions during daylight, a great dinner and an evening stroll were more than welcomed. The hotel was very close to the Monument of the Revolution. It was great to see it during the day, but even more impressive during the night, with all the lights on. I walked the whole way towards the Zocalo and got into the vibe of the city. At night the city gets even more crowded than during the day, especially in the weekend, when everybody is going out for dinner or a drink or just to dance the night away. One of my dearest former classmates from high school lives in Mexico City for a long time, so I had the opportunity to see the town from one of the locals’ perspective. We were lucky to get a reservation at El Balcon del Zocalo, a great restaurant, from where you have a clear view of the square. There I have tried the first time in my life ant larvas, and I have to say that I enjoyed them. I adored the city lights and how everything shifts in the darkness. It gives a more mystical feeling to everything.

The next day I woke up early and prepared to go to Teotihuacan. I love great views in the morning. When you wake up in the morning, enjoy a coffee, and just look at the clear blue sky, the rising sun, and the palm trees. That kind of image for me is bliss, and it brings a lot of peace. If you top that with a sea view, then that is paradise in my vision. Teotihuacan, on the other hand, is a very special place, filled with good energy. It is an ancient Mesoamerican city located 40 km away from Mexico City. It was one of the largest populated city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It is a place filled with history and it makes you wonder how evolved was the population in that time, in order to build extraordinary constructions like this one.

Later that day, I headed back to Mexico City and visited the National Anthropological Museum. It contains the largest collection in the world of Mexican art and has ethnographic exhibits of the present Mexican indigenous groups.

All in all, I can say Mexico was an amazing experience and adventure. Everywhere I went I felt safe and welcomed by the local people. I speak Spanish, and I am pretty much sure that helped a lot to create a bond with the locals, but even if you speak only English you will have a magnificent time. The locals were very friendly and helpful in case you need to find something or you ask them a question. It’s true that sometimes you get some insistent looks, or people try to approach you, but that can happen anywhere on the planet, especially if you are a woman. My experience there was great and I would do it again. Definitely I will go to Mexico in the future. For the weather, the food, the great landscapes, the beautiful architecture, and the very friendly people.

I really hope that it makes you as well want to visit this great country and get to know their culture. It is indeed worth it.

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XOXO,

Raluca

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