Tom has recently upgraded his ceaseless-pursuit-of-airmiles game, and has taken to targeting places I really want to visit rather than just making vague suggestions that we should fly somewhere. I know exactly what he’s up to, of course, but when he suggested spending Memorial Day weekend in Mexico City it seemed counterproductive to refuse.
We took the Friday off work for a morning flight and arrived in Mexico in the early afternoon. Our hotel, the MX Roma Norte, was in a pleasant residential area just to the south west of the Centro Historico, so after dropping our bags at the hotel we headed out for a stroll. Amazingly, there was a gluten free cafe not too far away, so coffee and cake also happened. It turns out that Mexicans are very keen on food, and it seemed rude not to join in, so it wasn’t long before we were eating again – this time at a regular local restaurant where we happily sampled the tacos al pastor.
And then it was off to the Arena Mexico to see the Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling). I had absolutely no idea what to expect, and to be honest I’m still a little perplexed by it all… We saw six or seven different matches, between two, four, even six participants, all in some kind of mask or costume, and it was clear from the crowd’s reaction that many of the wrestlers were hugely popular. Clearly a big part of the fun was the posturing and extravagant moves, and it was hard to tell how much was choreographed and what was “real” fighting, but some of the gymnastic feats were quite incredible.
Saturday was all about seeing the pyramids at Teotihuacan, so we were up early to get there by public transport – no tour buses for us! Driving out of the city, we were able to get some sense of just how sprawling it is, and we admired the colourful houses cascading down the hillsides for miles on end.
Arriving at Teotihuacan I was amazed by both the size and age of the site, apparently the pyramids date to the first few centuries AD. In the end we spent around four hours there, climbing both pyramids of the sun and moon, and walking to the other end of the complex to see the feathered serpent pyramid as well.
This was all the more impressive due to the baking sunshine – not my favourite hiking conditions! – although we managed to find some shade along the way (partly thanks to having brought along an umbrella), and the site’s museum provided some welcome respite as well.
There was also one area where visitors could go inside a couple of the structures (the Palace of Quetzalpapalotl), another nice break from the sun but also an incredible opportunity to see some of the wall paintings in situ.
(For more information about the site and its history, you could do worse than follow this link, and there’s also an interesting account of a new theory about the deity honoured by the pyramids here.)
Back in the city, we decided to treat ourselves to a belated anniversary dinner at a fancy city-centre restaurant, El Balcón de Zócalo. We hadn’t booked in advance, so didn’t manage to get a table on the balcony itself, but we had a lovely spot inside and were of course able to walk across and look at the view when we wanted to.
The food (and cocktails) were quite spectacular, too – a wonderful end to an excellent day.
(The remainder of the weekend follows in a separate post, mostly because I wanted to include lots more photos and still enable the page to load without too much effort! On which topic, as usual you can find my album from the trip over on Flickr.)