Visiting Mexico City

Visiting Mexico City

Mexico City Mountains Mexico City Terrain
Before my trip here, of course I knew that Mexico is one of the most historic countries in the new world, but aside from that I didn’t have any other expectations. The photos above are two shots I took of the surrounding area of Mexico City before we landed. Like southwestern United States, the areas around Mexico City seemed pretty dry, but even from the plane I could tell the landscape was very different from Texas. Once I arrived in Mexico City itself, I was surprised how modern several of the districts were. Below are two buildings I saw close to the area I was staying in.
Mexico City Building Mexico City Modern Building
Mexico City Revolution Monument Mexico City Downtown
Mexico’s history goes back thousands of years to Pre-Hispanic times. From the European conquerors to the fight for independence against Spain and finally the brutal Mexican Revolution, this country has seen its share of war and difficult times. Mexico declared independence from Spain in 1810. The long war that followed lasted over 10 years and was mostly favorable for the Spanish. In 1820 luck for the exhausted and nearly defeated Mexican fighters changed when they went to battle a Spanish general. Instead of fighting the general offered to join the rebels and only a year later independence was gained. Their independence wasn’t what brought the country together. 90 years later in 1910 a brutal revolution was staged against the autocrat leader Porfirio Diaz. The revolution quickly spread throughout the country and soon became a multi-sided civil war. This revolution is considered by many to be one of the most important events in Mexican history. Small skirmishes and attacks continued for another decade, but the war was largely over in 1920. The large structure on the left is the Revolutionary Monument of the Mexican War.
Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral Mexico City Cathedral Inside
Mexico City is filled with lots of history. One of the most famous and important places is the cathedral above located in the historic center of the capital. The weather wasn’t on my side that day, so I apologize for the gloomy photo. I had gone the night before where the central square had some lights on, but the square was mostly dark. On the right is a photo taken inside the main basilica. This church was built over the ruins of an ancient Aztec temple that was destroyed by the Spaniards. The remains of the temple were used as building material, and some of those remains are still visible directly behind the church.
Mexico City Plaza Mexico City National Palace Garden
Above is another photo of the central square during the day time. Within the square are several places to shop, restaurants, and of course government buildings. The photo on the upper right is a Mexican garden taken inside the national palace. Below is a historic fresco and 19th century building that are also located within the national palace. The national palace is the main seat of the Mexican government, but several sections are open to visitors and where they have a small museum. No photos are allowed, which is regrettable since they had some very interesting artifacts. Most of the artifacts where personal belongings and clothing used by previous governors and politicians. One of the most impressive things I saw was the ceiling of one of the rooms. The room was lit by gold chandeliers while the ceiling itself seemed to be decorated with giant black drapes hanging down.
Mexico City National Palace Painting Mexico City National Palace
I flew into Mexico City from the Texas. Of course I knew that Mexico is one of the most historic countries in the new world, but aside from that I didn’t have any other expectations. The photos above are two shots I took of the surrounding area of Mexico City before we landed. Like southwestern United States, the areas around Mexico City seemed pretty dry, but even from the plane I could tell the landscape was very different from Texas. Once I arrived in Mexico City itself, I was surprised how modern several of the districts were. Below are two buildings I saw close to the area I was staying in.
Mexico City World Trade Center Mexico World Trade Center
I had no idea that Mexico had their own World Trade Center. This large building is full of several different types of businesses. Two things I usually don’t do while traveling is treat myself to a nice restaurant or take group tours. In Mexico I decided to make an exception since I was tired of traveling alone. I signed up for a group trip to one of the nicest restaurants in the city. I imagined going and meeting about 10 other travelers while sharing stories over drinks and perhaps getting together for other trips or night life while in Mexico City. I think I had a great plan, but the only problem was I was the only person who had signed up for the trip. So there I was, awkwardly sitting alone by myself in one of the nicest restaurants in the city. At least I had some good views since the restaurant is on the 45th floor. On the right is a photo of some of the artwork that will pass you by as you are eating. This restaurant also proudly displays their certificate from Guiness Book of World Records for being the largest rotating restaurant in the world.
Mexico City Bellini Mexico City Bellini
Mexico City National Museum Mexico National Museum
In the same historic area is the national museum. I figured it would be closed on a Sunday, but not only was it open it was packed with lots of tourists. Best of all, it was free! Above is a photo of a courtyard inside the museum, on the upper right is the inside of the national museum. So I figured this place would focus on Mexican history, but in fact the museum is more international, with artifacts from all over the world. There are large sections covering geographic regions such as Greek above, the Mesopotamia and Egyptian below.
Mexico City National Museum Mesopotamia Mexico City National Museum Egyptian
Mexico City Basilica Guadalupe Mexico City Basilica Guadalupe Old
These next photos are taken of the Guadalupe Basilica. This is one of Mexico City’s most famous religious sites, and was visited by pope John Paul five times. While I was here a local told me that most Americans and Europeans found the pyramids to be the most interesting visit in the greater Mexico City area, but for Latin Americans this basilica was the most important. A new modern basilica was built which is pictured on the left. I’m not sure what the event was, but just as I was taking out my camera several people all at once let out white balloons into the sky. On the right is the old basilica which is still in use. Below in the same order is a photo of the inside of each church, on the left is the modern and on the right is the inside of the original basilica.
Mexico City Basilica Guadalupe Inside Mexico City Old Guadalupe Inside
Mexico City Basilica Guadalupe Cathedral Market Mexico City Basilica Guadalupe Market
A place just as interesting as the basilica itself is the religious market you’ll pass through from the street. The religious market mostly seemed to sell paintings and candles, although there were many other items and at least one food vendor here. Below are some candles being used after locals and pilgrims made a prayer and left them behind. On the lower right is a man blessing people by throwing holy water on them. I made a small donation and received a blessing myself!
Mexico City Basilica Guadalupe Candels Mexico City Basilica Guadalupe Blessing
Mexico City Mexico City Girl
My last days in Mexico City where mostly about walking around the city and random experiences I had. Another famous monument I visited was the statue of independence. Since it was a nasty gloomy day the photo I took wasn’t worth posting. Of course I intended to walk back to the state another day and of course I ended up being busy doing other things. I did at least post the view I got from the statue seen on the left. Lots of young girls come here to have their portraits taken in front of the statue. Many arrive in limos such as the one above. I saw at least a dozen young girls such as the one on the upper right here.
Mexico City Chicken Mexico City Donut
Here are some random photos along with a random story. First though, I’d like to say as a Mexican food lover I was of course in paradise on this trip. I never was disappointed with any of the meals I had and certainly look forward to going back. Above is the photo of a rotisserie chicken place in downtown Mexico. As for the Mexican donut… I saw it in a 7-11 I stopped by at to get water. Being the tourist that I am I decided I should take a photo of this patriotic donut. A man working at 7-11 ran up to me and gave me a long explanation in Spanish about why I couldn’t take the photo of the donut. I didn’t understand much of what he was saying other than it wasn’t allowed. I decided to just buy the donut and save the hassle. At the register, the same man ended up being my cashier and made me promise not to put it on the internet. I didn’t make any such promise, which is why the photo is here. I wish I knew what his concern was.
Mexico City Super Heros Mexico City Free Hugs
I did some roaming around the historic center of Mexico City where I came across super heros and people offering free hugs. I don’t remember where the free hugs started from, I want to say the United States, but where ever it came from it has made its way to one of the largest cities in the world. The super heros were one of many groups dressed up. I saw plenty of other people who were creatively dressed up as everything from animals to mimes. There were also plenty of people singing and putting on some small shows. On one street that was a few blocks from the packed avenues and stores I heard some loud music and shouting. The shouting is what attracted me from a distance and I expected some kind of live performance. Instead I had to pass through a gauntlet of people trying to sell me random items like small toys and stuffed animals.
Mexico City Skate Boarder Mexico City Historic Downtown
Mexico City Bike Day
Mexico Bike Day

During my travels I learned that on Sundays it is better to walk than take a taxi. Every Sunday since 2007 Paseo de la Reforma and several other main streets in Mexico City remove cars from the roads and open them up for bicyclists. Up to 70,000 bikers take to the streets. I wouldn’t have hesitated to join them had I known about this in advance. It would have been a great way to see the city! Above are several bicyclists waiting for a light to turn green, on the right are some riding along what would normally be a congested road. The next day I had one of my final experiences while walking down a street when I heard some some music and cheering. I came across a small group of people having a dance with live music band. I think this was equivalent to a neighborhood block party. Also there were a few casual stands set up selling food. On the lower right is some Rose Petal flavored ice cream that I tried. The flavor was great, but the petals kind of stuck to my tongue a bit. Not that that ruined the ice cream, it was just certainly different!
Mexico City Dancing Mexico City Locally Made Ice Cream