For my first official day in Mexico City I decided, in advance to book an excursion in which I was able to see a lot in one shot.
|Palace of Fine Arts
I met the bus at the Palace of Fine Arts Building, and from there we were transported to our first stop, the town of Coyoacán.
|Fuente de los Coyotes|
Coyoacán was named by the Aztecs and means “place of the coyotes”, hence the statues being in the middle of the town.
As we walked around the area close to the fountain, we stopped inside a massive church (Parroquia San Juan Bautista) and an adjacent garden that I thought we be a perfect place to sit and reflect before/after a church service.
|Inside Parroquia San Juan Bautista|
|The garden outside the church|
From there we took a leisurely stroll over to Mercado de Coyoacán, where we given free time to browse the market and make any purchases we desired. At the market I was able to get a smoothie with 4 different fruits for 15 Mexican Pesos, which is the equivalent of $.80 USD. Yes, EIGHTY CENTS!!!
National Autonomous University of Mexico
We took a quick 20 minute stop to visit the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Founded in 1910, UNAM (as it’s called) is a public research university and is ranked as one of the top universities in the world.
|Felt awesome being back on a college campus|
As we entered the main lawn of the campus, we were immediately taken aback by the beautiful mural painted on the outside of the building that houses the library. Created by Mexican artist Juan O’Gorman, the mural entitled Historical Representation of Culture is one of the most iconic buildings in the entire country.
|Outside of the library|
Our last stop of the day was a visit to the borough of Xochimilco, which is known for the canals that flow through the area.
Our guide told us this borough is affectionately known as the City of Flowers, because of the floating garden of flowers that surround the waterways.
|Each of us got a flower as a souvenir before boarding the trajinera|
Xochimilco also served as the site for our lunch. We boarded gondola-like boats called trajineras. The trajineras were extravagantly decorated with bright colors and a name painted at the front of it. Kind of like the same way you see boats and yachts named.
While on the trajineras, smaller boats came up alongside us to sell various crafts. There was also a even more special boat that came pulled up next to us…our chef!
|The lovely woman who cooked our food|
|All fresh ingredients|
After all of our orders were taken, yet another boat pulled up with a mariachi band for our entertainment. They boarded the two trajineras our group inhabited. They started off playing a couple of songs and then took some requests.
|Boarding our boat|
|Dressed to impress!|
It was nice to have live music as we ate and drifted down the canals. We also bypassed others on their trajineras having their own fun.
We were told that many people boarded these boats to celebrate special occasions or as a way to switch up a regular evening with the family.
Once our food and entertainment commenced, we got off and were given some free time to check out the market. I knew that I didn’t want to spend any coins, so I walked around the area, browsed the goods, and took some nice photos.
|One of our two tour guides, Alejandro|
Unfortunately the latter part of my free time was marred by one of the Mexican vendors. I saw him towards the beginning of my walking around, where he tried to beckon me to check out his items for sale. I politely declined and kept it moving. On my way back around the loop of vendors he spotted me and came back over to where I was standing. He claimed he had something special to show me and pointed to some nicely made throws with pretty pattens.
I told him in my best Spanish that I would just look, but won’t buy. He grabbed my hand and proceeded to bring me to a secluded area of the stand that was surrounded by the throws in all four corners. Basically to any person that was standing on the outside, you couldn’t see/would know that people could be inside of there.
The little man, and I’m calling him that because I stood a bit taller than him in the heels I was wearing, grabbed both of my hands and started to compliment me on my looks. I thanked him, and tried to walk away, but he grabbed my hands tighter and embraced me in a very sudden and way too friendly hug. You know that kind of hug where hands start moving a little too low…
He started to say all these other things (that had nothing to do with him selling his merchandise) but by that point I was too taken aback and wanted to get away from him fast. It clicked to me that this little private area he dragged me to wasn’t an area for which he wanted to sell me his products. I knew from the way he was looking at me that he had other intentions in mind, so I pushed him away and made a super quick beeline back to the main aisle of the market and back to the bus.
Besides this little situation, my day was a super pleasant one. My $40 went very far and I got to see/experience a lot in one day, which was my original intention. If you want to get some bang for your buck and learn a lot of Mexican history, I highly suggest this activity.