Before arriving in Mexico City for my first visit, I tried to do some research in order to create the perfect schedule for getting as much as possible done in a short time. As soon as I land, I head for the floating gardens of Xochimilco, where dozens of groups of Mexican families and friends meet every weekend when the weather is fine. Once there, they take a trip on one of the many gorgeous, brightly decorated wooden boats which glide down the canal. Naturally, I too want to float along on one of them! During the ride, other boats pass by, some of them providing a constant supply of food and drinks, but my favourites are the ones with Mariachi bands on board. For little tip, they latch onto my boat and serenade me for a while… All in all, a lovely, splashy way to spend a Sunday.
The next day, I take the bus to Teotihuacán (“The town in which men become gods”), a ruined town 50km from Mexico City. It was built around 2000 years ago and is considered the largest ancient city in the Americas. Among the constructions there are two huge pyramids – the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. After reading that people from all around the world travel there just to experience the cosmic energy at the peak of the Pyramid of the Sun, I decide – despite the heat and the vast number of steps – to climb the summit myself. Indeed, as soon as I reach the top, I spot a group of people huddling together and reaching into the air with their hands. I’m happy to join in!
Two more things to tick off my list: visiting the former homes of Frida Kahlo and the architect Luis Ramiro Barragán Morfín, both of which have been converted into museums. It’s hard to miss the bright blue house (Casa Azul) in which the Mexican artist Kahlo lived with her husband. The (sadly rather too) popular exhibition covers the couple’s former living rooms and includes numerous paintings by the artist – and even a glimpse inside her wardrobe. My favourite part, however, is the beautifully landscaped courtyard.
Visiting the Barragan house is more intimate, because tours are conducted in very small groups (mostly of architecture students). For aficionados, this house really is a pleasure to visit, and was my personal highlight of the entire trip.