We had a lazy start and caught the metro to Chapultepec. The weather was dull and a little chilly when we left the hotel.
The park, which includes Chapultepec castle is a huge area which includes a number of museums, monuments and also the Mexico City zoo.
The first monument that we came across out of the metro station is the Ninos Heroes which commemorates the cadets who attempted to defend the castle against the Americans in 1847.
Sunday is the day that lots of Mexicans use the park and many of the museums are free for residents, and some for everyone. The are hundreds and hundreds of market stalls with a huge variety of wares being sold including sunglasses, touristy tatt, food, ice cream and drinks. It’s also an assault on your ears as the vendors constantly shout out to attract the attention of the hoards of visitors.
Next we stopped at the museum of modern art and had a brief look. Then we spent some time exploring the park. We came across some men doing the Voladores dance. This was one of the strangest, and most dangerous, things that I think we saw in Mexico. It involves 5 men, four of whom, after performing a ritual dance at the bottom, climb the 100+ feet to the top of a pole, without harnesses! One of them posts a pipe and bangs a small drum and performs a prayer for the fertility of the land. They then tie themselves to ropes before launching themselves from the top and spinning slowly to the ground!
After this we walked to the Museo National dear Anthropologica. We spent some time looking at the exhibits, although there were not translations for everything! We also had some food in the restaurant there.
By now the sun had come out and we walked back into the main park. It was heaving with, mainly, locals, enjoying the Sunday afternoon sun and street hawkers and entertainers added to the chaos.
As the zoo was free on Sundays, we walked around there and saw lots of local and worldwide animals including a giant panda. (Mexico zoo was the first in the works to manage to breed them in captivity).
aving spent time in the zoo walked along Paseo de la Reformation, a wide avenue running from the park so that Ed could get some shots of things that we’d only seen from the bus when we did the tour on our first day.
Finally, we walked up to another monument that we’d first seen from the bus before waking back to our hotel to collect our bags!
Taxi to airport and a good flight which arrived early and during such I even managed to get some sleep!
Mexico is a bigger country than I realised and has some beautiful landscapes and history. The food is very tasty, although I wasn’t sorry not to have refried beans with my British Airways breakfast this morning! The Mexicans are a hospitable people and are usually keen to help.
Our tour leader was fantastic and went over and above the call of duty to ensure that we had a great trip.