The day started slowly and so did I. No need to rush as the walking tour starts about 1km away at 11am. A leisurely breakfast and stroll to get there. So even after leaving the hotel around 9.15am I still had plenty of time to wander.
On the way to the historic centre I noticed every shop seemed to be scrubbing and cleaning to get started for the day. I learned later in the tour that Mexican culture expects people to clean their houses every day! Hence they don't mind small homes.
It certainly was evident in the streets. For a mega city it feels quite clean.
Whilst waiting and wandering I was approached by these guys to read a statement for the TV in Spanish, saying hola, soy Australiana, mi lliamo Dianna. And then something about Independence Day and Viva Mexico. I feel sorry for whoever gets to listen to my Spanish!
Our tour started here, at the Metropolitan Cathedal at 11am sharp with Alexandra. A young graduate who did heaps of historic research so knowledge was excellent. Her English was good to.
This cathedral was built on Aztec ruins. When the Spanish arrived they just knocked down nearly all of the city which had been here 500+ years. Some evidence remains underneath. They even had the hide to use the stone blocks from the Aztec temples!
Similarly the bell in this church towers came from melted down Aztec metals.
Our group were ALL airline staff here in Mexico City for 36 hour layover. 5 KLM and 1 Air France and me. Dutch group below. The building to the left has a congregation of people who write and print cards and letters - but you can't take photos up close as rumour is they still do fake IDs and passports. They say Che and Castro both got fake passports made here.
Alexandra explained so much about the old buildings and history that I am going to have to read up more.
This place stuck in my mind as it was the first mental home for women. We took a sneak peak inside (now health department offices). The doors were fantastic and the carvings sort of tell the purpose.
Some other famous and memorable buildings (in order) Include the archive museum, Postal Palace and Palace Belles Artes.
This beautiful and important concert hall is sinking 6cm a year! Mexico City is built on a drained lake and so quite a few old buildings are sinking and others lean slightly due to earthquakes. They are struggling for a solution.
Lots of shopping in this district and each street seems to have its own specialialty. Such as jewellery, mobile phones, and this one which specialised in gowns for 15 year old debutants. OMG they look like cakes!
But the highlight of the day must be the topless protesting, against political corruption, to mamba music. Lots of bits jiggling. They wanted to get attention and certainly got mine.
Our tour made a quick stop into an 80 year old bakery, which evidenced that Mexicans love their sweets (with upcoming diabetes issues...). It all looked fabulous. Might be on the menu for coffee and cake later...
And then finished at the oldest church in the Americas - Church of San Francisco.
A quick lunch...at a chain restaurant as I needed the loos and the food was predictable and cheap. I had thought maybe a nicer cafe but I found one which seemd to want about $120MXN pesos for a ham and cheese sandwich + add on drink cost. Nope - I walked out. My whole lunch with a bottle of water cost $55MXN pesos or $7. I am happy to spend more on dinner and drinks when Lisa arrives tonight.
Back to the room just after 3pm to get out of the sun and recharge batteries - mine and the camera!
Blogging for an hour and a short nap. The sun, altitude and what I feel was 10km of walking helped m siesta nicely.
Lisa arrived later than expected. Coming from Cuba all bags were checked by sniffer dog and lucky Lisa drew the "random bag search" card too! After and hour or so of catching up (about Cuba and Lisa's bad sunburn) we headed out for dinner where I had seen the locals eat.
No English spoken here so we tried our best in Spanish. All good as what we had was great. Although my tacos arrived with a fried piece of cooked cactus which was not my style. The fresh juice were yummy but we still need a beer later.
Everything was made fresh.
Then a short stroll mainly to find beer but also to see the Palace Belles Artes at night.
Finished our night with a coffee and small chocolate from local 7/11. Yep, we can still sleep because it's been a big day for both of us and more tomorrow!