On the way back to the US, I made a 10 day stop in Mexico to spend a little more time with Tania. She did her best to show me even more of Mexico City and its surroundings. Judging by the obscene length of this post, I'd say she did a good job.
Our first stop was a visit to Santa Fe, the ritziest and boringest part of the city if you ask me. Lots of soulless office buildings and none of the local charm and walkability that makes the rest of Mexico City so great. Frankly, it looks a bit like a modern American city's downtown, just more sparse.
At the outskirts of the city there's a national park (eerily named "Desert of Lions") that features this old convent. It's a peaceful escape from the city.
Now we're back in Mexico baby, but holy bajesus were those enchiladas spicy.
The National Museum of Anthropology is fantastic, I felt like I was on Legends of the Hidden Temple.
I want all of this in my house someday.
Saw this guy on the way home.
We also visited Tepoztlan, a small touristy town that is supposedly the birthplace of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec feathered serpent god.
There's a steep trail you can climb that leads to the Aztec Tepozteco pyramid, which is on a clifftop overlooking the town. It was built somewhere around 1200 C.E.
On the road to Taxco, in Tequesquitengo.
From Tepoztlan, we headed to Taxco, which you could think of as a whitewashed Guanajuato. This city used to be a major Silver extraction center by the Spanish. Today, you can't walk 10 yards in Taxco without passing a shop selling silver wears.
Like Guanjuato, the rugged terrain leads to some very narrow and steep streets. As you can see they also often lack sidewalks, making them picturesque but dangerous, and are paved with dark stones.
The town's skyline is dominated by the Santa Prisca Church. It's a Baroque building, built in 1751 by a man who became fabulously wealthy in the silver mines. Despite his wealth, the opulence of the church nearly bankrupted him.
'nother day at the office for Tania.
'nother day in the life of a gangsta.
We explored the remains of an old gold mining operation, recently discovered during a renovation of the fanciest hotel in Taxco.
Pozas Azules, just outside of Taxco. Very pretty and very cold.
On the way home we stopped at Las Grutas de Cacahuamilpa, the largest cave system in the world. Groundwater still filters down to it, so the formations are still growing today.
Basically anywhere you go in Mexico, if there are tourists, there are micheladas and pina coladas.
We stopped in Metepec on the way home to have dinner with some of Tania's friends there. Metepec is a small town within the larger city of Toluca (I still remember what you did to me last time Toluca).
A few days later we visited the ruins of Tula, which was at one time the capital of the Toltec Empire, around the year 900 C.E.
Walking back from the ruins, you see some interesting plant life.
We also visited the town of Pachuca, which has a delightful but small historical center.
The main draw to Pachuca is its clock tower. It was built in 1910 to commemorate the centennial of Mexico's by the same company that built Big Ben in London.
Pachuca also has a clown.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Mexico.
This bad boy is called molcajete.
When a sign says "Tacos de cabeza" in Mexico, it means exactly what it says.
In the area around Pachuca, you are in the land of pastes. They're basically empanadas but with a thin layer of sweet dough, often filled with ground beef, apples, pineapple, sweetened rice, tinga, and mole.
If you're in Mexico City and you like BBQ, be sure to check out Pinche Gringo (translation: goddamn gringo).
The Basaltic Prisms, formed by cooling lava.
Yet another day at the office for Tania.
Nearby Huasca de Ocampo. They're obsessed with elves and leprechauns here for some reason.
While in Huasca, we snuck into an expensive hotel that used to be a grand hacienda and toured the grounds.
"La Marquesa" is a forest park 15 minutes outside of Mexico City, and serves as a nice family getaway on the weekends.
And yes, as promised, there will be pina coladas.
Outside, you can see the Mexican version of a strip mall.
Of course, no visit to Mexico City would be complete without some drunken debauchery at Xochimilco, Mexico's take on Venice.
Until next time :)