Today was our first excursion day. We had to leave the hotel early and drove to three significant historical sites. Our first stop was Plaza Tlatelolco, also known as the Plaza de las Tres Culturas. Representative of the blending and layering of history that is so typical of Mexico City, this plaza has Aztec ruins, a 17th century church and 1950’s era apartment building.
Next we drove to a major religious site for the Catholic Church – the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The old basilica, built in the 1600s, is slowly sinking due to soft ground. After several hundred years the tilt is very significant. When you walk inside if feels very strange because the front part is sinking faster than the back, causing quite the slanting floor. The new basilica now houses the original timal, Juan Diego’s cloak that has the image of the virgin on it. We saw several pilgrimage processionals. It is a very popular place, there were throngs of visitors from all over the world. The image of this Virgin is everywhere in Mexico – tshirts, mugs, posters, jewelry, etc. Continue reading →
Wednesday I saw a considerable amount of the murals of Diego Rivera, maybe a little too much of a good thing. The murals, at the time they were painted, represented a democratization of art, putting the art on public walls where everyone could enjoy it. Two government buildings with many of their walls covered in Rivera murals are the Secretaria Education Publica (SED) – which is the Department of Public Education – and the Palacio Nacional. Continue reading →
There are eight in our group of adventuring educators. We are similar in many ways but also incredibly diverse in our areas of specialization. This makes for a fascinating mix. One way that we are all similar is that each member of the team is a well-seasoned traveler, this isn’t the first international rodeo for anyone here. For example: Lovinder has been to base camp in Napal, Elizabeth has been almost everywhere, Cap does medical missions frequently to Central and South America. We get to share our crazy travel stories with an appreciative audience. We also get to swap travel tips and techniques. Continue reading →
After a dreamless sleep in my cozy little hotel room I met the team for our first full day in this amazing city. We took a crowded subway ride to Chapultepec Park. Cahpultepec is an ancient word for “place with a lot of grasshoppers” – we didn’t see any grasshoppers but did see many fearless squirrels. We walked through the lush green park, along paths lined with vender carts and a pretty little lake. Eventually we climbed the hill to the Castillo Chapultepec. Formally the home to presidents and rules of Mexico it is now the National History Museum. Several local legends and myths exist about the castle. Not the least is about the niños héroes, six teen cadets who died defending the castle against the invading U.S. Marines in 1847. Now it houses beautiful exhibits of various aspects of the history of Mexico. My favorites were the display of 17th and 18th century jewelry and a malachite door. Continue reading →