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.
After a late lunch (late for us from the U.S. – we finished by 3 p.m. and there were still people on their lunch breaks) we were off to the National Museum of Anthropology. Considered by many one of the best anthropological museums in the world, this place was amazing. The different salas (rooms) were divided to showcase the history and accomplishments of some of the major ancient civilizations of Mexico. We were there several hours and only scratched the surface of the exhibits, figuratively of course since you can’t touch the pieces. Some of the highlights include the giant Toltec Atlantean warrior figure, the colossal stone heads of the Olmecs, and of course the Aztec Sun Calendar. I love this kind of stuff so I could spend weeks wandering the exhibits.