Zocalo on a typical Monday

Mexico City Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 7 › view all entries
Outdoor walkway of government building
Our last day was so bittersweet for me. I definitely took my time getting up and exiting the hotel because I just didn't want to leave!

Sybil and I discovered that the metro on weekdays is QUITE different from taking the metro on weekends when there are less people and things are much more relaxed. Today, we were caught in the torrent of people trying to get to work and were shoved, squeezed and crowded out of many a train. It was quite tough, even by international standards. I imagine the only place worse may be Tokyo subways! We were very glad that Zocalo was only a few stops away as the atmosphere was much different today than we had experienced the last few.. we were just trying to hang on for dear life today instead of enjoying our breezy ride to and fro.
Cathedral


We visited the cathedral in the middle of the square and spent what has to be the most memorable time I've ever had at a church. The interior was lovely, a pendulum hung from the roof, and just as we were about to head out, Sybil spotted a tour for 12 pesos. I thought to myself "what sort of tour can you possibly get for $1.20?! I said what the heck and sat down to wait for the group to gather. While waiting, I saw a group enter the church and a teenager no older than 17 stood a head above the rest of his family. There's something singularly charming about a handsome, lanky boy who lopes into a cathedral, falls into a bow while making the sign of the cross and eagerly begins searching the large basin for holy water. This would be the same kind of young boy that takes pictures of his mother like she is the most beautiful thing in the world.
Cathedral
I could barely take my eyes off him but our tour was called and we were led to a secret door on the side of the building.


So the tour of the cathedral started off walking up about 110 stairs. Stupid me being the first person through the door into the stairwell, therefore setting the pace for the rest of our tour group and I didn't want to slow them down. So I walked up all the stairs in what felt like one breath and was absolutely GASPING for air by the time we reached the eave. We then climbed through the window onto - get this - the ROOF of the church, and this is no normal roof, this is an UNDULATING roof at some pretty steep angles that we had to clamber over like children. It was great =)

There are some views from this rooftop that you just can't get anywhere else due to its location.
Excavation at Plaza Mayor
For example, the excavations going on at Plaza Mayor that Sybil wanted to see was closed, but from the rooftop, you had a grand view of the excavation. Also, you can see the beautiful domes of other cathedrals and buildings in the distance, giving Mexico a strangely European feel. This tour is also timed so that while you're on the roof, some of the bells begin to chime. Out of the 20 odd bells installed in this cathedral, 3 of them are automatic (every hour) but the lion's share is still rung BY HAND! Obviously this only happens on special occassions and perhaps once a day for whatever reason. Very old school - the tour guide was obviously a full time bell-ringing employee of the church.

After the cathedral, Sybil and I walked through the narrow streets of Zocalo that were undergoing construction.
Dancers in the main plaza
We were hoping to see the Queen of Denmark but no one could give us a precise time of when she would be passing through the Plaza and it being our last day, we really couldn't afford to just sit around. We bought tacos for 50cents (5 pesos) on the street that were delicious! The secret to outdoor taco stands is to find one that is really crowded and preferably not mobile. These usually are more hygenic and remain in the same place because they are confident of their product. We enjoyed our tacos in big gulps and were just in time to see some strange dancing in extraordinary costumes.

The sun was really hot today and after a bit more wandering around and Sybil attempting to charm her way into seeing the closed Plaza Mayor excavations, we decided to approach the large nomadic art museum to see what that was all about.
Ashes and Snow exhibition
The line was very long, wrapping around and around like at an airport, and it seemed to be because entrance was free!

The phorographer/videographer seemed to go all over the world to photograph and film exotic places and people with an emphasis on animals such as leopards, hyenas, manatees and elephants interacting with tibetan children, kenyan families and beautiful women. My favorite video was of the water ballets in the ocean alongside whales and manatees. I'm not quite sure how they shot these films as the dancers were moving in such amazing shapes and never seemed to come up for air! Often they would manage to touch the animals or lay their heads down as if to sleep on some part of the animal, and I can't imagine how they were able to manage this underwater.
Ashes and Snow exhibition
They were often bare-chested with some flowing clothing on their bottom halves, so they definitely were not wearing air tanks. I don't imagine there being too many crew members swimming nearby them because that would have scared off these majestic creatures! So I am kind of left scratching my head on this one...

But the images were stunning, evocative and beautiful, but came off somewhat pretentious. It was very hot inside this mobile museum and the soothing music caused Sybil and I to nod off occasionally during the films. Large tapestries of some of the more stunning images were on display and outside they were selling postcards and prints of some of these glamorous shots.

When we exited, the gates around the plaza were being taken down, telling us that the Queen of Denmark had already departed.
Palacio
Since it was about 4 hours before our flight, we decided to go back to the Condesa hotel for our last lunch and get ready to head out to the airport. We sadly left the Zocala, primarily because we were unable to see most of it due to the fact that 1) it was Monday so many things there were closed and 2) the President and Queen were visiting, so many buildings were closed to the public at this time.

I definitely want to go back and see some of the things we missed, primarily Chapultapec park and more of the state buildings at Zocalo. But I would definitely bring some bagged lunch as there is very little to eat except streetside tacos!
jenn79 says:
thank you Patrick! I hope to go back soon, it's my favorite city in the world!
Posted on: Jan 17, 2016
patirkc_AAA says:
Great blog! Hope you got a chance to get back to Mexico City! :)
Posted on: Nov 19, 2015
rcpilgrim says:
Enjoyed reading your blog!
Posted on: Feb 09, 2013
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Outdoor walkway of government buil…
Outdoor walkway of government bui…
Cathedral
Cathedral
Cathedral
Cathedral
Excavation at Plaza Mayor
Excavation at Plaza Mayor
Dancers in the main plaza
Dancers in the main plaza
Ashes and Snow exhibition
Ashes and Snow exhibition
Ashes and Snow exhibition
Ashes and Snow exhibition
Palacio
Palacio
Nomadic Museum
Nomadic Museum
One of the bell towers
One of the bell towers
View from roof of cathedral
View from roof of cathedral
Pendulum thing - why do they have …
Pendulum thing - why do they have…