Central Mexico – Ciudad de Mexico

Leaving Ajijic we headed for the higher elevations around Mexico City

We stayed in the historic Gran Hotel de la Ciudad, which started life as a department store.

Tiffany glass roof in Gran Hotel de la Ciudad

Tiffany glass detail

Songbirds provide music in the foyer of the hotel

Bedroom Gran Hotel de la Ciudad

Bathroom Gran Hotel de la Ciudad

Marble bath in the Gran Hotel de la Ciudad

Roof terrace restaurant in Gran Hotel de la Ciudad overlooking the Zocolo. The service was friendly but slow and the food average; but the view was fantastic.

Overlooking the strikers camping out in the Zocolo.  The enormous flag was not being flown during the protests.

Palacio Nacional from the roof terrace

Mexico City streets are filled with trees.  There are racks of government sponsored public bicycles in various locations around the city

Public bicycles

Recycled recycling bin

China Town Mexico City

China Town Mexico City

VW bug car completely covered in beads by our Huichol Indian friend, Alvaro Ortiz.  The museum was closed but we managed to get a glimpse of the car.  He is currently working on covering a grand piano for the Cervantes Festival in Guanajuato.

Memorial to the Boy Heroes

Palacio de Bellas Artes

In front of Palaci de Bellas Artes with trolley in the background

Hand watering the public gardens from a water truck

The house of tiles

Detail of the House of Tiles

Nuns selling wares for charity

Church façade Mexico City. The walkway to the left and the raised lintel are the re in case of flooding. Mexico City sits on a reclaimed lake bed.

Church courtyard

Door detail

Discreet Mc Donalds

City Cathedral on the Zocolo

Façade of Palacio Nacional with the bell rung by Miguel Hidalgo to call the people to battle with his “Grito de Independencia”.

Independence bell

Diego Rivera mural in Palacio Nacional

Heroes of the Independence movement at the heart of the mural

Rivera mural

Rivera mural

Rivera mural representing the labor movement.  The banner “huelga” means “strike”.  Outside in the zocolo at the time we were there, members of the electrical workers union were camping out in a long term protest of the banning of unions.

Rivera mural

Founding of Mexico City

Indian arts

Indian arts

Religious festival

Cultivation of crops

Arrival of Conquistadors and enslavement of Indians

The Mexico City metro system is modern and efficient with frequent trains.  Any trip anywhere costs only 3 pesos.  Underground passages of the metro lined with countless bookstores

Aztec altar found during excavations for the metro

Different avenues in Viveros park were lined with different types of trees including eucalyptus.  It is a popular place for joggers.

One of the numerous squirrels in the Viveros park on the walk to Frida Kahlo’s house in Coyoacan.

Viveros is a tree cultivation nursery for Mexico City ’s parks, gardens and avenues with scores of seedlings being readied for planting out around the city.

Nico driving a tree car in Viveros park

Bella walking through a tree in the Viveros park

Chile growing in Viveros

Tree seedlings being cultivated for planting all around the city

Entryway to La Casa Azul

In the garden of La Casa Azul , Frida Kahlo’s house

Casa Azul

Casa Azul

Frida’s bedroom with the mirrored bed canopy she used for her many self portraits.  Her crutches are in the corner.

View of the garden from Frida’s bedroom

Chapultepec Castle was begun in 1785 and completed after Independence.  It was a military academy where the famed 6 young cadets refused to retreat when the invading American army, led by Winfield Scott, amassed at the foot of the fortress on September 11th 1847.  On the 13th 8,000 American troops stormed the castle where the boys were six of the four hundred that remained defending it.  One cadet wrapped himself in the flag and threw himself from the tower rather than have it fall into enemy hands. All of them perished in the battle.

Bella and the Memorial to the 6 boy heroes of the Mexican American war

Climbing the hill to Chapultepec Castle

A train can take the feint hearted

View over Chapultepec park with boating ponds below

View from the castle

Ceiling fresco representing the boy hero, Vicente Suarez, who flung himself from the tower wrapped in the flag to prevent it from falling into enemy hands.

View of the Boy Heroes memorial from the castle

Tower from which Vicente Suarez flung himself

Plaque memorializing Vicente Suarez

The names of the six cadets, aged between 13 and 19 years, were Teniente (lieutenant) Juan de la Barrera and cadets Agustín Melgar, Juan Escutia, Vicente Suárez, Francisco Márquez and Fernando Montes de Oca. There is a statue memorial for each of them in the grounds of the Citadel.

Boy with his heroes

The castle was temporarily home to Bonaparte’s puppet brother  Emperor Maximillian and his wife, Carlotta, who arrived in 1864 It was then the official residence of Mexican presidents until1939, when it became a museum.

Mural celebrating Benito Juarez

Chapultepec means grasshopper