Finding our way : Three days of days of Diego Rivera and more

Paul on the Metro   

Paul on the Metro


By Uber

Finding your way in a city of 22,000,000 can be daunting, but we know we are up to the challenge. To visit the Diego Rivera Museum Anahuacalli, we took an Uber. Easy, inexpensive and efficient. We found the building to be beautiful in itself, constructed of local materials (basalt) in the pre-Columbian way,  excavated from a nearby lava field. Although Diego Rivera (henceforth referred to as Diego) designed the museum, it was not about him or his art. Diego was a a passionate collector of pre-Columbian artifacts and loved the history of Mexico. The beauty in the museum is found in the arrangement of the artifacts and the design of the building. Here are some examples of the beautiful ceilings and a display. The museum was very dim, so had trouble getting great pics of the artifacts. Also a cool tree that we could see from the rooftop, unfortunately the smog obscured the view of the volcanoes.

Next we Ubered up to the Dolores Olmedo Patino Museum. On these lush grounds housing peacocks, geese, hairless dogs and other wildlife, the works of art find a home in a graceful sixteenth century hacienda. Inside, one finds an extensive collection of Diego's paintings, drawings, including his pre-muralist years, and more of his beautiful artifacts and folkart. The Frida exhibit was closed and being prepared for a visit to Milan. My favorite kind of museum--a 2 hour tour!

By Metro

The fastest way to get around this bustling city is via the Metro. Although lines are well marked, the first time one tries anything can be challenging. Gathering our courage, we plunged into the depths and headed to the plaza on Line 3, changing to Line 4. Congratulating ourselves on the ride, we headed to the elegant National Place, which houses Diego's most famous mural of the history of Mexico. This beautiful work of art, chronicling the history and accomplishments of the many indigenous tribes indigenous people, the cruel conquest of the Spanish Army and the Catholic Church, the mistreatment of the Mexican people by a corrupt government, and Diego's Marxist/communist vision for the future. Although I have seen this work several times and continue to be amazed by the incredible design and execution of a mural of this size. Here are some previews and photos from another temporary exhibit, and of course the beautiful fountain.

Needing nourishment, we did the very touristy thing--ambled to the Gran Hotel de Mexico for a late lunch and beers. The best thing I can say about the Terraza restaurant it that is has a salad bar. Now that may sound very 80's, but I needed some vegetables. Also, it overlooks the Zocalo, the third largest city square in the world. Ordinarily it would have been bustling with activity, people strolling sightseeing and many vendors. I say ordinarily because, for it's Christmas present to its citizens, the city of Mexico covered the plaza with a giant ice skating rink. Cool? Humm. 

The view of the ice rink on the Zocalo from the Gran Hotel de Mexico.

The view of the ice rink on the Zocalo from the Gran Hotel de Mexico.

After lunch and seeing a few more sights, we braved the Metro again and headed home.

By Taxi

Our next vagabond adventure took us to the famous Saturday market in the neighborhood of San Angel. We arrived by taxi to find the place teeming with people, including the first people we had encountered speaking English in a week. By taxi? Yes. A clever patron of the Metro had picked my purse the previous evening. The thief only got the phone, but now we are without any telephone, so no way to call an Uber!

The market delighted the senses with colorful spreads of textiles, toys, hats, art and much more. We aren't shopping (we just downsized) yet it was fun exploring the two plazas and side streets that housed the merchandise. After a couple of hours, we stopped for a cerveza, and headed out on foot to find the Museum of Diego Rivera and Frida Khalo. It was an adventure following the winding uphill streets with a paper map, and no phone map. Our efforts were rewarded when we encountered the Museum at 5:25 p.m., although it closed at six. Thirty minutes was the perfect amount of time to see the home studios, 3 separate but connected homes where Diego, Frida and their dear friend and architect of the compound Juan O'Gorman lived for several years. The exhibit chronicling Diego's trip to Moscow and his admiration of the USSR had however precluded the viewing of all of the Frida paintings that are usually displayed.

On Foot

After this visit, we strolled the two miles back to our home for a rest. While lounging on the patio, we met our first new friend, staying in another building in our little compound. Aurora, a physicist visiting the nearby university for work, is from Barcelona, our first stop in phase two of our vagabond life. Aurora is very interesting and her English is great, so Paul could take part in the conversation. We agreed to meet up in Barcelona and are already emailing each other.

Aurora, our new friend from Barcelona.

Aurora, our new friend from Barcelona.

Later we dined at Paul's new-found favorite place, Taqueria Tres Coyotes, where we ate the best meal so far including beef tongue tacos! We also made friends with the family sitting next to us, what a surprise! No, Paul talks to everyone.

A Day without Diego

Feeling the desire to conquer the Metro, on Sunday we once again took Line 3 to Line 4 to the Zocalo to see the magnificent pre-Columbian ruins discovered under the downtown area during the building of a sewer. The excavation of the Plaza Mayor began in 1978 and continues today. The temple consists of 7 temples built on top of one another by the Aztecs. We enjoyed exploring the site where much of the architecture is extremely well preserved. Next, we spent time downtown, but on Sunday many of the shops and are restaurants are closed. Returning without mishap on the Metro, we settled in for cocktails on our patio. About 9:30, the urge for tacos returned and we revisited Tres Coyotes. Delicioso!

What’s next

Exploring the city, a cooking class on Thursday,  a soccer game on Sunday and a daily latte from the coffee shop 1/2 minute from our houose. Oh, and did I mention the weather? Highs in the sixties and seventies, nice and warm in the sun, and chilly nights in the 30’s and 40’s. Perfect.