It’s no mean feat getting to grips with what is purported to be the most populous city on Planet Earth, yet once you get your bearings, Mexico City is a deceptively simple place to get around, whether on foot or courtesy of public transport.
But where to go first?The most obvious place to kick-start one’s exploratory forays in Mexico City is at its main square, The Zocalo, around which the Historical Centre raucously revolves at breakneck pace.
Given the wealth of things to see and do in The Zocalo’s immediate surroundings, many visitors to the city will no doubt focus all their energies on this area of the city at the expense of others, and that’s a great shame, especially since there are far more fascinating and attractive districts to acquaint oneself with.Take Coyoacan for instance, located in the southern part of Mexico City.
A stunningly picturesque district popular amongst visitors and city residents alike, Coyoacan owes much of its popularity to infamous Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera.
It’s in Coyoacan that a house in which they once resided together has been tastefully converted into an extraordinary museum inside of which examples of their work are displayed, along with other pieces of ‘memorabilia’ affiliated with the couple, including original handwritten letters from their friends. The attractively landscaped garden, meanwhile, provides the perfect place to chill out after your tour of the house is through.A short distance away from Coyoacan is the equally-as-beguiling district of San Angel, and from here it is possible to walk all the way along Insurgentes Sur to Paseo de la Reforma, with the latter road one of the main arteries that crosses the city on a rough horizontal axis, connecting the Zona Rosa area with the Historical Centre in style.
While the grand buildings lining Paseo de la Reforma are mainly modern skyscrapers that can’t fail to gleam once the midday sun bears down with an unforgiving vengeance, areas which are visibly stricken by poverty are never far away.Keen to compare the many different areas of Mexico City at large, I purposefully walked into as many poor areas as my legs would allow.
While areas such as Candelaria appeared to be extremely poor, it was in such areas that the street-life really lived up to my expectations. Young and old folk alike actively made it their business to hang out on the streets instead of hiding away inside their humble abodes.
Indeed, it was in Candelaria that I came to appreciate just how tight the majority of the different communities that make up Mexico City are, and I immediately realised that I’d rather be amongst such action than stalking the comparatively sterile streets of the city’s Financial District, for example.Life is there for the living, and Mexicans can never be accused of allowing their lives to pass them by. Recognizing their zest for going with the flow and living for the moment, I hung back in Candelaria for longer than intended, shamelessly ingratiating myself with the locals as though Mexico had got under my skin like no country ever had before. Yet more than the country, as incredible as it is, it was its people that I wholeheartedly adored.
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