After a long flight from Rio we arrived in Mexico city to a noticeable change in temperature. Going from spring to autumn and to an altitude of 2250m was something of a shock to the system.
We were staying in a neighbourhood called Coyoacán, which is where the artist Frida Kahlo was born. Although a little way out from the centre, it easily made up for this through its excellent food markets and charming atmosphere. It also meant that we were in an ideal location to visit Kahlo’s old house which has been turned into a museum.
One of the most interesting features of the city is its wonky buildings. Initially we thought this might be due to some dodgy architecture, but it turns out the city was originally built on a lake, and is gradually sinking at a rate of around 10cm a year. Despite this, the buildings themselves are quite stunning, including an enormous national palace and a Spanish-looking cathedral. Unfortunately though, one of the main Aztec temples was destroyed in 1521 to make way for this cathedral.
We were lucky enough to stumble across an Aztec ritual taking place in the middle of the city. Hundreds of people were dancing along to drums in traditional dress, with lots of incense burning and conch shells being blown. Although we had no idea what was going on, it was so interesting to see.
Before we left Mexico City we took a day trip to see the remains of the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan, around 25 miles away. Established around 100BC, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas, with over 150,000 inhabitants at its peak. The remains of a number of the city’s pyramids still exist and made for a fascinating day out. Climbing up the pyramids of the sun and the moon offered impressive views of the whole site.
It was refreshing to finally get some decent local food with more than one vegetarian option. Plus, the addition of chilli and enough avocado for an army was a real treat! We were excited to eat the rest of our way through Mexico.