Arriving in Old Tenochtitlan and Zocalo

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The problem with starting a travel blog is that this isn’t my full time job (a man can dream). But circumstances smiled on my girlfriend and I in the form of a last-minute trip to Mexico City. We were both free for a week in mid-June, and we found flights to Mexico City from Chicago for $275. Honestly, this isn’t extraordinarily cheap but it was cheap enough for us to book the flights and an AirBnB on four days notice.

Arriving in Mexico City

When we arrived, we took an Uber from Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez (Mexico City International Airport to everyone else). It isn’t often that I use this expression, but our room had a lot of character. 

Our room had a patio with steel doors that overlooked the street below.

Formerly the DF, now CDMX in Mexico City

Looking out to the CDMX

We spent the afternoon meandering the streets of downtown Mexico City, getting our first taste of this monolithic city. When we hear about Mexico in the US, this isn’t what comes to mind. But instead, we found we found a bright, thriving, cosmopolitan city. In a way, it reminded me of Istanbul: dense and alive, active yet also easy-going. Instead of Islam being the popular religion, there Catholicism; and instead of having a decidedly European flair, Mexico City’s brand of cosmopolitan was American flavored.

Formerly the DF, now CDMX in Mexico City

Formerly the DF, now CDMX in Mexico City

Out and About 

In Mexico City, I had the same problem that I had in Shanghai: pollution. CDMX is one of the most polluted cities in the world and my photos show that. The sky blew out in a few of these pictures.

As we walked around, we made it to our first stop of the day–Angel De La Independencia. I would have had to stand in traffic to get a straight-on shot. If there was one thing in Mexico City that I was afraid of, it was the traffic.

Angel De La Independencia in Mexico City

And then we slipped off for dinner and to fall asleep. Thrilling end to our first day.

Zocalo and the CDMX

The next morning, we woke up early with the intent to see all that Zocalo had to offer. It’s the third largest public square after Tiananmen Square in Beijing and Red Square in Moscow. However, there was a large construction barrier in the middle of the square, which mutes the aesthetic.

The area used to be called Distrito Federal (or simply DF), but in 2016, it officially became Ciudad de México (CDMX). In order to really hammer home the name change, there were CDMX signs everywhere.

Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Though don’t focus on the logo too much. That building behind it is Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de la Santísima Virgen María a los cielos (English: Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven) or more simply Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral. And it’s the largest cathedral in the Americas.

La Catedral Mexico City

That’s not to say the other buildings on the square were slouches. This was the National Palace (which we’ll go inside in the next post):

The National Palace in Mexico City

And this was… a building. I may have gotten a little giddy with all the old buildings.

CDMX - Mexico City

Anyway, we began by going inside the Cathedral, and it was just as expansive and ornate as expected. This was one of two halls of similar size.

Inside the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

And the shrines were awe-inspiring.

Inside the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

I got this nice shot of a chandelier. Purely by accident, if I’m honest.

Chandelier Inside the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Meanwhile, someone (not naming names) got a picture of me taking pictures. I look like such a tourist, but the pictures turned out well enough that I don’t even care.

Photographer in Action

I snapped this picture outside. Again, the sky is blowing out because of the pollution but it’s still a nice picture.

Outside National Palace in Mexico City

And in the next post, we’ll go inside the Templo Mayor Museum and The National Palace.

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