When we flew into Mexico City from Miami on 1st November 2012 I was quite nervous. I knew it was probably just fear of the unknown, but fear all the same.
The taxi ride to our hostel was pretty scary. The roads were chaos and we were behind two army trucks full of soldiers with machine guns, but once we got to our hostel right by the Zocalo (main square), all was fine.
We arrived in time for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations and saw a couple of small parades pass our hostel and lots of people dressed as the living dead. This is one of the biggest celebrations in Mexico where the living welcome back the dead over three days of festivities.
Dia de Los Muertos is truly a spectacle to witness and I wish we had been more prepared to celebrate it. We loved the decorations, masks and costumes which were intricate and colourful. Locals travel to the cemeteries to sit and celebrate with loved ones that have passed on, making this a great way to experience authentic Mexican culture. Next time for sure.
We spent three nights in Mexico City and saw so many amazing marigold laden shrines to the dead, visited the Ancient ruins of Teotihuacan, Frida Kahlo’s family home in the cobblestone dream that is Coyoacan, the beautiful weekly artisan market of San Angel and the canals of Xochimilco.
Xochimilco is a series of canals that are left from pre-hispanic times when the Mexico City area was a big lake. Mexican families come to rent trajineras, colourful canal boats, to ply the waters – eating, drinking and having fun.
Also thrown into the mix are sales boats trying to sell rugs and trinkets, restaurant boats that you can hire to cook your group a meal and mariachi boats that will pull along beside your trajinera and the band will serenade you once given the appropriate compensation. It was a surreal experience to say the least!
Next we bussed down to Oaxaca City for a couple of days to enjoy this lively colonial city full of character and blessed with some amazing culinary attributes such as chocolate, coffee, mole and crickets (I admit that I didn’t try the crickets).
After sampling Oaxaca City’s weird and wonderful wares, we set out for the Sierra Norte mountains to spend three days hiking between Indigenous Villages.
Our first week in Mexico was pretty damn amazing, and there are still so many places that I want to experience, like La Paz, Copper Canyon and San Miguel de Allende, to name a few.
I have a feeling that I will be seeing a lot more of Mexico in the coming years.