Started out the day in Coyoacan and browsed around a market there. They have a lot of the local crafts and such, but generally of a higher quality and without the aggressive sales tactics at a lot of tourist areas. There was an artisan there selling the traditional carved and painted animals from the Oaxaca area. They had a display of these at the Mexico area in EPCOT years ago and we’ve never seen one’s of that high quality for sale other than from this guy, so we picked up a couple small ones.
Also of note for a certain one of our friends that just can’t get enough of the stuff: every imaginable variant of MOLE!!!! The vendor’s name: “Gour-Mole” mmmm..mmmm =)
There’s also some museums in the Coyoacan area and we went to the Leon Trotsky museum…. kind of an interesting story. The short version is that he was a Russian exiled in Mexico City, who was ultimately killed by assassins from Stalin. The Google or The Wikipedia could do his story more justice than I could. Anyhow, it should be interesting as a reference when we visit Stalin related sites in Moscow.
Chapultepec has a large series of gardens that lead up a hill to a large castle. There’s more history in this castle than I’m able to easily repeat. It seems to have been the residence for French imperialist overlords and then subsequently Mexican presidents for some time. At present, it’s a museum that covers a great span of modern Mexican history. Lot’s of interesting Spanish and French artifacts, as well as preserved rooms from the 1800′s.
The setting on top of a hill overlooking downtown reminded me just a little of Mount Royal park overlooking Montreal. The northeast side of Chapultepec Castle overlooks Paseo de la Reforma leading to a stunning view of the Angel of Independence. I think it’s safe to say that this layout was intentional: The symbol of Mexico’s independence directed right at a symbol of prior colonial rule.