Mexico City Tour (2n/3d)

Palacio des Bellas Artes Mexico City

Palacio des Bellas Artes Mexico City

Day 1 – Friday – ARRIVAL
Arrive at Mexico City airport, where you are met and transferred to the hotel of your choice. Time permitting, a first walk around will acquaint you with that area of one of world’s largest cities.

Start the day with a drive towards the huge city’s southern suburbs, soon reaching the colonial district of Coyoacán. Magnificent residences group around the 16th Century Franciscan cloister of the Saint John the Baptist church, where social life unfolds, enriched by cafés, bars, bookstores and museums, constituting a centre of attraction for Mexican and foreign visitors alike. Our next stop will be the fabled Casa Azul, the Blue House that was Frida Kahlo’s home, intermittently, from her birth to her death. It was here that she lived with her muralist husband Diego Rivera and also here where they hosted Bolshevik leader Trotsky and his wife. The House, of course, is now a remarkable museum, or perhaps we should say it is a real pilgrimage shrine for Frida’s innumerable, worldwide fans. Proceed to Coyoacán’s famous Mercado, a typical Mexican market that is a true feast to the senses, with its variety of colours and odours. Piñatas hanging from the ceiling, a wealth of exotic tropical fruits and vegetables, mountains of countless varieties of hot chile peppers, these are just some of the sights and sensations that will make this visit a memorable one. On to the neighbouring colonial suburb of San Angel, with its cobble-stoned streets and stately mansions, where we can stroll around picturesque Plaza San Jacinto, with free time to enjoy a spree through the colourful Saturday Bazaar. Built around a courtyard, the bazaar features the work of some of Mexico’s finest artisans in silver, enamel, pottery, glass and textiles. At the Bazar del Sábado you can enjoy shopping for Mexican paintings, sculptures, and excellent quality handicrafts. Outside, on the plaza, tour members will enjoy a permanent art exhibition and a colourful bustle of vendors, artisans, and artists. Those with a good eye for art have a unique opportunity to find excellent samples of contemporary Mexican painting. This area of the city was also the home, not so many years ago, of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, who have left a deep mark in the consciousness of the Mexican people, especially in these southern districts. Free time for a restoring midday bite. We now drive further south, to the unique floating gardens of Xochimilco, where we embark in a typical trajinera, starting a canal-ride with accompaniment of a Mariachi band sailing alongside, watching Mexican families enjoy their favourite weekend pastime. On our way back, a stop is made at University City, the largest institute of high learning in the Continent, with many interesting buildings, such as the Central Library, completely covered with murals by Juan O’Gorman, executed in natural stone mosaics. The adjoining Olympic Stadium is decorated with a bas-relief mural by Diego Rivera, and many other artists have left their mark in this showcase of modern Mexican architecture. Return to hotel, with remainder of the day free.

Day 3 – Sunday – CITY TOUR
A comprehensive tourwill acquaint us with the multiple aspects of this manysided town, once the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, today one of the world’s great metropolises. Start with a visit to the immense central square, Zócalo, flanked by the baroque Metropolitan Cathedral, by National Palace –where the history of the country has been depicted on Diego Rivera’s famous murals- which is the seat of the Mexican Government, and by the archaeological vestiges of the old Aztec city’s Templo Mayor. Our journey continues through the splendidly colonial Centro Histórico, in the process of full restoration, past Santo Domingo Square with the old Inquisition Palace, and such architectural jewels as the unique House of Tiles, the Palace of Emperor Iturbide and the Venetian-inspired Central Post Office. Continue to the white-marble Palace of Fine Arts, where invaluable works of art of Mexico’s most prominent painters are in exhibition, and on to Chapultepec Park, for a visit to one of the world’s best and most extraordinary museums, the Museo Nacional de Antropología, with its rich collections of pre-Columbian art. These include the impressive Sun Stone, better known as the Aztec Calendar, as well as the stone sculpture of the gruesome goddess of Earth and Death, Coatlicue, the snake-skirted one. A massive, 168-ton monolith of Aztec rain god Tláloc zealously guards the museum’s entrance, while keeping an eye on the always heavy traffic of the stately Paseo de la Reforma, the city’s proud landmark. Return to hotel to enjoy a free afternoon and evening. Last overnight in Mexico City.

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