Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tlaxcala, Biggest Little City in Mexico!

After consulting our tourist books, we all decided to have ourselves an adventure today.  We headed out of the DF to the southeast toward Puebla and Veracruz to check out the city of Tlaxcala and its surrounding pre-Hispanic ruin sites.

The weather was so clear and beautiful, we had to pull off the highway (in a safe area, don't worry) to get some shots of the volcanos.  This is the Popocatepetl (aka Popo) on the left with the smoke coming out, and Itzaccihuatl (aka Itza) on the right.

Top o' the morning to ya Tlaxcala!  This is the back of the cathedral, brightly painted to match the clear blue sky.

This was the front of the cathedral, all done up in talavera.   The inside was mint green, but there were services going on, so we just looked.

This is part of the main (read: only) attraction in the city of Tlaxcala.  This is a mural depicting Tlaxcala's colorful history painted in their government building on their zocalo.  Tlaxcala sided with the Spanish during the conquest and the revolution, and the word Tlaxcala has become synonymous with traitor.  Interesting.  

Here we are towards the end of the mural, depicting modern Mexico.

After the murals, we tried to find something else to do in Tlaxcala.  We wandered up this hill.  The top had one of the oldest churches in North America.  It kind looked like the other churches, though :)

This is the smallest bullfighting ring in Mexico.

Tlaxcala watch tower.
After our brief tour of Tlaxcala, we set out to find the ruins.  Our first stop was Cacaxtla just outside of the city.

Wild poinsettias.

One spectacular cactus.

Here we go, more patrimony of the world!

These paintings are what made Cacaxtla really cool.  There were quite a few of them, but they didn't photograph well.  Here is an example of one that came out decent.

After Cacaxtla we made our way over to the other site in the area, Xochitecatl.  This is one of Xochitecatl's 3 pyramids.

This is the round pyramid at Xochitecatl, and the last photo from our camera before its battery died.

Ever resourceful, we whipped out our iPhones to continue photographing the area.  On top of the round pyramid was this cross.  Here it is with Popo (left) and Itza (right) in the background.

Here's Eric with a miniature Stonehenge.  Say Whiskey!

And finally, the third pyramid at Xochitecatl with the volcano La Malinche in the background.

After the sites, we decided to head over to Puebla (we weren't that far) for an excellent dinner and some talavera shopping.  All in all, we had a pretty great adventure!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day of the Dead Festivites

So last night our good friends E & E flew in from Seattle for a vacation here in Mexico City during Day of the Dead.  We got up bright and early this morning and made our way to San Angel and Coyoacan in the south to do a little shopping and enjoy the ambiance leading up to Mexico's big day on Wednesday.

Here we are in disguise as catrinas!  (Catrina is the word for the ubiquitous Day of the Dead skeleton.)  Bet you didn't even know it was us! 

Catrinas chillin' in the park in San Angel.

Here is an ofrenda on the street.  People build these in honor of loved ones who have passed away.  They are usually decorated with marigolds to attract the souls of the dead (thanks Wikipedia!), sugar skulls and the deceased's favorite foods and drinks.

Photogenic catrina.

In Coyoacan we found a whole tent full of Day of the Dead stuff.  Here is another ofrenda.

And here we have catrinas playing marbles.

We saw this giant catrina in the park, but you had to pay to get your picture taken with it, so we just admired from afar.

Coyoacan means wolf.  Neat.

And we ended the afternoon enjoying some Mezcal.  To me it tasted like someone put a BBQ in a cup, but others enjoyed it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Athens-Paris-Mexico City

We left Greece early, before the air traffic controllers had their coffee and woke up enough to go on strike, so there were no delays on the flights. We had a brief layover in Paris where I secretly hoped we would be bumped off the flight and would "have to" stay there for a few days. There were no problems, and we made it back home safe and sound...

...with our LOOT!

NOTE:  This is mostly goodies from Turkey since the Greeks couldn't stop striking for long enough for us to buy anything there.

Look! Its the Eiffel Tower!