Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Mexico 2019

The Zócalo and much more

After a somewhat lazy day on Thursday, I was raring to go once more, the feeling made all the more keen by the realisation that this was my last full day in Mexico. I began on my own doorstep: the gardens adjacent to the hotel's back door on the Paseo de la Reforma were dedicated to the renowned British prime minister Winston Churchill, and seemed worthy of a closer look. The theme continued and was almost in danger of getting out of control: my local metro station, Auditorio, was marked by an unexpected example of the celebrated London Transport roundel, while inside the station itself was a series of posters extolling the virtues of the UK.

Following a change of trains, I emerged from the metro system in due course in the Zócalo, Mexico City's main square. (As we have already seen on this trip, the name is used in several Mexican cities for the main square, but the practice began here in the capital.) I thought at first that I was right in front of Mexico City Cathedral, but that wasn't quite true. In a situation identical to what we had found in Guadalajara earlier in the trip, the cathedral had a very close neighbour known as a Sagrario which had the status of a parish church. Although it took me a few minutes to realise the truth, I was directly in front of the Sagrario. I had a look around this, but didn't get very far with similar efforts at the cathedral, as a service was about to start in the larger building.

The Zócalo itself struck me as cleaner and tidier than I remembered from 2011. I also thought that many of the buildings, and in particular the cathedral, looked markedly less crooked. During my first visit to the destination, I had been appalled by the perilous state of many of the buildings, caused by a combination of draining the water table, being surrounded by volcanoes and being situated on a fault line! Now it seemed to me that the various measures for straightening up the buildings might just be working. There was an interesting open-air exhibition in the square showing posters and photographs of it in times past.

Moving on, I made my way through busy streets and markets, ending up in Plaza de Santo Domingo. I recognised this from 2011, and in particular the eponymous church and the Medical School. Proceeding in a generally westwards direction, I then saw the City Theatre, the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City and the National Arts Museum.

Following a break for lunch, I soon found myself in familiar territory, around the park known as Alameda Central, where I was able to renew my acquaintance with the Latin America Tower and the spectacular Palace of Fine Arts.

I returned to base at this point, well satisfied with the ground I had covered and the associated haul of new photographs. Following a rest (and the conclusion of Bruce's working day), we spent our final evening in the InterContinental's club lounge. On a Friday, this proved to be noticeably quieter than usual.

Friday 08 Mar

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