We are in Mexico and magic is everywhere. Like in Pueblos Magicos*.
Although driving in Mexico City is not recommended, there was no other choice to get out of the city and freely move around. I rented a car and along with Julie, we set off on a three-day tour of nearby attractions.
We first stopped at Teotihuacan to visit ancient pyramids that are on par with the Egyptian ones. In fact, the Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest in the world. The whole complex is quite impressive. I was pleasantly surprised because in my mind all Aztec and Mayan pyramids were of much smaller scale.
Next stop was Puebla, one of the best preserved colonial cities in Mexico. We spent a very pleasant day strolling around and stayed a couple of hours in the Museo Amparo. Because of the recent earthquake, there is some damage but less than one would expect so close to the epicenter.
The morning after, we swung by Cholula, a Pueblo Magico. We went, almost ran, through a long tunnel running inside the remnants of an ancient pyramid, we snapped a couple of pictures of Popocatepetl Volcano and took off towards Taxco.
On the way, we stopped for a lunch in Tepoztlan, another Pueblo Magico, known as the reputed birthplace of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec feathered serpent god, and for its weekly craft market. We didn’t get to see either.
We reached Taxco at the end of the day. It is a Pueblo Magico as well and is famed for its silver jewelry. With its white-painted buildings, it reminded me of a Moroccan or a Greek village. Most of the local taxis are Volkswagen Beetles and collectivos are Volkswagen Vanagons. All in good shape. With locals and tourists alike coming to the main square and the constant stream of taxis going through the narrow streets it felt very busy. After one hour or so of wandering around we decided to call it a day.
We had our breakfast at the former silver workshop of William Spratling, who established the silver-working industry in Taxco.
On our way back to Mexico City, on a whim, we detoured to the small town of Malinalco. Yet another Pueblo Magico. We hiked to an archeological complex on top of Cerro de Los Idolos. That was the last stop of our “magical” tour.
Many of the tongue-twisting names of towns, mountains and archeological sites in central Mexico are in the Nahuatl language. Words like avocado, chili, chocolate, and tomato originate from this language.
*A Pueblo Magico is a place with symbolism, legends, history, important events, day-to-day life – in other words, “magic” in its social and cultural manifestations, with great opportunities for tourism, according to Mexico Secretariat of Tourism.
This week in numbers:
624 km – distance traveled
5 – Pueblos Magicos visited
83 – the total number of Pueblos Magicos in Mexico
71 m – the height of the Pyramid of the Sun