Vibrant, colorful and full of flavors
Step 2 of my journey around the world
Duration initialy planed: 5 weeks
Total duration #Coronavirus : ??
Mexico City – San Miguel de Allende
- Sightseeing 70% 70%
- Activities 80% 80%
Bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, to the east by the Gulf of Mexico, the Mexican territory is divided into 31 states. It shares a common border to the north with the United States, 2,400 km long and to the south with Guatemala and Belize.
Mexico is located in one of the most active regions of the planet. It’s part of the “ring of fire”, hence a very rugged terrain and a territory of high peaks, often volcanic.
It’s the fourteenth country in area, around 2 million km2 with a population estimated in 2018 at 130.5 million inhabitants.
Founded on the remains of Spanish colonization and the ancient peoples (Maya, Aztecs, etc.) Mexico is a relatively young country, declaring itself independent only since September 16, 1810 and effectively being so since 1821.
The official currency is the pesos (symbol: $).
The villa workshop of Frida Kahlo and Diego Riviera
Fascinated by the painting and also the character of Frida Kahlo, I absolutly had to visit the Casa Estudio.
Perhaps you’ve seen the film “Frida” released in 2002 and awarded with numerous Oscars? Several scenes from the film were shooted there. I imagined Frida, sitting in her studio and painting. I saw her shadow on the stairs. In Diego Riviera’s workshop, I discover his collection of Mexican papier-mâché sculptures called “cartonería popular”, his canvases, his papers, his pigments, his drawing table and his brushes, I felt his presence everywhere. Very moving visit!
Built in 1931 by Juan O’Gorman, Mexican painter and architect, friend of Diego Rivera, the different buildings incorporate functionalist elements posed by Le Corbusier and adapted to the Mexican landscape in several ways: among others, the stilts, the use of concrete and terracotta panels, the open architecture.
The terraces installed on the roofs of the two buildings offer views of the landscape and connect the two spaces through a walkway. You can see the neighborhood of San Ángel, whose colonial and neocolonial buildings are in total contradiction with the style of these two houses.
A cactus hedge borders the property. Cacti, iconic of the Mexican landscape, are traditionally used to mark the boundaries of the land.
2. To shop
The famous sombrero
True symbol of Mexico, the sombrero and unlike the beret for the French which exists only in the imagination of the tourist, the hat is worn everywhere and by everyone in Mexico. Its primary function remains sun protection. In felt, in straw, with broad brimmed, ornated … all fantasies are allowed.
For me, I fell in love with a black straw hat, very finely woven and coming from the Yucatan region, in the southeast of Mexico.
The Yucatan, that’s exactly where I was suposed end of March, but sadly, it’s canceled #Coronavirus.
Tacos & tostadas: Mexico’s most popular dishes!
Tacos al pastor, carnitas, longaniza, cochinita, barbacoa, birria, carne asada… on the menus of Taquerias.
A tostada is also prepared with corn tortillas, but unlike tacos, they are fried until they become golden and crunchy. The tostadas are presented flat and garnished with a choice of refried lack beans, avocado, cheese, shrimp … I even tasted it with a bone marrow, a real treat!
I also love taquitos that are called flautas: they are small rolled corn tortillas, fried and stuffed with chicken, cheese, beef …
4. For car
Friendly icon, with these plump forms, the “Vochos”, as the Mexicans call them, always circulate here and there on the cobblestones of the streets of San Miguel de Allende.
The first Beetle arrived in Mexico in 1956. It was directly adopted by the population thanks to various advantages that this car brought: it’s nice, inexpensive, resistant and could also be easily repaired using a screwdriver and a hammer. In 1964 the factory was built in Puebla, an important phase in the history of the construction of this car. Indeed, a few years later, factories in Germany stopped production to hand over to Mexico, making the Puebla factory the largest in the world. In 1973, a third of the cars bought in Mexico were Beetles.
In Europe the production of Beetles stopped in 1978, but in Mexico the last one left the factory in July 2019!
It’s a just a cult car here.
A taco simply consists of a corn tortilla in the center of which you can place any type of garnish (meat, fish or vegetables…). You eat tacos with your fingers.
It is common for taqueros (the people who make and sell tacos) to ask if you want them to add onions (cebolla) and cilantro to the garnish. Several types of more or less spicy sauce are available: red sauces prepared with tomato and green sauces made either using small green tomatoes or from avocados.