Friday, December 8, 2017

Mexico Diary - Oaxaca and Hierve el Agua


Hi there, hope you all liked my first Mexico blog post and found it helpful. Today you get to see some pics of our second destination, the beautiful town Oaxaca. Unfortunately we only spent one night and one entire day there but enjoyed it to the fullest!

Where to Stay
We arrived late at night coming from Mexico City, went for some tasty dinner at a restaurant called Alvaro and spent the night at Hostal Pochon, a cozy, laid-back place located just five minutes from the city centre.

What to Do
The next day we got up early and went for a little walk through the town. I loved seeing the streets almost empty, everything was still so peaceful and quiet in the morning. Oaxaca is just amazing, it was my favorite town in Mexico! It's a smaller city but so beautiful with all its colorful buildings from the colonial times, its very clean streets, its cool street art and great food. I felt so comfortable in Oaxaca, I can't even exactly say why but you know, it gave me that feeling of being home. So we strolled through the streets, visited the Zócalo (Oaxaca's lovely central square), booked our tickets for our bus trip at night and explored the Mercado 20 de Noviembre. That market was one of my favorites, there were lots of colorful clothes, handmade products and so much fresh, great-looking food from fruit and pastries to spices and seafood. We bought a papaya, some bananas, guayabas (one of my favorite exotic fruits), pastries and tried the typical 'chapulines' which are grasshoppers with chilli sauce, very hig in protein but not my favorite snack, haha. After this culinary excursion we headed back to the hostel where we had beans, scrambled egg, bread and some fruit for breakfast before starting our day trip to a very special place...










'Chapulines', just had to try them!

My dinner the first night, 'pozole', a tasty chicken soup

The Hostal Pochon


Hierve el Agua

When I saw this unique place on my friend Lola's Instagram I knew I just had to see it with my own eyes! And I wasn't disappointed, photos can't even show how impressive this place really is.
After breakfast we took a bus from Oaxaca's baseball stadium to Mitla. It was about 20 Pesos per ride per person, so more or less 1 Euro, really cheap. The bus took about 40 minutes to get to the village. In Mitla we got on a camioneta, also called collectivo, that took us to Hierve el Agua. Collectivos are small vans that are waiting for people who wanna go in the same direction or have the same destination. Once there are enough passengers and the van is full it leaves. It's a very common transport in Mexico. The collectivo ride through the mountains took about one hour until we finally reached Hierve el Agua. We paid the 25 Pesos entrance fee and got off the collectivo. The parking lot is really touristy, you will find lots of restaurants, smaller food stands and shops there. At the end of the tourist area there is a path that leads to the mountains and the mineral springs.
Hierve el Agua is a set of rock formations and mineral pools you can swim in surrounded by mountains which guarantee stunning views. Since we went on a Saturday afternoon there were lots of tourists but also many Mexicans taking a dip and having picnic with their families. I'm sure it's less crowded in the morning or on regular weekdays. Since the mineral pools were a little crowded when we arrived we decided to go for a little walk first. I got an insider tip for you, there is a path on the right side of the pools that leads to further mineral springs where you will find less people. If you keep following that path for about 15 minutes until its end you'll reach the foot of the mountain from where you have stunning views of the white stone waterfall formed by the mineral water streams. It's a breathtaking sight! We stayed there for about 20 minutes enjoying the beautiful nature surrounding us and later climbed back up. When we reached the top of the mountain we couldn't wait to jump into the natural pools, it was so hot that day. That bath was so relaxing! The mineral water was pretty cool and actually greener than on my photos. It reminded me a little of a cold, green lagoon in Costa Rica we swam in last year. After taking a bath we changed, went back to the parking lot and took the next collectivo back to Mitla and from there a bus to Oaxaca. We got our stuff from the hostel and took a night bus to our next destination, San Cristóbal de las Casas.
My personal conclusion: Oaxaca and Hierve el Agua are really worth a visit. When you get the chance to travel through Mexico and don't know where to stop, visit Oaxaca and the mineral springs!














Sunday, December 3, 2017

Mexico Diary - What to do in Mexico City


 Hello there, my dear readers! I hope you're all having a fantastic Christmas season. I'm honestly not in Christmas mood at all since I just got back from Mexico where it was crazy hot, haha. Today I finally found a first quiet moment after our trip to sit down and start with my blog posts about this amazing country. So here we go!

We started our three-week trip in Mexico City because we wanted to get to know the city and Mexican culture, taste the food, soak in some history and I was longing to see the Frida Kahlo museum since she is one of my favorite painters. So we spent three full days in the capital.
We arrived late on a Tuesday night. When the plane descended I couldn't believe my eyes! Mexico City is huuuge! Like really, really huge, a never-ending network of millions of buildings. I later googled the city, did you know that over 20 million people live in the metropolitan area of Mexico City? That's a quarter of my home country Germany!

First Day
On our first night we just checked in at our hostel which you will find below and went straight to bed. On our first full day we got up early (hello jet lag!) and just started walking through the historic centre of the city where our hostel was located. We visited the Plaza de la Constitución, also called Zócalo, passed by the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes and had some tasty tacos. I tried the 'carne de pastor' tacos which I loved, they tasted like kebab, haha. My boyfriend had 'cabeza de res' which basically consists of different parts of a cow's head mixed up (I found it quite disgusting but he said it wasn't too bad). The tacos were only about 1 Euro and were served with a delicious spicy soup. I have no idea what it was called or made of... and maybe I don't wanna know. After lunching we finally reached the Paseo de la Reforma, a huge avenue that is surrounded by tall, modern office buildings and hotels. Again, I couldn't believe how enormous and modern this city was... and how Americanized! There was Starbucks, Wendy's and Panda Express everywhere! We walked down the Paseo de la Reforma until we reached the Angel de la Independencia. We met a nice Mexican guy along the way who turned into our personal tour guide for a while and helped us get a permission to climb up the Angel de la Independencia. Inside there is a staircase with about 200 steps that leads to the top of the statue from where we had an amazing view over the city. It's usually not open to tourism, or at least that's what we've been told. After this little excursion we kept walking to Chapultepec Park, one of the city's larger parks, and from there went on to the neighborhood of Polanco. A friend recommended me to have a coffee at the Cafebreria El Péndulo in Polanco, a library that was turned into a lovely café. I loved this place, obviously because I looove books, but also because of its coziness and special drinks. I had a super tasty mango chai frappe and my boyfriend a cappuccino frappe with burned milk which tasted like dulce de leche. We ended our day at the café, took a metro back to the historic centre and had some yummy 'tortas de pierna' for dinner, which is bread with avocado, tomato, onion and meat.

One more thing! I wore a casual look on our first day as you can see in the photos, a shirt, Converse and denim shorts. Even though to me it seemed a simple, comfortable look I felt really uncomfortable during the day because loads of people, especially men, were staring at me. I quickly noticed that no woman in Mexico City wears shorts, skirts or shows her cleavage. I had never expected that because it was really hot that day. The following day we talked to a Mexican girl we met and she explained us that it there is a huge problem and it's violence against women. The Mexican women are just protecting themselves, trying to avoid to get attention by not showing off their bodies. In most of the metro stations there are separated areas for men and women, something I have never seen before! In my opinion this is a really sad situation and a cultural problem that needs an urgent solution! Therefore, I'd recommend you to not wear shorts or other 'sexy' clothing when traveling to Mexico City. Keep in mind that there is a big difference between the habits of the people living in the capital and on the Yucatan Peninsula where most of the tourists go!









Where to Stay
We spent the first three nights of our trip at the Mexico City Hostel which was located in the Centro Historico. We were really happy with the hostel because of its great central location, the spacious and bright private room we had and the breakfast was pretty good too.


Second Day
Unfortunately we started our second day pretty angrily because my phone got stolen in the metro on the way to our first stop Xochimilco. I have to admit I was pretty stupid, I put it in the pocket of my pants so I was an easy target. The thing is it was a brand new iPhone my boyfriend gave me for my birthday so we were really upset and angry that someone stole it! The metro is the cheapest but definitely not the safest transport in Mexico City so you better watch your stuff and don't trust people too much (as I unfortunately did). So when we reached the borough Xochimilco about an hour later we were sad and just thinking about the phone. However, we didn't want to let that ruin our day and started looking for the canals another friend recommended me. We quickly found them. Xochimilco has a canal system, a little like Venice, where you can go on a boat tour. Lots of Mexicans spend their free days here renting a boat and celebrating with great food and Mariachi music. We found a Mexican and German girl who wanted to do the same tour so we could share a boat for a better price. The cost was about 150 Pesos which is about 7,50 Euros per person. The tour was really nice and distracted us a little from the stolen phone. We saw lots of Mariachi bands, food vendors, passed by cute houses and also not so pretty areas, and saw the mysterious Isla de Muñecas, an island where hundreds of broken dolls were hung ip in trees to appease a drowned girl's spirit, creepy place! We enjoyed the tour and learned a lot about the country and its culture while talking to the Mexican girl we shared a boat with.  









After the canals we took the metro to Coyoacán, the neighborhood where Frida Kahlo's house is located. For me as an art-lover this museum was a must-see. I couldn't go to Mexico City without getting to know this artist and her life better. The Frida Kahlo Museum, also known as the Blue House is basically her home where she and her husband Diego Rivera spent many years. It was simply impressive to see the collections of her artwork, original paintings and drawings, photographs, and personal items such as her clothes, paint and furniture. I can totally understand why it is one of the most popular and most visited museums in the city, you should definitely see it if you love art as much as I do!










Third Day
That night we met up with a lovely couple I met on Mallorca through Instagram. Virro (check out his amazing photos on his website virroborja.com) and Lola invited us for a drink and yummy guacamole at their home in Condesa, a really pretty neighborhood in Mexico City. We spent a few lovely hours on their rooftop chatting about the city, traveling, our home Mallorca and they gave us lots of Mexico tips. The next day, our third and last day in Mexico City, they invited us for a healthy breakfast at Ojo de Agua, a hipster place that serves great fresh and tasty food. I had an acai bowl and a vitamin-loaded smoothie, my boyfriend Miguel tried the 'chilaquiles', a delicious dish made of chicken, sauce, avocado, tomato, onion and chips. I loved this place, its interior design and healthy food. Thank you so much, Virro and Lola, for your hospitality and cheering us up after my phone got stolen and also thanks for helping us get around and for the great food! After the breakfast our friends brought us to the bus station at San Lazaro. There we took an ADO bus, which is the bus company we used for our whole trip through Mexico, to our next destination Oaxaca. I hope you guys like this first Mexico post, more are coming soon! Let me know if there is anything you would love to know about Mexico or if you need any help planning your next trip to this wonderful country.




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