Day 6: Coyaocán and Xochimilco
Today was a mix of culture, food and fun.
First stop was the National University to take a look at some of the murals. The 1968 Olympic Stadium is located near the university. It has an Aztec style and was supposed to have a mosaic mural by Diego Rivera wrap the complete Stadium but after his death it remained unfinished despite having his drawings for the full work. The mural is called “The University, the Mexican family, peace and youth sports“. In the construction of the relief in natural colored stones shows the university shield, with the condor and the eagle on a cactus. Under their wings outstretched, Rivera placed three figures representing the family: the father and the mother giving the dove of peace to his son. At the extremes are two gigantic figures that correspond to some athletes, male and female, who light the torch of Olympic flame. A huge feathered serpent, the symbolic image of the pre-Hispanic god Quetzalcoatl, complements the composition at the bottom.
Other murals included this one by David Alfaro Siqueiros called El pueblo a la universidad, la universidad al pueblo ( The People to the university, the university to the people). Along with Rivera, he establish Mexican Muralism – mostly pieces of political importance.
The university library building is covered with the mural Historical Representation of Culture, created by the Mexican artist Juan O’Gorman. His unique masterpiece has become the most iconic building from the university and from Mexican culture. In July 2007 the UNESCO proclaimed the Central Library world heritage.
Coyaocán and La Casa Azul – The Blue House. Home of Frida Kahlo
Coyoacán is a municipality of Mexico City and the former village which is now the borough’s “historic center.” The name comes from Nahuatl and most likely means “place of coyotes, ” when the Aztecs named a pre-Hispanic village on the southern shore of Lake Texcoco which was dominated by the Tepanec people.
It has a bohemian vibe, full of cobblestones streets, colorful homes, churches and artisan shops.
It is also where Frida Kahlo’s home is located – La Casa Azul. The Frida Kahlo Museum, also known as the Blue House for the structure’s cobalt-blue walls, is a historic house museum and art museum dedicated to the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
This beautiful building was the childhood home of Frida Kahlo. It was in La Casa Azul – bedridden after a bus accident that left her in pain for the rest of her life – that she learned to paint.
Frida also died in the home, and in 1958 her husband donated it to be turned into a museum dedicated to her life and works. The museum offers visitors an intimate look within the walls, some of which were actually modified by Rivera who studded them with volcanic rock and ceramics.
Along with their artistic additions to the house and a pre-Columbian courtyard pyramid including Aztec and Toltec artifacts, the museum also features a look at the husband and wife’s history, and showcases a famous inscription left behind by the tempestuous couple. It reads simply “Frida and Diego lived in this house – 1929-1954”.
I found the garden a tranquil and serene place in the hustle and bustle of mexico and can see how it would have been a creative inspiration for both of them.
What a place to finally meet up with Rosie! We promised we would do this together and she met me in the street and surprised me by wearing a colorful dress I had given her that I had thought she did not like!
This beautiful song was written by Patty Smith for Frida.
I can not walk
I can not see
Further than what
Is in front of me
I lay on my back
yet I do not cry
Transported in space by the butterflies.
Above my bed
With the wings you sent
Within my sight
All pain dissolves
In another light
By the butterfly
This little song
Came to me
Like a little gift as I stood
Beside the bed of Frida.
I give it to you with much love,
Read about the song and their friendship HERE
Tostadas for lunch!
And Sam and Steve are here too!
Xochimilco Floating Gardens
In southern Mexico City, a gritty working-class neighborhood gives way to the famous canals of Xochimilco, the last remnants of a vast water transport system built by the Aztecs. Colorful gondola-like boats take visitors on cruises while food vendors, artisans and mariachi bands float past. The atmosphere is festive,especially when you add tequila and Coronas and Rosie!
We had the BEST time. So much fun and highly recommended! At 500 pesos an hour to hire the boat, we decided to extend it to two!
We finished a great day with a tasty meal at El Tizonzito Tacos!