To travel to the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan, we had to take the the number 5 metro line to the very northern-most part of DF and buy tickets aboard a bus that would travel the 25 mile distance to the site. Unfortunately, the metro was under construction and we were forced to leave the station and take a connecting city bus to the Autobus Terminal. The bus was literally packed cheek to jowl. Tiffany mentioned that she felt that she was going to have her spine-snapped a la Frida Kahlo in the crush. When we did arrive it took us a while to actually nail down the small Teotihuacan ticket counter but it wasn’t a problem to buy the tickets (for about $6) and board the comfortable liner.
We traveled over the mountains to the North and into a valley filled with houses stacked on houses on the descending hillsides. The urban smog gave way to blue skies and a slightly arid climate. The entrance to Teotihuacan was bounded by a circular drive-way that, for some reason, the bus was not allowed to travel into. We jumped off, leaving many more passengers aboard, and made our way to the front gate where we bought our tickets. A small vendors mall was the first thing we saw and we both eyed the various trinkets and souvenirs. We both decided to purchase inexpensive, wide-brimmed hats and leave the trinkets for later.
The incredible vista that greeted us as we exited into the main section of the archaeological park was breathtaking. To our immediate front lay the Citadel, a large walled section of Teotihuacan that contained the famous Temple of Quetzalcoatl. To our left was the Avenue of the Dead, linking the city’s largest edifice the 200 feet high Pyramid of the Sun (one of the largest pyramids in Mesoamerica) and the almost as tall Pyramid of the Moon on the northern end of the city. And all around us were hundreds of pushy vendors, hawking all sorts of crap. Seriously, we couldn’t walk for one minute without being approached by some local peddler, trying to get us to buy a stone carving of a African mask or an elephant! Okay, I admit it, I gave in and actually bought a little sculptured pot from a guy. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it.
Teotihuacan’s mysterious origins probably began right before the beginning of the first century A.D. By the time the Aztecs had established Tenochtitlan a thousand years later, the city had long been abandoned. There is a lot to see in the archaeological zone — so much that we didn’t even have time to explore all of the interesting sites, such as the temples in the outlying western section of the city.
We decided to climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun first, seeing as it looked like it would be the most difficult, especially climbing in the area’s high altitudes (at least to us gringos). The trip up wasn’t the easiest thing to do thanks to the uneven steps that required giant strides just to surmount. There were hundreds of fellow sight-seers on the way. Some people were visibly freaking out at the steep ascent, sitting down right in the middle of the steps, blocking others way. At the top were a collection of sun worshipers — for lack of a better name — who were performing a ritual ceremony. Some had red bands around their heads. I wish I would’ve actually asked one of them what the deal was.
After the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon was no problem, especially since we weren’t allowed beyond the first level. After a few hours of touring the various buildings such as the Patio of the Jaguars with its still-intact murals, we decided to head back toward the entrance and check out the Citadel. The Citadel with its famous Temple of Quetzalcoatl was pretty amazing but scaffolding kept us from getting to close to the giant serpent head statues and images of the Teotihucan (and later Aztec) rain god Tlaloc.
A day of touring Teotihucan in the sun can really take it out of you. Fortunately there are areas where you can buy snacks and water around the park. There are even some interesting restaurants such as Las Grutas on the eastern side which is located in a cave. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to Las Grutas because frankly we were worn out and I just wanted to catch a bus back to the city.
After catching the bus we headed back into the DF. I was a little worried about the journey back on the metro and considered paying for a taxi. But after an unexpected stop at the Indio Verdes station, I grabbed Tiffany and told her we were taking the metro. Although the Indios Verdes stop wasn’t mentioned in the guidebooks, I recognized it from the metro map and knew it would take us to our hotel.
I managed to grab a couple of delicious (and way cheap) tortas from the restaurant across the street from our hotel, a six pack of Sol and we dined in our room to the sound of the falling evening rain. This was our last day at the Hotel Posada Viena and our last day in the DF. Tomorrow we were traveling 2 1/2 hours outside of the city to the colonial town of Taxco.
TO BE CONTINUED…