I could barely get out of bed this morning. We walked so much yesterday that I kept on getting up all night long with cramps in my legs. Will drink more water today. Finally, Olivia woke me up at 7 AM and I burst to the shower and got dressed.
Moises and Sandra met us for breakfast at the hotel at 8:30. We had an enjoyable and talkative breakfast and then planned our day. We were going to visit and climb the pyramids of Teotihuacan.
Teotihuacan is located about a one hour drive from Mexico City. There are two large pyramids. They are called the Pyramids of the Moon and Sun. Running down the middle of the site is a large avenue that is named “The Avenue of the Dead”. The Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest pyramid in the world. According to archaeologists, Teotihuacan was built by hand more than a thousand years before the Aztecs arrived. The Aztecs then gave it its current name. You can climb up the Pyramid of the Sun to the top, but the Pyramid of the Moon can now only be climbed half way. As we entered the complex, we saw a line of people climbing up the steps of the Pyramid of the Sun. Moises insisted that we do this first, since we were not tired yet. We started to climb and climb. We stopped at certain levels to catch our breaths and take some pictures. By the way, the Pyramid is 216 feet high. We finally reached the top and I felt a moment of exhilaration looking over this large and beautiful complex. We spent some time at the top walking around and just resting.
It was now time to walk back down. Don’t think that was any easier. The steps are narrow and made of large hand built stones. Not level nor easy to walk on. Fortunately, there was a rubber hand rail so that you can hold on as you dragged yourself up and down. We also stopped at the same levels on our way down to rest and take more pictures of different angles and views.
Moises acted as our tour guide. He told us that the Pyramids were built in various stages. When the Aztecs heard that the Spanish were coming, they purposely hid the pyramids by covering them with dirt and vegetation so the Spanish could not easily identify them. He told us that there are probably quite a few more sites hidden that need to be found and restored.
We finally reached the bottom and walked down the Avenue of the Dead to the Pyramid of the Moon. Lining either side of this wide avenue, were vendors selling their wares. One item that struck my eye was a stone named “Obsidian”. Obsidian is volcanic glass that is black. The Aztecs used obsidian to look at the sun and the eclipse. If you hold a piece of obsidian up to one eye and close the other, the bright sun looks beautiful and you see it with darkness all around it. How did the Aztecs know this? I bought a large stone.
Right before the Pyramid of the Moon was the “Temple of the Jaguar”. The site has been fully excavated, but the mosaics have not been restored. I hope that happens one day.
It was now time to climb half way up the Pyramid of the Moon. Olivia decided to wait this one out. The steps were very steep, but I plowed my way through and couldn’t wait to see the view. I can tell you that the climb was worth the energy spent. The view was of the entire complex with the Avenue of the Dead in the middle. I took out my 18mm lens and clicked away. Got some amazing pictures looking over the whole site from this point.
It was now time to climb down and walk the whole length of the Avenue of the Dead to the parking lot. How beautiful this site is and how it was built is a wonder to me.
We finally reached our van and needed some serious food and drinks. Our driver took us to a restaurant that was close by named “La Gruta”. La Gruta is built in a grotto. You are led down a stone stairway into a subterranean dining area. There were portable heaters and most of the people dining were locals. Moises ordered for us since the menu was entirely in Spanish. The food was all traditional Mexican food. First came the appetizers. The waitress brought us a whole wooden dish of worms. The worms were roasted and tasted great. We convinced Olivia to try and she also liked them. The other appetizers were so good. I could not tell you what I ate but the food was great. Then came the main dishes. Tacos, goat meat, pork, vegetables and ant eggs were served. The ant eggs were very good. During our meal, dancers and singers entertained everyone on a stage. They were all dressed up in Aztec costumes.
After our dinner we took the long ride back to our hotel. I felt sad that we had to leave Moises and Sandra. They have been such great hosts and showed us the real Mexico City. Hopeful they will visit us later this year.
Tomorrow morning we travel to Puebla. I loved Mexico City and hope that I can return one day. Mexico City is a gem. The City is beautiful and the people are friendly.