Thursday, January 19, 2012


Amidst the chaos of Mexico City lies the ancient ruins of the Aztec Empire. Unlike the Mayans who are still visible in Southern Mexico, Guatemala, and parts of Honduras, the Aztecs slowly vanished after the Spanish conquest of August 13th, 1521 with the help of the Tlaxcalan warriors. Where did they go?  Well today, the Aztecs can be seen everywhere in Mexico as they were absorbed into the culture.  Some still call themselves 100 percent Aztec but it's a very small percentage.  But what remains of the Aztec empire is quite impressive.  Today we travel to Teotihuacan outside of Mexico City.
It's rather easy getting here with the buslines and metro station.  For those of you who have been following this blog, it's no secret that I love all things ancient. If you're new, you can catch up by taking a hike with me to Machu Picchu in Peru or visit Tikal in Guatemala.  If you live in Arizona, you may want to check out our own fascinating history on Cliff Dwellers.  I've been to Teotihuacan twice in my lifetime....once while I was in high school and the last time several years ago.  These pics are from the latter trip. Surprisingly they are still making a lot of discoveries and it was a surprise to see how much they had excavated since my first trip. You can walk the ruins and even climb the pyramid of the Sun or Moon.  The steps on the pyramid of the Moon are a little narrow so I didn't go up the last time.  Here's a rather interesting theory that I have for people interested in visiting.  My friends and exchange family live in Tlaxcala....which has another site with Aztec ruins known as Cacaxtla.  If you look from the ruins at both places in Tlaxcala and Teotihuacan, there are several large and irregular "mountains" that surround the area.  They stick out like a sore thumb.  All of these miniature mountains have homes on them, but it is my theory as well as several of my Mexican friends that there may actually be pyramids buried under these hills.  But unfortuneatly we'll never know because thousands of homes were built on top of them. If you go, look from the highest hill in Tlaxcala and you will see these 3 irregular mounds.  And if you are at Teotihuacan, look to the north from on top of the pyramid of the sun....and you'll see what I'm talking about:)
I recommend going early morning because it does get hot by midday.  Wear a hat.  Bring water.  And use sunblock or you will have sunburn and that will make your journey to Mexico City uncomfortable. While you're there, you should check out Xochimilco which is relatively nearby afterwards.  There have been several colored paintings discovered at these Aztec sites and you'll be able to see them.  I took this shot without a flash:)
Most people either spend half the day there....and by mid afternoon, the place will be buzzing with a lot of tourists.  In fact, this is generally true for most of the ruins you visit.  My recommendation is go early before the annoying crowds get there. You'll be glad you did.
The pic below is from my first trip.  We are all grown up now.  That little squirt in the photo is a Dad!!!  They both are!  How did this all happen?  It feels like  it was all just yesterday.
We stayed at the very cool Holiday Inn at the center square in Mexico City known as the Zocalo!  Most capitals of a country are rather boring, but I think you'll find Mexico City to be one of the coolest cities in the world to visit.  I lived there for a summer and rented an apartment with my friend where we got into a lot of trouble and had so much fun.  But here are several things to consider before going.....I think right now is probably not the best time to visit this city with a drug war going on.  If you are okay with that potential risk, here are some helpful hints.  Always travel with someone.  Travel during the day and keep it close to your hotel or friend's home at night.  Mexico City is incredible but it can also be very dangerous.  Some Spanish is helpful....but not because a lot of people don't speak English, but because it's good for you to understand conversations spoken around you.  Keep your eyes open at all times and watch your things.  This was the rule back then and it is the same rule today. Obviously lots of people travel and vacation in Mexico everyday. Everyone, including Mexicans, have to watch their personal belongings. My other half loved the day trips around town, but Pat didn't like all the conjestion in the streets.  There are definitely crowds.  After all Mexico City is the 15th largest city in the world....and that doesn't include the surrounding areas.  So be ready for lots of people:)  But the city is worth the effort and provides a lot of fun for people risking the visit.  Get ready for several weeks of photo shoots around Wisconsin and beyond.  I start this series tomorrow and I'm hoping the photo shoots will catch your eye.  They were exciting to capture!


  1. Z radością bym takie wspaniale miejsce zobaczyła, ale to trochę za daleko. Nie stać mnie na taką podróż
    :-(. Muszą mi wystarczyć Twoje zdjęcia i wiadomości. Pozdrawiam.***
    With joy I saw this wonderful place, but it's a little too far. I can not afford such a trip
    :-(. They have to suffice me your photos and a message. I greet.

  2. Hi Kreesh, sorry but it's Chris! Since i saw your Machu Picchu posts, am already hooked in this site. I am so envious that I can't get there. I know someone in Peru, we were classmates for a month, she will adopt me but still i don't have enough for the tour, haha! Now I am riding on your posts. I wish you divide them to paragraphs so easier for me to follow. By the way, we were so alike in preference to visit ancient places. I've been to Siem Reap, some places in China, Rome, Turkey, and Machu Picchu is my frustration. I also want Egypt, Tibet, but don't really have opportunities. I just tried reading books about them. Have you read Secharia Sitchin's many volumes? I am excited for your next posts.

  3. Andrea, we are alike in a lot of ways! Currently we're organizing a potential trip to Egypt next summer in 2013 which will require some cash. Greece and Turkey are also on the top of my lists to visit. But I have to pick and choose:( This year, we're going to spend a piece of our summer around some historic places along Lake Michigan and it should be interesting as I haven't been to them at all or a very long time ago. You'd love Machu Picchu:) I think the plane ticket is the most expensive....everything else is cheap once you get there:)

  4. And Andrea...I know what you're saying about me being "wordy" on my posts. I'm trying to keep the writing in ratio with the photos. Random stuff pops in my head and I then I write on it:)

  5. the ruins look amazing. i like your theory of pyramids beneath the hills. :)

    (looking forward to Wisconsin pics!!!)

  6. The Aztecs were a great people, their architecture is brilliant, thanks for showing us.

  7. Teotihuacan and Guatemala: two places we always wanted to visit. Now that we are far away is probably a time to go... :-)


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