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Coyoacan, Xochimilco and University City

When one visits Coyoacan, one feels as being transported back in time, the ambience, the restaurants, the shops as well as the markets have been preserved through the centuries. It is in this old neighbourhood that our most magical adventure begins. With such a rich centennial legacy, the Coyoacan neighbourhood drew towards itself a vast variety of artists of different fields, as well as philosophers and actors throughout the 20th Century. We´ll visit the Coyoacan Market, where we´ll find food, fruits, vegetables as well as typical dishes prepared in the traditional way, traditional crafts of Mexico, we can have lunch in the centre square of Coyoacan where there is a great variety of options to choose from in order to feast the palate.

One of the houses that stands out the most for its fame is the “Blue House” formally known as the Frida Kahlo House Museum. We´ll visit this well recognized house, where we´ll get more acquainted with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, the controversial duo, due to their private life as well as their public one. They played an important part in the international political scene when they housed Leon Trotsky and his wife Natalia.
You can admire their works on display, as well as where they lived together until Frida´s death.

Of course, we cannot but admire a part of the collection of the Frida Kahlo dresses, making her, even today, a worldwide recognizable figure.

We´ll continue our tour due South of Mexico City until we reach Xochimilco. This place housed one of the indigenous groups that allied themselves with Hernan Cortes from the beginning, preserving its chinampas (artificial islands), gardens that are surrounded by water where flowers and edibles are grown for sale. The tradition is to go on a ride punting, while enjoying the landscape and the music as well as the crafts and food and drink being offered, all of this while leisurely riding on a flat bottom boat called Trajinera.

Our next stop will be at the University City. We´ll see the famous library, decorated with natural stones by the Architect Juan O´Gorman, one of Diego Rivera´s closest Friends.
We´ll also get to see the University Stadium that was the base of the Olympic Games in 1968. The facade has a mural, also with natural stones, that alludes to the Olympic Games.

We´ll finish our tour with the Diego Rivera Studio. A building that in no way integrates itself with the rest of the houses around. The construction of the Studio-house was targeted with so many varied opinions regarding its taste in architecture. Built by the architect Juan O ‘Gorman imitating the style and philosophy of the functionalist Le Corbusier, the building is austere and impersonal. It is comprised of two blocks, on the western side it is Dingo’s studio, with its workshop area and the windows facing North to ensure the even light, it still today holds the tools he used for his works, as well as some of his collections of many varied objects. The original furnishings as well as a small bedroom he used to rest when he worked continuously on one of his projects. The second block is the house, with its functional reduced spaces, they display the philosophy by Le Corbusier that spaces are to be used exclusively for which they were designed; the tiny bedroom was to be exclusively for sleeping, there is not a closet, since, in a communist society, there is no accumulation of property, and this is reflected clearly in the architecture. The communication between the two blocks is by a small bridge on the roof. There was once a dark room for Frida, since she learnt from her father the art of photography, today it is the museum offices.
In the adjoining plot, we find the house-studio of Juan O´Gorman, its inside is also as austere and equal elements as the house of Diego. There is nothing original of the belongings of O´Gorman since he sold the house when he was alive.

If this tour is reserved on a Saturday, we may be able to visit the Saturday Bazaar.

In the old town of San Angle, there is a Bazaar that has been opening its doors since the 1960´s. As its name clearly indicates this bazaar only opens on Saturdays. It is here surrounded by old estates from the Colonial period of the 17th and 18th centuries, they still preserve their majestic architecture. The boutiques and shops have attracted many artists from Mexico and around the world, that have become expat residents that have embraced and love Mexican culture that is clearly manifested. Today they continue to display their works with a sensibility of the 21st century, at the same time honouring the ancient pre-Columbian traditions as well as the colonial past. From the most economical of paper pieces to the finest silver and gold, everything is displayed with pride of maintaining all the traditions and at the same time the innovations.
There is also plenty to eat at the Saturday Bazaar, as well as the San Jacinto Square, with traditional restaurants as well as modern cuisine, the gastronomical offer is both varied and unforgettable.


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