Around México City

27th September 2011

The metro system in México City [33] is safe, clean, efficient and idiot proof. Pretty much anywhere in México City is within 30 minutes of the Centro. We ventured to the southern suburb of Xochimilco where canals flanked by raised gardens on artificial islands dating back to Aztec times still remain. Brightly painted trajineras (gondolas poled by hand) ply the canals, other boats selling food or offering live mariachi music follow alongside. After two hours of slowly moving along the narrow countryside waterways, we knew we had reached the Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls) when we spotted thousands of dolls and doll parts hanging eerily from the trees. For many years the owner fished out dolls floating in the canal hanging them in the trees to appease the spirit of a girl who had drowned there 50 years ago. He died there in 2001. Some say the dolls came alive and killed him.


Tepotzotlán [34] is 30 kilometres to the north. The former San Francisco Javier Jesuit church, built 1580, contains beautiful gilded altars full of carved angels and saints. The attached monastery is now a museum, the best in the country, of early Spanish history in México.


The pretty hillside pueblo of Taxco [35] lies 140 kilometres to the south. The crowning glory is the Baroque Santa Prisca Church perched high on one of the hills, just one of many churches visible. A rabbit warren of steep, cobbled streets twist and turn through a bustling market and uniform red and white buildings. It is the only silver town to completely retain its old character; there are no surrounding modern suburbs.


Buskers on the Metro

Trajineras (Gondolas) at Xochimilco

Gliding along the canals

Beautiful reflections early in the morning

Food vendor approaches the party boats

Heron with fish caught in the canal

Water bird

Food boat with mangoes and potato chips for sale

Manure for the gardens is delivered by boat

Farmer works his field

A raised garden of marigolds for the Day of the Dead

Thousands of dolls ...

... hang from the trees ...

... to appease the spirit of a drowned girl ...

... create an eerie feeling ...

... at the Isla de las Muñecas ...

... Island of the Dolls

A real little doll

Ingredients for picante (hot sauce) sizzling on the comal ...

... to be processed in the Mexican blender

1567 Xochimilco Cathedral

Iglesia de San Francisco Javier Tepotzotlán, former Jesuit college

Santiago Matamoros, Patron Saint of Spain and a central figure in the re-conquering of Spain

Inside the church - indigenous carvings ...

... on gold altars with angel and saints

The 16 Spanish castes in New Spain

Hilltop Pueblo Magico of Taxco

Taxco Cathedral

Narrow cobbled street

Another of Taxcos churches

Market in Taxco

The aqueduct bought water to run the silver mill in the 16th century


Beautiful baskets for sale

This man bought one to take home

The Conquistadores also adored Santiago