Spending time in Coyoacan

Coyoacan inMexico City

Coyoacan in Mexico City

Mexico City is incredibly large and sprawling, in case you hadn’t realised (I say this because I hadn’t realised, or hadn’t really thought about it, before I got here).

There are hundreds of colonias (or neighbourhoods) spread across 16 boroughs. It’s no wonder I got confused when I tried to plan this trip. To add to the confusion, some of the colonias have the same, or very similar, names.

In the end I picked a neighbourhood I liked the sound of (Wikitravel said it was ‘a centre for counter-culture, art, students, and intellectuals’).

This area is Coyoacan.

Coyoacan: great little market

Coyoacan: great little market

It is a colourful area full of parks, markets, restaurants and lots of old colonial-style houses.

Typical Coyoacan house

Typical Coyoacan house

Sunday art market

Sunday art market

It is also home to the Casa Azul (Frida Kahlo’s house).

Casa Azul, the house built by Frida Kahlo's father when Coyoacan was a separate town (before it got taken over by the urban sprawl of Mexico City).

Casa Azul, the house built by Frida Kahlo’s father when Coyoacan was a separate town (before it got taken over by the urban sprawl of Mexico City).

The house is now a museum.

The house is now a museum.

Leon Trotsky’s house (where he lived in exile after being kicked out of the Soviet Union) is nearby, now also a museum.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Riveras were great pals with Leon Trotsky and his wife. There are several photos of them all together on display here

Frida Kahlo and Diego Riveras were great pals with Leon Trotsky and his wife. There are several photos of them all together on display here

Trotsky's bedroom

Trotsky’s bedroom

Also in the area is Anahuacalli museum, which houses Diego Rivera’s collection of Aztec sculptures in a kind of replica Aztec building that he had built as a workshop.IMG_4300

another building at the museum houses some of his work.

Another building at the museum houses some of his work.

The main downside with the area is that it seems to be the part of the city that the subway line forgot. It’s hard to believe that such a huge metro system could leave out the area (in this way, it’s like the South East London of Mexico city). Don’t be fooled by the stop called Coyoacan either (I was); this is a long walk away.  There are some little green buses that will transport you from the metro nearer to where you want to go.  Be prepared to have to have a row of Mexican children sit in silence staring at you with big wide eyes, should you use this method.

Sunday afternoon in the park and a conga line of clowns go by

Sunday afternoon in the park and a conga line of clowns go by

My airbnb turned out to be a huge room in a big, old colonial-style building. The area is full of these types of houses. My hosts were a nice old couple but they spoke to me very fast and I spent a lot of time nodding, smiling and hoping they weren’t telling me anything too sad. First lesson: My Spanish is not as good as I thought it was.

13 replies »

  1. Hi Sarah wow look at the fabulous colours here! It looks a really interesting place. Mind you, clowns terrify me lol so you can keep them! Trotsky’s gaff looks cosy lol.ni just love the gardens and the redness of the soil. Amazing. This is just reminding me how much of the world I gave yet to see. Safe travels my friend X

    • Well clowns are like marmite I think and I love them. I did a groupon day once learning how to be a clown. They were trying to sell a longer course but I couldn’t justify the money so i didn’t do it.
      Trotsky’s house was somewhat bare and austere, which I suppose you’d expect of him really. .

  2. At least you have some Spanish. I am moving to Argentina next year and haven’t done Spanish in 15 years. At least I am starting a class from tonight so hopefully I wont be completely useless come August!

    • There are really cheap classes in latin America you know so it will be quite easy to learn once you get there. I think the Argentinian accent is quite different again, so maybe you need to find an Argentinian to practice on. good luck :).

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