A walk, a fly to Coyoacan. Frida

16 Nov
After a recovering breakfast with vitaminic fresh orange juice and an Italian espresso at “Giornale Caffe” in Santa Fe, i headed back towards La Condesa.
I tried to get some rest at the hostel and went to visit Coyoacan, one of the sixteen boroughs (delegaciones) of Mexico City Federal District.
Many locals had recommended it to me and I really wanted to see it not only because last year it was designated as “barrio magico” – magic borough.
I decided to make my own way there by public transport and getting there in the simpliest way. I did not have any map as usual, but i normaly enjoy getting lost and find the way again, it is a nice satisfaction when i realize i did it right as well when i get wrong. It is always productive somehow.
The journey was not short but at least i had just one metro line change. Once out of the train i found myself in a great avenida full of shops, including Starbucks and a big shopping mall too.
I had expected Coyoacan to be different, but then i realized that the nicest part was actually the city center, located about 15 minutes walk from the metro station or few minutes by a bus.
A girl on the street suggested me to hop on one of the colectivos: little decadent buses with opened doors.  After less than a minute arrived one with a faded “coyoacan centro” sign. I took it. I was initially wondering whether it was a  gangster  taking around his family and friends or actually a small public transport driver with ordinary people on it.
I dont mean to sound snobby because i grow up in Naples not in Switzerland and i have seen bizarre bus drivers, but that one was too much: broken glass in the middle of the window as there had just been a gunshooting. Very chubby 30 something years old standing  guy with striped shirt and visible hairy belly. Very unpleasant. Horrible and crap loud music, so loud that i couldnt even ask if he could advise me when we would get to Coyoacan centro. He was rude and looking bothered to see an italian tourist wanting to hop on “his vehicle”. The driver was smoking a cigarette and making circles with  smoke while  singing on the top of his terrifying music;  just behind him there was  a young mother with a few months baby in her arms, such a shame.
But in the end it was just part of the journey; a journey to another unexpected beautiful corner of the big mexican capital: Coyoacan. It reminded me a lot of the Borne area in Barcelona for its bohemian, relaxed atmosphere.
It is here were Hernan Cortes and the Spanish were firstly welcomed and it was actually the first capital of New Spain between 1521 and 1523.
Actualy, it really felt as I was in  a spanish town. Even if i no longer live in spain since two years, it has been very important for my growing up and personal development. I lived in Barcelona for about 7 years and it is probably for this reason that Coyoacan Seemed so familiar.
the area has conserved original layouts, plazas and narrow from 16th century, and does not surprise me that the great mexican artist Frida Khalo spent all her life here.
Frida was not only an accomplished artist — revolutionary, lesbian, rebel, communist, bisexual, patriot, lover, wife, disabled person, surrealist but also the “personification of Mexican glory”.
Among the bizarre things this extraordinary woman did, she changed the year of her birth from 6th July 1907 to 7th July 2010 in order to coincide with the year of the beginning of the Mexican revolution. She wanted her life to begin with the birth of modern Mexico.
Her work has been celebrated in Mexico as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition, and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form. I am sure she has been an inspiration for many women. I am happy that my lovely friend Marita who gave birth last August decided to call her beautiful daughter Frida. I can’ t wait to see her again once back to Italy and I hope she will make treasure of the beautiful name she has been assigned to.
She is acclaimed and loved in her country but also all over the world; In 2001 she was the first hispanic woman to be honored with a U.S. Postage stamp and in 2010 the Bank of Mexico issued a new mexican 500-pesos note featuring Frida and her painting entitled Love’s Embrace of the Universe”.
I personally love her famous and beautiful quote: “pies, para que los quiero si tengo alas para volar?” ( feet, what do I need you for when i have wings to fly?). i totally agree with her, I had a magical afternoon on my own in this place, it was one of the best walks ever even though i was extremely tired from the late night before.
It is just true, there is no tiredness that can stop you flying if you are happy. And i am happy in this city, in this country every day more.
Plaza Hidalgo with its wonderful Jardin Centenario, with rounded grass decorations and flowers, the fountains with its iconic coyotes; actually Coyoacan means “place of coyotes” in Nahuatl language.
Bohemian cafes, cantinas, wonderful buildings and arches alongside the square, the 16th century San Juan Bautista church and its adjacent ex monastery. The “Casa Municipal”, a precious colonial building used as the government seat of the modern “delegación” was headquarters for Cortes during the indipendence. I love this magic place!
Then I walked calle Allende – a quite busy road with cafes and restaurants- towards “la casa azul” in calle Londres, where is situated the Frida Khalo house-museum.
Unfortunately it was closed, but i am happy somehow to have so many things left to see in this city where I definetly want to come back. I love Frida Khalo but I am sure i will have the chance to see her house soon.
I passed through an old traditional cafe from the fifties called “el jarocho” where there were many locals queuing for delicious coffees, hot chocolates, “donas” and churros. There was also a beautiful vintage grinding coffee machine
If i ever decide to live in D.F. one day, i might definetely look for a flat inside one of the beautiful colonial buildings of Coyoacan.
Looks like it is also quite safe: In 2004 it was ranked from United Nations Development Programme as the third best place to live in Mexico and the fifth most livable neighborhood in North America. I would suggest all of you to go there when in D.F.
Looking on how to return to my hostel in la Condesa, i saw a bus directed straight there, with no changes of metro. I had no plans for the night, i was on my own and the driver this time looked really funny. It took 40 minutes to get back but i enjoied the ride having a pleasant chat with the crazy driver, observing ordinary people coming back from work, two french tourists and me, a traveler writing down on a notebook memorable details for the first blog of her life.
I loved looking out the window enjoing every single bizarre detail.
While on the bus i was happy to realize that night would be finally a relaxed night going to sleep tight and early.
But when back at the hostel I met a funny spanish guy called Felipe, Justin and Paul, two friendly australians starting their 6 months trip through central america and Kevin, a canadian guy biked from Vancouver to Los Angeles and just landed to mexico city .
They were chilling in the outdoor space of the hostel and invited me to share few tequilas with them; i was not able to refuse.
But this is exactly what I wanted to do in this trip, to share funny and interesting life stories with strangers and laugh, laugh a lot, and I feel lucky i am being able to do so.

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