We had been lucky enough to be put in touch with a few friends of friends in Mexico and one of them – Juan, suggested a day out in Coyocan as he was taking his mum there anyway – and so we ubered there and tried to find our way to the meeting point – the Basilica de San Juan. Now I say ‘tried to find our way’ because the entire place was full of people! Tourists, vendors, local families out for the day – it was just a wonderful festive atmosphere and we were swept away in it! I had to suppress the urge to check out what appeared to be a corridor of food stalls (wherefrom a heavenly chocolate scent wafted) while we were trying to find Juan and his mum. I had let him know I was in an orange dress and that Steve was 6’3 so they found us eventually 🙂
Juan and his mum were the nicest folk ever – so wonderful to meet good people around the world and I loved hearing about the family’s diverse origins from Juan’s mum! They were kind, thoughtful & explained so much about the area and the little things we saw along the way. I am forever indebted to Juan’s mum especially – for taking us to the best Churreria in Mexico City (apparently) and most definitely the best in my life so far. They were crisp but not oily, fluffy but not heavy, the chocolate sweet but not cloying and rich… sigh. Almost brings me to a poetic frame of mind but today is for writing blogs, not poetry about churros.
The day was just magical really. From the walk through the park in Coyocan past statues of Coyotes that made my skin shiver, through displays of a national Dia de los Muertos altar competition, past myriad souvenir and food stalls.. Happily surrounded by heady smells of cooking that blended and swirled around us all, the sweet steaming esquites and chocolate, the charring of carne for tacos or other dishes, cheese grilling, buns frying, candy and cake of all shapes and sizes! There was a small but vociferous Chihuahua guarding it’s home, the many happy dogs being led by their equally happy owners through the melee, young humans lounging about the place smoking cigarettes pondering existence, beautiful ladies in their Mexican embroidered shifts gathered in groups with laughter in their eyes, the skeletons and hearses, the color and sounds. And then the silence, peace, and jaw dropping beauty of the 16th century Iglesia de San Juan Basilica which we stepped into and quietly slipped out of. And yes, our host Juan was named for the Saint. We walked past the Casa Azul – a former residence of Frida herself, and learned that Cortes made Coyocan his home after finding Centro too swampy and mosquito ridden.
There was the wonderful meal of chicken with mole negro and crema for me, and empanadas verde for Steve, the carnival rides filled with excited children, the street performers, the tourists and sunshine lighting us all.
I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be able to do it all justice with words alone so I’ll just share some photos that hopefully impart some of my memories of this wonderful day.
Just visit it someday if you are lucky enough to do so.