Castle of Chapultepec

by spaghettipirate

Thursday brought us to the castle of Chapultepec.

This was the castle in which Maximillian and Carlotta lived, as well as the first presidents of Mexico, including Benito Juarez.

We were late getting out of the house – no surprise there, Mexican time and all that – but I will say that it was worth it for the fine breakfast we had of squash and bell peppers slow cooked, and then covered with goat cheese. This was had with some sweet bread and my morning smoothie and all was okay in the world.

I didn’t take my antihistamines this morning which turned out to be a mistake because my allergies are out of control here. I dunno what it is bit although I woke up free from colds, I spent the day cotton headed and sniffling.

But of course trying to find parking in Mexico City includes a prayer for something just short of a miracle – but I guess we were lucky in that when we were turned away from the Auditorium’s parking (Mexico’s biggest stage, where all the big names go) to find some street parking that only cost 20 pesos.

Even if it was wedged between tour buses. (Nothing happened to the car, thank you)

But we took the walk up to the castillo and left our snickers bars in the cubbies – which would come to be a lifesaver.

The castle is European in design from it’s garden to it’s interior, and it was here that the treaty between the United States and  Mexico was signed when the US took just short of half of the Republic of Mexico.

There are portraits of Maximillian everywhere, and even the chariots that he would use for everyday use and the big parades.

What makes the castle even better it it’s openess to the outside world.

It is wedged in the oasis from the city that is Chapultepec Park and all you can see for kilometers surrounding all sides of the castle is the tops of green lush trees. I can see why the castle was built here. In the not to far off distance the city looms as far as the eye can see, but I can easily imagine that during the 19th and 20th centuries why people chose to live here.

The funiture and design of the place were all European styled, and with plenty of money as even the door hinges were decorated with spirals and the MM that is Maximillian’s initials.

There are gardens within the walls in the French style, and beautiful winding staircases, and even an elevator that lead throughout the castle.

One of the best parts was the hallway of stained glass – that had roman goddess in each window between wall props – and the light that filtered through them. Not only were they stained glass, but too were painted ontop, for a special effect.

The castle too, at one point was used as a military school, and you can see the amazing detail – they dressed so sharply – of the uniforms.

The Mexican flag flies proud at the middle of the pavillion of the castle, and there is even a queztalcoatl or four to be found littered about certain staircases.

It’s funny about the castle because some of it is so antique, and then there are the more modern parts like flushing toilets, tucked away in small rooms next to the bedrooms.

The entire castle took about 2 hours – for it is that big – and by that point both of our stomachs were eating a hole in the other.

So we took the walk back to the car – and with perfect timing too for it just had started to rain as we approached the last 100 meters of the car.

We took the drive back to Satelite for lunch – which at this point was more like dinner – and if there is anything as good as easting hot food on an empty stomach, I have not found it yet. Plus the pan fried Oaxaca cheese as it soaked up the juice of the chicken was delicious.

Then because we are going to a bridal shower/party this weekend, we had to jump into the car again and drive to the mall. (At this point it was coming down in a steady rain)

I am not sure what possess the to be married happy couple to put furniture items ranging at 700USD on the list, but on our registry, there was one or two of the sort.

I also learnt today, that when you move into or out of a house, you have to take the washing machine, dishwasher, and refridgerator with you. They don’t come standard. I found this odd, but such is the culture here.

Either way, the lady who packed the blue glass starfish for us complimented me on my Spanish and we got into the merits of being able to read versus being able to talk.

I am glad that I can readily do both.

So with the gift in hand and plenty of pictures from the castle – of which is only one of thre sections of Chapultepec park, we headed home.

I think that vis a vis Chapultepec holds out over Central Park in New York City, for although the lake is smaller, it has a castle! And two Tlaloc’s!

In defense of the lake, there is a swan lake ballet performed there, against the backdrop of an illuminated castle. Which must be stunning to see. You too can rent paddleboats and take a tour around the lake.

I am very taken with this rain-god Tlaloc and his blue face and fangs, the giver and taker of life. Plus his name is pretty cool too.

Tomorrow is a trip to the botany gardens, and the Mexican zoo, which may be one of the only free zoos in the world – notwithstanding Washington D.C’s of course – and far bigger.

I will be happy to post some pictures when the time comes.

I also will never forget how excited my little cousin was to see a real wild squirrel the last time we visited – because for me squirrels are something I take for granted.

Speaking of squirrels, after we came down from the castle, we sat on a stair eating out snickers bars, and watched the squirrels.

The squirrels are weird here because they have red tails and red heads and grey bodies.

Either way stay still long enough and the woodland creatures get curious about you. One little brave guy even came close enough to knock twice against my water bottle which was right between my feet. He also inspected me from profile and came to greet my aunt.

The other’s watched from a somewhat safer distance. No doubt in search of food, but it was very curious to see his curiosty get the better of his fear.

Not that he had anything to fear, of course.

In other news, Black can now stand on his front two feet and even cries when the other girls are getting attention and he’s not. While we’re not sure if he will make a full recovery, it is nice and reassuring to see him with appetite and thirst and a want to be around people.