Almudawar Castle

Another weekend, another castle. Almodóvar is a fabulous fortress of Arabic origin built around 740 BC. It went through a major restoration in 1901, lasting 35 years, right until the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Almodóvar sits on a hill offering the most breathtaking views of the Guadalquivir Valley.

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Madinat Al-Zahra

A medieval city built for the Caliph of Córdoba around 936. The city was surrounded by a wall and towers. Imagine this ostentatious palace with its beautiful pools and lush gardens! These are the ruins that are left of this magnificent city in the outskirts of Córdoba.IMG_2831

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“X is for Mexico”/ México al extremo

Happy 2013! Can you believe we are half-way through the first month of the year?

All I have to say is that I started the new year just like I wanted, traveling!!!

I could’ve not been happier than celebrating the new year traveling in Mexico with my family. I had an amazing time both in Mexico City and Veracruz, and most importantly I enjoyed every second, bonding with my cousins.

I didn’t know how much I missed the city. I love the hustle and bustle, the architecture, that mix of the pre-hispanic past and modern-day Mexico…something you rarely see in a city like San Diego.

My family and I spent 10 days between Mexico City and Huatusco, a small city in central Mexico, known for its coffee. Needless to say it was exciting, yet very intense.

Did I mention we almost die twice during this trip?

So here are my top three most memorable moments of my adventure through the jungle that is Mexico City.

1. Foggy Bus Ride Back to el DF

Fog Ahead!

Fog Ahead!

So we rode the bus on our way back to Mexico City from Veracruz. But get this, Huatusco is at an elevation of about 3,800 feet above sea level. There’s a section of the highway where the road gets really curvy with some very dangerous s-shape curves. Add a whole lot of fog to that and you get a recipe for disaster.

Luckily, our driver (I’m assuming) has driven this road hundreds of times and can drive with his eyes closed. My sister woke me up from a nap to tell me the fog was so thick, It was nearly impossible the driver was able to see the road or anything ahead of him. Yikes.

2. Metro Adventures

We made it back to the bus station alive. Then it was time to decide whether we wanted to take a taxi, a pecero, or the metro. It occured to us that taking the metro would be a faster way to get to my aunt’s home. Only problem, there were five of us with 4 suitcases! It was rush hour, and the day before el Día de Los Reyes. All I can say is that the Virgin of Guadalupe was looking after us.

So we are trying to board the metro and the door closes. We start counting and making sure that everyone is in. There’s 4 of us, one is missing. I see my sister outside with a tear in her eye waving us goodbye. Luckily the metro hasn’t taken off, then the door opens again. I grab my sister by her sweatshirt, and pull her in while other fellow passengers hold the door open.

Phew. She’s in! Wait a minute…her bag is in between the doors. It brakes. The door opens again and we pull her stuff in. Now all of us are in the cabin with a hundred of our closest friends on top of each other like sardines. It’s like 80 degrees inside, and I need some air to breathe. We look around, we’re alive, then we realize there’s like 30 people in front of us, separating us from the exit door.

“Excuse me” that magic word..is not going to work here. People push, elbow, and kick each other just to get out on their exits. They just don’t care. Everyone is trying to get home after a long day at work. Can’t really blame them. Luckily for us, the tall guy behind my cousin Ely is getting off on the same exit, and offers to help her with her luggage. So he pushes her to the front, and help us all out. It was definitely a thrill.

It was like the running of the bulls in Pamplona except we were running away from an stampede of people.

Mexico's City metro

Mexico City’s metro

3. City Tour on a Double-Decker Bus

So we did a tour of the city on a double-decker bus. I definitely recommend this if you ever go to el DF. You’ll get a unique perspective of Mexico, you won’t get anywhere else. There’s about six different tours, tickets are between 15 and 16 bucks, and you can hop-on and hop-off at several designated stops. We did the tour that makes a circuit from the historic center, down the Paseo de la Reforma to Chapultepec Park, and into trendy neighborhoods like Condesa, Roma and Polanco.

It took us about three hours to do it without getting off the bus.

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¡Feliz 2013! No puedo creer que Enero ya esta por terminar….Pero estoy feliz por que empecé el año como me gusta, ¡viajando!

Como siempre no la pasamos de lujo en en el DF y en Huatusco. ¡En total fueron 10 días al extremo!

Extraño la ciudad, y me encantaria regresar a vivir al DF.

Ya veremos que nos tiene el destino en puerta.