View of Mexico City and the presidential palace
A city with A LOT of people...
Some love it, others hate it. We are talking about Mexico City or DF, as the locals say, the enormous capital of Mexico. There are many things you can hate about this city: the air pollution, the many traffic jams, the extremely full public transport or the increased crime in some districts. The first three things are simply due to the vast number of people living in this city, which has increased exponentially in recent years. For such a high number the city was not planned.
Berlin has only 3.5 million inhabitants? It's a village!
So Berlin is a village... Of course, in the Greater Mexico City area there are more than 20 million inhabitants! Driving from one end of the city to the other end takes about 2 hours, but only if there is no traffic jam, which is very rarely the case. It is recommended to take the subway (Metro). Despite the fact that some of the metros arrive every 2 minutes, they are almost always full. On my first ever metro ride I could only get on the fourth metro because the other three were all too full.
Very often taxis are also used. I don't think I've seen as many taxis in any other city. While taxis are outrageously expensive in Germany and are therefore used almost exclusively by older people, in Mexico City it is common to travel even short distances by taxi. Just stand on the side of the road and raise your arm a little and it won't take long before a taxi picks you up and takes you to your destination for little money.
....but also with many possibilities
I liked the city so much that I returned twice during my trip. Once for a big heavy metal festival and later for a two-month Spanish course. What I particularly liked about Mexico City is its diversity. Each of the countless districts is a little different. The following are worth mentioning:
the hip Roma with trendy bars
the more wealthy Condesa with many international restaurants
the historical center with old buildings
the well-liked Coayacán with many buildings in colonial style
Ciudad Unversitaria, with the biggest and most famous university of Latinamerica, UNAM
Xochimilco, the Venice of Mexico
Since Mexico City was the first stop of my trip, I spent a little more time here, almost 10 days, also to plan my further trip and to improve my Spanish with the help of a mobile phone app. Despite all the time I had in this city, I have not yet managed to see all the sights. I visited the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Culture), the historic city centre, where the opening scene of the last James Bond film was shot shortly before, and the Torre Latinoamericano, the highest building in South America for a long time.
Coayacán, the arts district of Mexico City
Another attraction is the already mentioned district Coayacán. It is the artists' quarter of Mexico City and has many colonial-style buildings. At the beginning of colonial times, Coayacán was the first seat of government of the Spanish in Mexico. Here you can also find the house of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, who spent most of her life there together with the Mexican painter Diego Rivera. Due to a serious traffic accident she was tied to the bed for almost her whole life or had to wear a steel corset. Her pain and feelings about her unfaithful husband she dealt with through painting. Nowadays the house is accessible as a museum and is definitely worth a visit. Not only do you learn a lot about the woman with the strong eyebrows, but the house is also beautiful to look at.
High earthquake risk
Mexico City is located on a high plateau at an altitude of about 2300 meters. It is surrounded by many volcanoes, like the famous Popocatepetl. The city is located in an area of great geological activity, so there are often earthquakes here.
Once I came home to my apartment in the middle of the night and was in the stairway when the owner of my apartment hurried out the door. He was half-naked, hadn't even closed his pants yet, his friend came behind him. Fortunately, the reason here was just an earthquake warning. Within the last year, however, the city has been shaken several times by really bad earthquakes.