Once upon a time Coyoacan must have been a town outside Mexico City. Now it has been absorbed into the massive urban area but it still retains a very individual character which attracted us when we visited for a day seven years ago as part of our big Mexico/Mayan trip. Coyoacan has been the home of artists and intellectuals for a long time.
We stayed in a quiet residential area with lots of mature trees. The buildings are mostly 2 storey, some built from adobe, many brightly painted. Most are in the Spanish colonial style which means the outer walls surround shady internal courtyards and gardens invisible from the street. On the short daily walk to the centre we craned our necks round any open gates and doors to get a glimpse of the interiors – some very splendid, others quite homely.
Our tiny apartment was furnished with individual items collected by the owners with not an IKEA item in sight! The hosts are studio photographers, collectors and also run a small cafe in a converted ground floor cafe. We enjoyed dropping in every day to relate our experiences and make plans for the next day. Sadly the person who painted the cafe sign could not spell ‘garage’ in Spanish or English.
So far so idyllic, but if we turned left instead of right outside the door we came up against one of the realities of life in Mexico City. Outside the paediatric hospital parents and relatives were gathered at all times of day and night sitting on the benches provided or on the pavement. At night some erected small pop-up tents but the majority huddled down where they were under a blanket. By the way, due to the altitude, the nights are very cold at this time of year even though the days are sunny and warm. We never saw anyone from there in Cafe Garash, their needs were met by the cheap fast food stalls on the corner.
The name Coyoacan means something like ‘place of the Coyotes’. This piece of history is celebrated by a fountain in the centre where two interlinking squares are busy all the time. They are pleasant shady places to rest populated by hawkers and musicians including a very unfortunate sounding barrel organ!
The food in Coyoacan was a delight after our previous Mexico City experience. The restaurants were good but we especially enjoyed eating very cheap lunches at stalls in the covered market.
Coyoacan has had some very famous residents, more about them in the next post!
Sorry to say the photos will have to wait as after several attempts they refuse to upload!