A few weeks ago I met up on a Friday morning with Kim, who had brought my new camera from the US, and went for a photowalk. I don’t do that often enough, if you ask me. Although some disagree. Depends on your level of interest in photography. And also your interest in exploring the city you live in. Friday mornings for me are normally wasted – I have to get up at 5am for a class right the other end of the city and by the time it’s over at 9am, I am ready for home and a snooze. Early mornings don’t agree with me. At all. They never have.
But since then I’ve allocated those Friday mornings to jumping on the metro and heading somewhere I haven’t been before. This is my last full year in Mexico, so I might as well make the most of it. Today I headed on out to the Basilica de Guadalupe, in the north east of the city. I have actually been there before. Twice in fact. The first time in 2003, and again in 2007. Both times as part of a tour that stops there for just over an hour before going on to Teotihuacan – it’s a tour I highly recommend to any visiting Mexico City by the way. I think it’s under three hundred pesos, lasts the full day and takes in a couple of other important sites too. Most hotels or hostels will have the full info.
But anyway, my two previous visits to the Basilica. Not successful from a photographic point of view. I have just one left from 2003, not least because in those days memory cards were prohibitively expensive (for my budget anyway) and I had to make a 256mb card last a full three month back packing tour. My 2007 photos suffered an accident and I now have only low resolution web friendly shots to show for my efforts. That’s not good enough….the Basilica is one of the most important sites in the country and the second most important site in the world regards the Catholic faith, after the Vatican. Or so I’ve been told.
Firstly of all, when someone says Basilica, they could be referring to one of two churches. The first is sinking fast into the soil – you can see just how much it’s leaning in some of my photos. The Tower of Pisa is just slightly askew by comparison, I’m sure. So they enrolled the architectural skills of the chap who built the Azteca Stadium, the famous football ground that has hosted two World Cup finals, to design an all new, shiny basilica. It is a unique building and certainly stands out. Not everyone loves it. But it is what is inside that is important. The image on the Virgin of Guadalupe. The full story can be read on Wikipedia, but suffice it to say she is undoubtedly the most important señorina in all of Mexico.
The Wiki entry does have a box text declaring that the accuracy of the article is disputed. That really doesn’t surprise me. In five years I’ve been told so many stories about the dear lady, that should I choose to believe them all and use them as sources to write an article myself, I couldn’t help but write a rather conflicting and contradictory report. Still, all the stories have a certain charm, and if you start off with the belief that it’s all a little bit of a fairytale then I don’t think ‘article accuracies’ are going to be something you dwell on for too long.
I did mention the purpose of today was to enjoy a photowalk. So, yes, I have lots of photos, all uploaded onto Flickr, all of which can be seen by clicking here. Or go yourself. There’s plenty to see, some nice walks up to the church on top of the hill, and plenty of flowers, bushes and lawns. All being liberally sprayed with gallons of water even as the surrounding neighbourhoods struggle to get enough out of their taps to brush their teeth…