As interested as I try to be, I’m just not a big “ruins” person. Most archeological sites I’ve visited have held my attention for about, say, an hour. I feel kind of bad, as most guidebooks devote pages and pages to how important some of these fallen monuments are to human history. Some travelers seem capable of wandering through mazes of half-built stone walls gazing at faded etchings for days. Not me.
I think it’s because I’m not really a detail person. When I experience beauty in the world, I experience it through grand landscapes, like a mountain view and a clear blue sky, rather than minutia, such as one small flower. It’s just the way I perceive the world, I guess. (And yes, Machu Picchu was awesome, but I think I enjoyed the scenery on the whole Inca Trail just as much as I enjoyed exploring the ancient city.)
That being said, when we planned our trip to Mexico City we figured we’d visit the pre-Colombian site Teotihuacan. It was too close to the city and too famous not to go. Thankfully, Zach is on the same page with me as far as ruins, and we planned to only spend a couple hours there.
The bus ride from Mexico City to Teotihuacan was about an hour. We both fell asleep on the bus, tired from the previous day’s exploration. After 48km through suburbs and desert hills, we arrived. After entering through the gate, what we saw was really cool. Teotihuacan was established around 100 BC and covered an area of 32 square miles. The site is huge! You could easily walk around all day if you wanted to see everything.
We focused on the main attraction, the Pyramid of the Sun. Sunny it was, haha, and we sweated as we hauled ourselves up the 200 super steep steps to the top of the highest point in the park. (Make sure you bring water!) The view from the top was pretty epic and much more fitting with my landscape mentality. You could see all the way over to the Temple of the Moon and out to the edges of the old city. Pretty cool! Climbing was hard with the elevation and heat and I was actually kind of worried watching some of the less-fit gringos trying to pull themselves up. I wonder how many accidents happen???
After going back down, we made our way through another small area, looking at a fresco of a puma and walking through some residential chambers. We made our way out and found some lunch at a nearby restaurant. Pretty easy and painless!
If you ever find yourself in Mexico City and have a half day to spare I definitely recommend it. It’s a great contrast to the bustling urban metropolis and lets you see another side of the country, even if you’re not a “ruins person.”