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Tour guide Sergio Garcia and mariachis in Plaza Garibaldi Meanwhile, back in Mexico City ... Sandwiched around the monarch-and-mountain-towns main course was some very tasty Mexico City touring. Saturday was our first full day of exploration, and the morning took us to the Angel of Independence monument, to the city’s most famous bullfighting stadium and to the San Angel arts and crafts market in bustling San Jacinto Plaza. Next we headed to the one of the Mexico City’s oldest areas, Coyoacán, to see the Museum of Frida Kahlo. The attraction, also known as Casa Azul (the Blue House), is where Kahlo lived for 25 years with her husband and fellow artist Diego Rivera. In addition to housing paintings and pho- tographs of the influential artists, the complex includes hun- dreds of personal effects representing their lives together. There also was plenty of local color to be had at the neigh- borhood’s epicenter, Plaza Hildago, where residents and tourists mingled seamlessly on a sunny Saturday. Hacienda de Cortes, our lunch stop, served up one of my favorite com- binations—chile rellenos and margaritas—with a side of his- tory; the famous Spanish explorer had lived on the grounds during the early 16th century. When we returned to Mexico City from the mountains three days later, we focused our efforts on the many histori- cal attractions in the Zócalo area of downtown. We toured the amazing Templo Mayor, which is an Aztec ruins site that dates back to the 1300s. We also saw Constitution Square, the iconic giant Mexican flag, the National Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral, which is the largest basilica in the Americas. One of my favorite memories of the trip came after our tour and lunch at the Museum of Tequila and Mezcal. There was a group of mariachis tuning up in Plaza Templo Mayor Garibaldi, and, as we walked through, our guide Sergio huddled with them. Throughout the trip, he’d shown signs of being able to sing, but now it was showtime. We were treated to a three-song set that featured his pow- erful vocals, as well as the musicianship of his impromptu bandmates. The enthusiasm with which he sang was capti- vating, and it mirrored the passion he’d displayed throughout the trip as he showed us his native country. While I felt we got some good snapshots of Mexico during the tour, I left thinking there was a lot more to explore. And, based on what I experienced throughout the trip, I’d love to take a closer look at more of Mexico as part of another one of A Closer Look Tours’ other well-crafted small-group journeys. For more information on Phoenix-based A Closer Look Tours, contact Colin Caparros at ccaparros@acloserlooktours. com or go to acloserlooktours.com. To see additional photos from the Monarch Butterflies of Mexico tour, go to tinyurl.com/y7shhdbq. NTAonline.com 21