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Mexico '08
Some of my friends and I joined a travel group organized by Dr. James Horn of Educational Travel Services.  The itinerary was largely a walking tour of the world class museums of Mexico City and Cuernavaca.  Along with grand views of colonial architecture and vast collections of Mexican art, we were treated to spectacular meals in exclusive restaurants. The following collection of images represents some of the visual experiences we had.  Digital photos by Jim and Pat Reno are included with mine for this album.  Any one wishing to learn more about many excellent travel opportunities with Prof. Horn may contact him directly at


Having traveled with Jim four times I can highly recommend his services.
Date(s): January 5-14, '08. Album by Marvin Bjurlin. Photos by Marvin Bjurlin. 1 - 100 of 100 Total. 19376 Visits.
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Grand Hotel, in the Centro Historico
This fabulous hotel was once a department store, recently refurbished into a luxury hotel with beautiful suites.  The atrium has the original elevator and a gorgeous canopy of stained glass. Its central location enabled us to walk to world class museums, and restaurants.

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View of the Hotel elevator and canopy

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Fourth floor and Canopy
Our suite was on the fourth floor oposite a restaurant overlooking the zocalo.

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Tina and the Renos in the lobby

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City Lights
Our welcome dinner was in the Restaurant Miralto on the 41st floor of the Torre Latino Americana with a 360 degree view of the city.

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The Metropolitan Cathedral
Our very able tour leader Jim Horn described some of the sights around the perimeter of the zocalo.

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Cathedral Interior

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Stone Skull
This reproduction was at the entrance to the Templo Mayor, the restored ruins of the ancient Azetc great temple.

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Model of the Temple Complex
Our group viewed this model as we entered the museum housing hundreds of pieces of Aztec art found on the spot, under what is now the very center of the modern city.

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Terra cotta figure
Skeletons and skulls make up a very common theme in all of Mexican art starting with pre-Columbian times.

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Pedestrian Street
Several streets around the Zocalo have been limited to pedestrian traffic.  Many examples of contemporary Mexican sculpture adorn these streets.

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Traditional Dancers
These lively performers did ceremonial dances accompanied by the driving rhythm of drums.

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Ancient and new ceremony
These people were enacting the old ceremonial dances in the shadow of the cathedral with its own ceremonies.

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Mariachi band
On a terrace restaurant looking over the Zocalo, this mariachi band helped celebrate Marvin's birthday.

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Gothic Wonder
The Zocalo was filled with numerous street performers including this highly perforated character.

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Marv and Tina
Most of this trip consisted of walking from venue to venue throughout the Centro Historico.

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Bronze Goliath!
The very large sculpture was found in the atrium of the artist Jose Luis Cuevas' studio/museum. This piece, entitled "La Giganta" consists of 8 tons of bronze.

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Maquette of strip dancer
In the Museo del Estanquillo, my favorite items were the many caricatures in vignettes.

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As the photographer, I am always behind the camera so I for opportunities to capture a reflection.

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Pista de Hielo
This huge "Floor of Ice" (skating rink) was commissioned by the mayor of Mexico City as a holiday gift to the people.

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View of the Ice
This stunning view was from the top of our hotel.  The National Palace housing extensive Diego Rivera murals can be seen in the background.

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Night View of the Zocalo
The citizenry waited in line often for hours for free use of the rink, skates provided gratis.

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Museum of Popular Arts
This very modern facility housed examples of contemporary folk art in all media from all across Mexico.

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Paper Mache Skull
This full sized skeleton in the lobby of the museum sported a sombrero and a happy grin. In Mexico, death is celebrated in honor the ancestors.

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This glass case featured animal figures in many media.

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This elaborate sculpture was made of wood and painted in glorious color.

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Facade of the Palacio de Bellas Artes
In this magnificent venue we enjoyed an extraordinary performance of the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. The stage was revealed when the worlds largest Tiffani glass window was lifted.

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Interior of the Post Office
Jim Horn told us about the extensive renovation of this gorgeous structure.

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Lunch Party
Some of us had lunch in the courtyard of the historic Hotel Cortez.

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Diego Rivera Mural detail
This painting featured the ever present skeleton along side a young Diego Rivera with Frida Kahlo (in red) right behind. It was found in the Mueso del Mural de Diego Rivera.  This work, the famous "Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Almada Park" was rescued from the Hotel Del Prado after the earthquate of 1985.

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The ancient canine breed of the Aztecs, still in rare existence today.

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Rivera Mural detail
This detail shows the ancient Aztec aerial bird costumed dancers as they descend from a tall pole.

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Aerial Dancers
We were fortunate to arrive at the Museum of Anthropology just in time to watch a performance of the ancient Aztec ceremony.

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Museum Courtyard
This stunning museum houses an extensive collection of historic artifacts from throughout Mexico.  The architecture features a giant umbrella structure supported by a single column.

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Courtyard of the Casa Azul
The home of Frida Kahlo is now a fascinating museum documenting all facets of her life including personal correspondence with her many friends and lovers. This view shows her bedroom overlooking the courtyard where she was confined as an invalid at the end of her life.

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Here are the famous "floating gardens" of Xochimilco. At this site we enjoyed a lovely boat ride and a delicious bag lunch.  These canals are reminiscent of the watery structure of the ancient original Aztec city.

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Color Galore!
Each barge in Xochimilco was equipped  with a central table and a dozen or so chairs.  These were real "party boats!"  A vendor paddled along side to sell beer and many others came by to offer souvenirs.

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Several more barges carried mariachi bands or other traditional music ensembles.

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Color Extravaganza
This picture by Jim Reno shows how dramatically each barge was painted.

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Ex-Convento Dominico de la Natividad
The lovely small city of Tepotzlan was the site of a beautifully restored convent dating from 1559. As is so often true in religious architecture, the chapel interior featured numerous frescos.

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Tina and Edwardo
This photo was taken from the 2nd floor colonnade of the convent. Edwardo (fondly known as Lalo) was Jim Horn's very able assistant, and a constant source of cheer.

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Convent Courtyard
The courtyard with its fountain and vegetation was particularly peaceful in this location.

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Tepotzlan Market
The relatively small open market in Tepotzlan was particularly colorful.  In addition to vegetables and dry goods there were many prepared food vendors.

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Market View
Markets such as these are often covered with canvas to protect from the elements.  The fringe benefit is that the light is perfect for photography!

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Abundant Color
Along with all of the natural colors of fruit and veggies was the garish color of plastic trinkets.

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More Color
While most of us preferred bottled water, an abundance of colorful soft drinks were available.

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This little piggy went to the Market
Meat vendors offered every imaginable  form of poultry, meat and fish! Good visuals abounded along with questionable odors.

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Hacienda Cocoyoc
After our luxury hotel in Mexico City, our next lodging venue was this beautiful resort spa founded in the 16th century. It was criss-crossed with aqueducts providing water for numerous pools, cascades and fountains.

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Cocoyoc Scene
The many paved sidewalks around this large facility offered lovely views in all directions.

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Cuernavaca Center
From the Hacienda we took day trips into Cuernavaca to visit its great museums and restaurants.  This view of the Plaza de Armas is from the balcony of the Museo Regional Cuauhnahuac, formerly a stronghold built in 1522 and used by Cortez.  It now holds yet more mural painting by Diego Rivera. In the distance can be seen the Catedral de la Asuncion, also commisioned by Cortez.

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A Wedding
While the exterior of the Catedral dee la Asuncion is fortress-like the interior was spacious and airy a perfect location for a beautiful wedding ceremony which we were able to observe from the fringe.

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Wedding Women
There were many photos taken of the wedding party after the ceremony. This one obviously places all of the ladies around the family matriarch.

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Traveling Companions
All together the travel group consisted of 28 individuals most of which had traveled with Jim Horn before.  Some of my personal friends from the region, all new to Jim's service were able to go along.

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Courtyard of the Brady Museum
This photo shows most of the travel group before we explored the former private home of Robert Brady, an avid collector of all kinds of art and artifacts.

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Carved Wooden Door
What was particularly unique about this museum was that every object remains just as it was during Brady's lifetime.  This was a functioning home of a real art lover. Each object  was judiciously placed for maximum visual effect.

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Yet another beautiful inner couryard so characteristic of Mexican architecture.  In this case the flowering plants add extra color.

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Brady's Bedroom
Controversial at first, Brady's use of extravagant color has now become a Mexican trademark.

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Tina and Marv
I find any reflective surface to be an opportunity to play with the camera.

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Jim Reno doing his thing
Yet another skull.

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Tina pretending
I think that Tina would love to have a kitchen like Brady's.

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Chair Pair
More dramatic color.

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Brady Dinning Room

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Street Vendor
I bought three necklaces for Tina from this young craftswoman.

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Bronze Head of Diego Rivera
This over sided Olmec like head was in the garden of the Dolores Olmedo Museum, formerly the estate of this important Mexican philanthropist.  Reputedly one of River's lovers, she acquired a vast collection of the work of both Rivera and Kahlo.

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Actually Diego Rivera was a sort of peacock of the Mexican art world not as pretty as this one!

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The grounds of the Olmedo Museum had numerous somewhat tame peacocks wandering about.

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Gabriella de la Paz
This charming entertainer was featured at the beginning of Jim Horn's party for the group at his home in Cuernavaca.

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Youth entertainers
Also at Jim's party, a delightful vocal and string band regaled us with Mexican folk tunes.

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Tina Dances with Jim
The string band provided the live music for some very energetic dancing.

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Salsa acrobatics
Lalo and his sister demonstrating amazing skill dancing the salsa. Tina  wondered if siblings were allowed to behave like this...

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Jim's great kitchen
Once again, I was sure I would come home to a request for a kitchen rehab!

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What a great party!
After a few margaritas the kitchen took on a new look entirely! Perhaps I can remodel our kitchen with tequila!

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Curenavaca Market
A quick walk through revealed yet more color in some food stuffs we had not seen before.

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Bamboo closeup

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Exotic non-edible citrus

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Calla lily stamen
Could anyone mistake this for anything but the male fertilizing organ. Calla lilies were Diego Rivera's favorite flower...I wonder why!

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Fountain Flowers
This beautiful display was part of a water fountain at Hacienda Cocoyoc.

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Color contrast

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Bird of Paradise
The grounds of the Hacienda abounded in plantings.

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Hacienda Cocoyoc
One of many pools.  I loved the way the light reflected off the pool.

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Another reflection
Much of the architecture was encrusted with ancient tree sized clinging vines.

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Cling  vine
Sometimes it was hard to tell where the architecture ended and the vines began.

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Hacienda Cocoyoc was named after the wild coyote of the area.  There were several stone sculptures of coyotes around the grounds.

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Perhaps it was Lalo we heard howling in the middle of the night, not a coyote!

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Lalo and Marv
Lalo is a recent graduate from an architecture curriculum.  His plans include an upcoming move to Toronto.

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Our great guide at Templo Mayor

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A beautiful child

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Tina and Marv
This was such a relaxed yet interesting and informative vacation.

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Happy Pat

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Jim taking it all in at a museum

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Tina looking great

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Pensive Jonnette

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Sean and Sue

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Carl and Jonette at the farewell dinner

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Tina and Marv
We had a great coffee in the courtyard of the Museo de Bellas Artes.

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Marv and Tina at Cocoyoc

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This happy little pre-Columbia terra cotta figurine waves goodby wishing us all to return to Mexico soon!

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