Since I have been in Mexico for about two weeks and have eaten my fair share of tacos, sopas, enchiladas, quesadillas, y autra cosas, I feel as though I must tell you about some of the cool, hidden gems that even I didn’t know about until now. In my limited travels, I can genuinely write down with pride that Mexico is full of la vida, color, people, traffico, and culture that is unique all on its own. But speaking of culture, I was lucky enough to see El Castillo de Mexico — the only European piece of history and architecture that’s still standing. To be real, I didn’t even know it existed until mi tìo Eddie asked me and mi hermano if we wanted to go. Of course we said yes, and off we went.
The first thing I noticed about El Castillo was the long walk up the hill in which it was located with all its glory and power. Originally, it was a pathway built for horses and carriages — not tourists and cultured locals of la Ciudad de Mexico. But once we finally made it to the castle, the image was quite a sight. This article isn’t going to highlight everything that El Castillo had to show based on the fact there was a lot to take in. I will say this, though: there were many — and I mean many — types of gente that lived and fought and died for Mexico long before any of us were born.
Some of the things I learned were quite interesting. Mexico’s castle — El Castillo de Chapultepec to be exact — was built by the Spanish, taken by the French, invaded by the English, was home to the first ever President of Mexico Manuel Gonzalez, attempted to be conquered by the Americans, and everything else in between.
Funny enough, my initial thoughts were this: imagine that 300 years from now, strangers will see your bedroom. What if it was a big mess? And what if your only takeaway from the emperor Maximilian I and his empress Carlota was that they didn’t have order in their own home or something. But, of course, with all the artwork and beautiful interior designing, you would’ve ignored the mess (if there even was one) due to how breathtaking everything just looked to a great extent. Seriously, even though nobody has lived in el Castillo for over 100 years, it seems as if royalty was there yesterday porque es la verdad. They also had a room for just about everything — a sitting room, a game room, a decision room, a tea room, a living room, a reading room, the list goes on and on. I guess with all the space to be used, what can you expect from a castle, right? Besides, it was muy padre and muy divertido to check out. However, there was one story about El Castillo that got to me for some reason — Los Niños Héroes.
On September 13th, 1847, the Mexican-American war was bloody and dark. By the end of it, the Americans took over states like Texas, California, and others in the surrounding area of what once were Mexican towns. But as the fight was still raging on, 6 young men decided not to back down from their opponents. El Castillo was ordered to be defended by the command of Nicolás Bravo. There were between 47 to a few hundred cadet soldiers fighting against the Americans, according to scholars and documents. However, when a retreat was enforced, 6 young men stayed — giving their lives for Mexico. Legend has it that the last of the young men, Juan Escuta, leaped off the balcony of El Castillo to his death in order to keep Mexico’s flag away from the Americans. That’s crazy, man. I don’t know a lot of gente that would do such a thing — even for their phones or laptops.
Maybe, the 6 young men reminded me of what life is all about — passion, corazòn, fighting for what you love, having pride in your country, and to never give up even if the odds are not in your favor. Life is not just about one individual, but of everyone in it with you. I hope that when or if you go to Mexico City that you hit up El Castillo — perhaps you might get inspired and have a great experience like I did.