Monday, October 6, 2014

Museo Soumaya (Soumaya Museum) - Mexico City

This was the day we were going to brave the metro.  We tried it once but it was crazy crowded.  We were determined to ride this thing on this day!

I had it all planned out the night before.  Every stop we would have to go to, every line we would have to use, and even every transfer we would make. All of it was going to cost us a whole 40 pesos which is just around $3!  Here is the list and the pesos it was going to take us to do this.

40 Pesos to Ride the Metro 4 times for 2 people Mexico City

Yes, apparently I can't spell museum without spellcheck.  So as you see we had a busy day ahead of us.  First up an art museum, then a church, and finally Wal-Mart!  This was going to be our first foreign Wal-Mart.  I could hardly stand the wait to get there!

Turns out it was pretty much like all other Wal-Marts.  So I was a little disappointed.  Things were a little cheaper and they had a few name brand things that you can't find in American Wal-Marts but all in all, the same.

As most of our outings start, we had to eat first.  All over Mexico City there is a chain restaurant called Vips.  All the menus say that this is the cafeteria of Mexico!  I would compare to Denny's.  It is the Mexican Denny's.  And just like Denny's it was overpriced but had decent food.

We had that beautiful basket of  non-free pan de dulce or sweet breads put on our table without us asking for it.  We ate them all. They are just too wonderful to pass up!!  It is a very good thing that we end up walking a lot on these trips or we would just be packing on the pounds!!

Pan de Dulce at Vips Mexico City

We ordered off the breakfast side of the menu and they had some interesting options.  Frankie went with the Cuban Baguette.  That sandwich had a huge hunk of cheese, ham, egg, and bacon on it with an accompaniment of breakfast fries.  (Ok, I made up the name of the breakfast fries, but there were fries served to us from the breakfast menu!)

Baguette Cubano Vips Mexico City

I had a ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg shining through.  I really thought the egg would be more fried than it was or I wouldn't have ordered it.   The sad thing is that there was even a picture on the menu of this sandwich, so I knew EXACTLY what it would look like.  Again, I thought it might be more fried and not so icky runny.

Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Fried Egg and Tomato at Vips Mexico City

Mexico City is NOT setup for tourism.  The metro stops are not near anything.  We had to walk quite a bit every time, but it is what it is.  The walk does allow us to see things we wouldn't otherwise see.

Take for instance this religious shrine saran wrapped to a tree!  Jesus was even in this one! From all my observations of Catholicism in many countries, he seems to be down played overed the virgin Mary.  Again, that is just my observation but it is what I have seen countless times.

Shrine to Jesus Saran Wrapped to a Tree Mexico City

Then later on we saw this very elaborate religious shrine to the virgin Mary.  (See??)

Large Shrine to Vigin Mary Mexico City

Here is a close up of what is inside the little house.

Closeup of Large Shrine to Virgin Mary Mexico City

It took us a good hour and a half after eating to get to the Soumaya Museum.  Like I said, unless we just really messed up, Mexico City is not setup for tourism!  The museum was so worth the hassle though!  I do suggest taking the bus, if you can figure it out, or a taxi instead of trying to get there by metro.

Just seeing the building is worth it!  I love the shape of this building and I love the materials!

Full View Soumaya Museum Mexico City

I mean, how can I not love a building that is covered in silver shiny hexagons!!

Closer View Soumaya Museum Mexico City

This museum is actually a private museum and is free to the public.  It has over 66,000 pieces of art that spans 30 centuries!  It is ranked as the most visited art museum in the country of Mexico and we had never even heard of it!

When we first walked in there were several pieces of art for our viewing pleasure.  AND they had signs in English telling you what they were!

There is a HUGE mosaic mural by Diego Rivera (husband of Frida Kahlo) called El Bano de Tehuantepec.  It is simply amazing!

I was looking at it from one side and then walked around to the other side and literally saw the other side of the mural.

Side one.

Side One El Bano de Tehuantepec by Diego Rivera Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Side two!  Everything was lined up perfectly just as if it was a real scene and I had walked from one side of the river to the other.

Side Two El Bano de Tehuantepec by Diego Rivera Soumaya Museum Mexico City

It was really an amazing piece of work!

Boy of El Bano de Tehuantepec by Diego Rivera Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Still on the first floor we saw The Thinker by Auguste Rodin.  We saw the original one at the Rodin museum in Paris.  This one was made from the same cast though.

Thinker by Rodin Soumaya Museum Mexico City

In the middle of the first stairway was a copy of The Pieta by Michelangelo,  We saw the original one of it at the Vatican on our trip to Rome.

Reproduction of Pieta Soumaya Museum Mexico City

We started spiraling up the building via the ramp and/or stairs to each of the other six levels of the museum.  Each floor looks pretty much the same but they each have their own theme.

Level 1: Gold and silver: decorative arts. Collection of coins, medals and banknotes
Level 2: Asian Art
Level 3: European and Colonial Old Masters.
Level 4: From Impressionism to the Avant-garde.
Level 5: From the ancient to the modern Mexico.
Level 6: Works by Rodin and his pupils together with surrealist sculptures by Salvador Dalí.

Inside Soumaya Museum Mexico City

We didn't find Level 1 to be of much interest to us, so I have nothing to share.

Level 2 was filled with art from the Asian countries.  There were several elephant tusks that had been carved in great detail and while they were extremely pretty, it was sad to think that an elephant had to die for that.

Shou Xing God of Longevity Made of Elephant Tusks Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Level 3 held lots of religious European art.  I must say, those people painted a lot of pictures!  We have seen so many paintings like this even if we just talk about the art museums in nearby San Antonio!

Although, I did like this one because I have never seen a painting where the virgin Mary is portrayed as a child.

Saint Joaquin with the Virgin as a Child Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Level 4 started to get into the little more funky stuff that I like.  I like seeing things that are different and not your run of the mill art.

Walking Man Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Level 5 was all about Mexico.  It felt like we were going through the Museum of Anthropology all over again!   But then the pieces started to get more into the modern era and everything was ok in my little world once again.

The frame on this one is more elaborate than the actual painting!  And slightly creepy.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Soumaya Museum Mexico City

This, by far, was one of my favorites from the museum.  I loved the colors, the dresses, and even the title, Bountiful Mexico.

Bountiful Mexico Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Then we finally reached the Level 6.  I had been waiting for this level and thought we would never get there!

This level had so many Salvador Dali statues!  I love most of his work!  It is so weird!  We were able to go to an exhibit of his in Paris where I saw his painting title The Persistence of Memory, which was actually much smaller than I thought it would be.

All of the statues on this level by Dali were huge and fantastic!  Let me share a few with you.

Horse Saddled with Time Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Profile of Time Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Space Elephant Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Giraffe Woman Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Ok, on this one, you just have to see the head up close.  

Head of Giraffe Woman Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City

After the ones with the clocks, this one was my favorite.  It is called Alice in Wonderland.

Alice in Wonderland Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City\

It is another one that you  just have to see a close-up of the head.

Face of Alice in Wonderland Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City

It wasn't just all Salvador Dali on Level 6, there were also statues by Auguste Rodin and his students.

Great Clenched Hand Auguste Rodin Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Lady with Veil Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Once we were done with the art we spiraled our way back down to the bottom floor.  Before leaving we had to take care of business and that is when I walked into the prettiest public bathroom I have ever, and I mean ever, seen!  

Womens Restroom at Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Frankie came out of his respective bathroom saying how nice it was in there and he never says that about any men's bathroom!

While Texas' Buc-ee's convenience store may have many restrooms and be voted best and cleanest in America, they are NOTHING compared to this bathroom at the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City!

And on that note we end our trip to the Soumaya Museum and Restroom.  Up next will be our trip to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I hope you will return to read all about it.

Until then!