Mexico, 2012

Mexico is an inexhaustible reservoir of delights. Foremost are its people. I do not know of any other people more sophisticated than the Mexicans. Next are its monuments, in their infinite variety, whether pre-Columbian or Spanish baroque. Then there are the landscapes, the jungles and deserts, the grand plains and inaccessible mountains, and the smoldering volcanoes. And not lastly the cuisine. Wherever one goes, one eats well in Mexico, particularly on the highways at the small little restaurants for truck drivers. I am most enchanted by the name of these delectable fast foods, El pollo veloz, quick chicken.


A baroque palace that could be found in an old German principality. In fact, it was constructed in the 19th century in Etla, within the province of Oaxaca, and was used as a felt factory. Marina and our friend Alexandra pose in front of its imposing facade.


39One of the most celebrated Mexican artists, Maestro Toledo, who has truly done so much for the culture of the state of Oaxaca, restored the old felt factory, turning it into an artistic space, equipped with studios for contemporary artists and artisans. Seen from this interminable perspective, the many columns possess a rather romantic eminence.


40Nearby the old factory in Etla, an extraordinary rose bush. The colors and the flowers I find to be one of the most exquisite particularities in all of Mexico.


38Alexandra and I, charmed by the colors and scents of the flowers at the Tlacolula market in the Oaxaca region.


114The region of Oaxaca is dotted with baroque churches, including this church of Tlacochahuaya, with each more splendid than last. Almost every village houses a sanctuary overflowing with treasures.


41In the Tlacolula market, the cuisine made from these portable cookers cannot be missed. Irresistible smells emanate from the grills and the food is always delicious.


110More flowers, always more flowers, just like in the Tlacolula market. Here a merchant is selling giant marigolds, very characteristic of Mexico.


131 Juana Kata was one of Mexico’s most adored artists and remains a most wonderful woman who always knows how to find some of Mexico’s best clothes. Warm and welcoming, she is truly the finest jewel in her store.



37We hadn’t been back to Palenque, the famous Mayan site, in forty years. While the region has developed, and tourism has increased, the ruins have kept their untouched beauty and, above all, their unique atmosphere, as if not a single ghost has moved in the interim.


31A piroque waits for us on the river that seperates Mexico and Guatamala. The Mayan site of Yaxchilan is only accessible by boat.


P1090929The boat brought us to the base of narrow and crumbling steps. At the top, a pathway pierces through the enormous tree trunks and leads to the entrway of the site. Between the high walls bathed in shadows, one sees, lit by sunlight, the first pyramid.



The immense site of Yaxchilan has hardly been excavated. Between the trees in the middle of the grass rise the pyramids, platforms, and stairs. The jungle must certainly many more undiscovered treasures.


34The significance and purpose of this strange momument remains unknown. What was the function of this wall pierced with holes built centuries ago by these ingenious Mayans?



The Yucatan is riddled with immense and sumptuous haciendas in various states of disrepair.

130Recently, restoration projects have begun, with many haciendas being turned into charming hotels such as this one in Uayamon, not far from the ancient port of Campeche.



The old hemp factory in Ake. In the 19th century, these fibers derived from cactus became the priciple material for marine ropes. Consequently, the surrounding jungle was decimated, razed in order to create hemp plantations. As a result, the region became immensely rich. Following World War II, hemp was largely replaced by plastics. In a few short years, much of the Yucatan and its many hemp plantations were financially ruined.

by  Prince Michael of Greece