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The San Luis Tlaxialtemalco Forest Park is the first clue that the south of the town of San Luis is giving way in the south to the ancient Teutli volcano. Here, the stone is everywhere. And the park is surrounded by fence corners and partial walls built of the same hard stuff. In fact, the town extends southward nearly to the summit of the volcano.
Today the park is managed by the Mexico City Department of the Environment. They’re from the famous and historic Acuexcomatl Center for Environmental Culture just across the street. And since they took over in 2008, the park has become much closer to an ecological park. That suits locals just fine. For international visitors, a glimpse at some of the 20th century’s civic stone cutting exercises is still prominent. But it’s a remarkably wild and even semi-mountainous place despite the chinampa fields and canals just a stone’s throw away.
After a trip to the flower markets, pushing as they do to the very edge of the forest, it’s a welcome relief from busy commerce. While it’s not enormous, it is a friendly patch of green. And after a trip into Xochimilco, it’s also a surprising look at the area’s deep contrasts and contradictions. Lake meets canal and then crooked streets and volcanic highlands. It all comes together here.
The parish church of San Gregorio Atlapulco, in Xochimilco...