This city is incredible! When I visited in 1991, it was a smog-filled, congested place. Fast forward 24 years and THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE! While I know that there are some issues here in Mexico what with the murders and narcotrafficking and all, but Mexico City (referred to here by everyone as the DF) is truly a cosmopolitan city that offers something for everyone. The green movement here is strong as evidenced by the weekly closing on Sunday mornings of the city’s longest and largest avenue, the Paseo de la Reforma. Thousands of people come out to enjoy this weekly event. It was just one of the things that we did today. Here’s a brief recap of our first full day in the DF, the 11th largest metropolitan area in the world!
First.com.com.com was a truly outstanding breakfast at our hotel. One of the reasons that I chose this hotel was for its personal touches such as a made-to-order breakfast and a nightly guest reception. Today, we had pan dulce, chicken enchiladas en pasilla salsa, papaya, pineapple, melon, churros, freshly squeezed juice, yogurt and coffee. Wow! We knew that we would be skipping lunch so we eat heartily before leaving the hotel around 9:30am.
We walked through our little neighborhood of Condesa until we arrived at the Paseo de la Reforma. Here we started our long walk toward the historical center of town. The street is closed from 8am-2pm every Sunday for anyone who wants to enjoy it, as long as their ‘vehicle’ does not have a motor. There were walkers, bikers, skaters and strollers. We walked along the way and took in the amazing monuments that depict important people and moments from Mexico’s history.
As we got closer to the center of town, we took a turn into Alameda Park which is a small, but beautiful place to watch people, enjoy nature or hook up to Wifi!
At the east end of Alameda Park is the Palacio de Bellas Artes. This is where most ballet, opera, symphony and major art exhibits take place. It’s a breathtaking building!
From there, we visited the Torre Latinoamericana. This is one of the tallest buildings in Mexico City. We traveled to the 37th floor to view all of the valley of Mexico. The vista was overwhelming!
We spent the rest of the day in the historical center touring the Palacio Nacional (Diego Rivera murals), the Templo Mayor (an archeological site) and the Metropolitan Cathedral (the oldest in the Americas). We ended up attending Mass in one of the chapels of the cathedral. Go to mass. Check!
At about 4pm, we realized we were tired, thirsty and our phones were dying so we stopped at a Starbucks for recharging and refueling. Lattes, juice and trail mix helped to give us a bit of energy to make the trip back to our hotel. Along the way, we passed an amazing bakery, but the lines were long and we left without buying anything. I’m usually disappointed by Mexican baked goods anyway so it wasn’t a big deal. They sure are pretty though!
We searched high and low for a safe taxi. Finally, after negotiating a rate of 80 pesos (a little over $5), we got a ride home to our hotel. We rested for about an hour and then joined other hotel guests for happy hour. Finally, we made our way out to dinner. We ate at a very hip little pizza place called Pizza del Perro Negro. It truly hit the spot after a day of walking more than 7 miles! I scarfed down half of a tropical deep dish pizza (ham, bacon and peaches) and a Corona! We walked back to the hotel, stopping for a Coke Light along the way. Tomorrow is an early start as we head to Teotihuacan for pyramid climbing. Wish us luck!