Thursday Living it Up in the DF

Rarely do I wake up on a trip without some sort of a plan for the day. Today, it happened. Rather than spend the last day with an agenda jam packed full of sites, I decided to wake up slowly and just let the day fall into place. My biggest fear in doing this is that I will miss out of seeing something that I will one day wish I had gone to see. 

We walked upstairs to the apartment above us to meet our breakfast attendant, Lupita. She served us granola, grapefruit, a quesadilla and hot coffee.  To be honest, I was expecting a better breakfast based on the reviews I had read about this place, but it was sufficient. Our apartment is clean, but old. I don’t think I could stay here more than a couple of nights. I’d rather be in one of the nicer neighborhoods like Condesa or Roma, but for two days, it’s been great being right in the heart of the Historic Center of Mexico City.

Kevin and I walked at a leisurely pace to the Mercado San Juan. This is where many of the great local chefs shop every morning for their produce and meats. It was interesting and smelly, like most urban markets I’ve visited. Still, I can’t help but seek them out in every city I visit. After the market, Kevin and I walked to the Cafe La Habana to have a Cuban coffee and pastry (it had been almost an hour since breakfast).  Service was super slow, but the price was right and nothing else was open. 

We spent the next hour exploring La Cuidadela Mexican Artesan Market. That was fun! We found a silver cross and chain for Megan. The crafts were beautiful. Some of them were cheap and factory made, but many of the stalls carried handcrafted items. We didn’t buy much, but we did enjoy walking around.

After the craft market, we decided that we really wanted to walk the Paseo de la Reforma. This is the main commercial avenue of Mexico City. It is lined with parks, bank buildings, embassies and apparently at least ten different Starbucks stores. We talked and took pictures for at least another hour. The weather here makes being outside so pleasant. I can’t imagine a more perfect climate. The sun seems to shine here constantly and there is always a nice breeze. 

In the early afternoon, we stopped at the Museum of Popular Art. I had never visited this museum. It was bright and colorful! I truly enjoyed it and I think that Kevin did as well.  Mexico City truly has some of the most amazing museums in the world. They are well-managed, clean and cheap! Plus, they all allow you to take pictures which is really cool!

After the museum, we came back to the apartment to rest for an hour. We had dinner reservations at 5pm at Contramar which is one of the best restaurants in Mexico City (and for that matter, the world). However, as the afternoon wore on, I had second thoughts. I made this reservation three months ago, but somehow it just didn’t feel right today. First, it’s in Condesa which is at least a 30 minute Uber ride from where we are. Second, it’s expensive. Third, it’s all seafood which isn’t Kevin’s favorite. Fourth, it’s extremely elegant. I decided that Kevin and I needed a nice traditional meal so we went to El Cardenal here in the Historic Center. I’ve been told that no Mexico City experience is complete without a visit to El Cardenal. I have to say that service was great and the food was good, but I wouldn’t rush back. We had a squash blossom cheese appetizer. I had a delicious fruit salad. Kevin had steak with tortillas and some chipotle noodles. I also had a whole grilled octopus!  With drinks and tax is was $45. A dinner like this in the States would have easily been $75. All in all, it was nice to sit and reminisce about our experiences here in Mexico. 

We walked to the Plaza of the Constitution after dinner and then headed back to our apartment. Not sure if we would want dessert or not, we stopped at the bakery in front of our apartment. For $4.00 we picked up five different types of cakes/pastries. As we expected, they were terrible.  Mexico is NOT good at desserts other than ice cream. I don’t know why I always look at a pastry and think it’s going to be amazing. Do NOT get cookies, cakes or pie here. Go for the custards, ice creams and fresh fruit.

We are hitting the sheets super early tonight as we want to get a good night of sleep before we head back tomorrow. It’s been a great trip, but we are both looking forward to seeing our family and getting back into our school routine!

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