My husband, Raffy, and I left for Mexico on April 19, 2014. As excited as we were, we also had some hesitation because we had been warned about the rampant violence brought about by the drug trade. Luckily, I met wonderful Mexican nationals, whose warmth an openness convinced me that we absolutely needed to go there.
Upon our arrival in Mexico City, we were greeted by very competent and helpful staff. The woman who booked a taxi for us even gave us a 25% discount on taxi fare, as soon as I talked to her in Spanish. Soon after that, our cab was already waiting for us, unlike in other cities where you have to wait a while. Our taxi driver, as most of the ones we encountered during our trip, was also very friendly.
We were treated to excellent service upon arriving at our hotel, Plaza Suites on Reforma, a very central location, as it is in the middle of polanco and Centro Historico. Check in took less than 5 minutes, while our bags were delivered to our room without delay. Our suite was also impressive. Aside from the master’s bedroom with it’s own bathroom and spacious closet, the unit also had a living room, a dining area, a powder room for guests, a fully-stocked kitchen, and its own laundry. There was also a play area for kids, a gym and a heated pool. All of these only cost us US$ 177.00.
As soon as we got settled, we went to the Centro Historico. First, we passed Alameda Park, which was very charming. Then we got a quick look of the Palacio de Bellas Artes before proceeding to Madero.
Madero is a pedestrian street lined with shops and cafes. Here, you are wowed by well-preserved buildings that now house modern retailers or restaurants. Although the juxtaposition is a constant reminder of the commercialism that comes from progress, you still can not help but be transported to the time when these structures, with their intricacies and history, were the norm and not a novelty. And for this, I must commend Mexico City for painstakingly preserving those edifices and keeping the spirit of the city, when it would have been easier to demolish them for newer and more profitable structures.
Another attraction of Madero was the street performers that offered so much amusement to the pedestrians. There were so many mascots, palm readers, acrobats, as well as live bands. There was even an operatic singer performing from a balcony of Sanborns, which was a 300 to 400- year old house covered in tiles. This effectively demonstrated the city’s vibrance and rhythm. Walking down Madero, one easily sees the beauty of the Mexican culture and people: history, food, warm people, art.
After exploring Centro Historico, we had dinner at El Hequito for the best tacos al pastor. It was superb. We ended up ordering 4 tacos, quezo chicharon, beer, and tequila with sangrita, which turned out to be the perfect accompaniment to tequila.
On our second day, we had brunch at El Bajio, which supposedly served authentic Mexican breakfast food. We started off with carnitas taco and barbacoa taco. Both we’re very tasty. Next was the carnitas omelette my husband ordered, while mine was gordita tamales and chicken enchilada with mole. Everything was delicious, but i wish i had more space for their hot chocolate and freshly baked bread. I still is a regret to this day. :)
After bit of rest, we then proceeded to the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Unfortunately, the line was too long for the Picasso photograph exhibit, so we stuck to the murals. They were all magnificent and inspiring. Even the building itself was a work of art. It really is a place of and for beauty.
We then walked to the Zocalo. This has been said a thousand times before, but that place is breathtaking. From the cathedral, to the square, to the Palacio Nacional. To get out of the stifling heat and to get a better view, we went to one of the rooftop bars overlooking the Zocalo. I suggest you do the same when you go. My husband and I had a very relaxing time, just sitting and looking at the view, while having a few beers and margarita.
For an early dinner, we went to a pozole place. My husband ordered pozole with tripe, and served with onions, chilis; while i ordered skirt steak, served with quezo fundido con chorizo, or baked cheese with chorizo. Our bill here was only US$ 16.00.
Soon we were on our way to the Downtown Hotel. It is an old majestic building that was refurbished, then its interior was made to look modern. Their rooftop bar was actually very nice. Open space, couches, and a spectacular view of the old buildings surrounding it.
On our 3rd day, we went to Michoacan for lunch. It is a quaint street in Condessa, lined with restaurant and bars. We were told that this area was populated by artists and hippies, and it showed. This is definitely one of the most interesting places we visited in Mexico City, as it had so much character.
After our lunch in Michoacan, we walked a little to explore, until we reached La Colonia Roma. It was very similar to Condessa, although Michoacan seemed to have more dining options.
Lastly, we spent some time in Polanco/ Polanquito to look at the shops and restaurants. After that, we went to Antara mall for some shopping and early dinner.
This is just leg 1 of our Mexico trip. I I am looking forward to sharing with you other parts of the best vacation we have had: from Playa del Carmen, to Cancun, then back to Mexico City
And on a personal note. I feel that Mexico has been unjustly bastardized in the media. I understand that there are certain parts of mexico that are not very safe. But I feel that it only represents a small part, and it’s not right for a group of people to be labeled based on the actions of few or the dramatization of many for profit; because, in fact, it is a beautiful country with even more beautiful people, who are willing to share their rich culture and fascinating history.
We will definitely go back. Viva Mexico, cabrones!