Mexico City, Mexico
7 days - December 2017
Friends or family
Time to start speaking Spanish now! We start with Mexico City where our friend Ines lives.
We came in 2009 for a couple of days but we were sick, it was cloudy and we didn't really know if it was safe or not so we didn't really enjoy the experience.
But back in 2017 for 1 week and guided by a "local" we can now say: WE LOVED IT! New york is usually called the city that never sleeps but Mexico City could easily take over the title. Indeed the streets are always busy, they really know how to party !
The city previously called Tenochtitlan has been built by the Aztec who have been told by a god that they needed to settle where they would see an eagle eating a snake perched on a cactus. They started looking for it and walked many kilometres before finding it on a lake and built a city which is called Mexico City now. The eagle, snake and cactus are now the emblème of the country and can be found on the flag, the money bills etc.
Hernan Cortes arrived in Tenochtitlan around 1521 and was mistaken with the God Quetzalcoátl. As a consequence he has been received quite well by the Aztecs until he decided to take over the city and asked for some help from people who didn't like the Aztecs to kick them out of the city (200,000 Aztecs against 400 Spanish initially)
He called the city Mexico City and this became the capital of New Spain.
So the city has been built on a lake, on many Aztecs monuments and on some tectonics plaques causing many earthquakes (last big one (7.1) back in September 2017...) and the city is sinking 4cms a year... over the week we couldn't see one edifice (colonial or newer) straight !
For a city of 19 million inhabitants (almost the same as Australia as a whole!) we were quite surprised by how green and walkable the city was!
Every new neighbourhood feels like we just arrived in a new city.
We've discovered and walked so many nice of them with many cafes, coloured buildings, parks (where squirrels attack you!!), outdoor terrace like Roma Norte, Coyoacan, Condesa. These are the trendy/fancy neighbourhoods with many galleries and historic buildings. There is an European feeling in these suburbs and the subway comes to remind us that as it was offered by the city of Paris.
But then you see tortillas & tacos street food vendors, street shoe shiners, so much traffic, Latin music everywhere, grandparents dancing in the street, local markets (La Merced; Mercado de Medellin; La Ciudadela) with many colours that just makes the charm of Mexico City. Besides the traffic is quite chaotic and noisy and we even saw a guy stopping at a red light and jumping below his car to fix it! All of this at the red light. Hilarious!
We also discovered Mariachis and invited ourselves to a baptism (Cedric & Ines just sat down to listen to the musicians until we realised there was a priest and we were crashing the party!)
It felt so good so just wander around the streets, taking pictures, enjoying nice food in fancy bars&restaurants!
Speaking of food we've been lucky to test so much good food thanks to Ines and Reyna from our favourite tacos al pastor to Pozole or Sopa de Lima (soups with meat and spices), clamato (beer in tomato juice with some oyster liquid) to tortas (some nice sandwiches), ceviche, quesadillas and so on. And Mezcal as well! Besides we never turn back avocadoes at $0.25 AUD the kilo, Guacamole cure for 1 week!
We loved the food and we can understand why Mexican Cuisine was declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO (alongside French cuisine!). Reyna summarised the food ingredients used by the expression "sal, limon y chile"! (Only salt for Cedric as he doesn't like Chili or Lemon !)
On a Friday night Ines took us to Lucha Libre, the Mexican wrestling. Imagine mens in silver or gold colour underwear jumping on each other, fighting and trying to get their masks off (a wrestler who is uncovered by another has to retire!). All of this with a script prepared in advance ! A really fun night!
Mexico City is also home to many museums including the amazing Museum of Anthropology. You can spend easily 1 full day here considering all the objects they have on all different Mayan and Aztecs tribes.
The museum is huge and we learnt so much on their habits, their traditional clothes, the different tribes etc. There is also a huge sun stone representing the Aztec calendar. A
must-do in Mexico City!
Close to the museum there is the Chapultepec Castle built by the Vice-President of New Spain. Interesting museum explaining Mexican independence from the Spanish lead by Hidalgo who was a "Mestizo" (son of a Spanish and Indigenous person). The view on the city from the castle is great !
Finally we took a pay-what-you-want tour in the historic centre (Zocalo) to discover more about the rich history of the country and the city. Zocalo is where the prehispanic, New Spain and modern worlds meet.
A great tour with https://www.freetour.com/mexico-city.
Fun facts: Guevara and Castro met in Mexico city and got fake ids to go back to their respective countries , all provided by... Gabriel Garcia Marques!
A lot of people use the expression BBB (Barato Bueno y Bellissimo : cheap, good and beautiful ) to describe Mexico City and we couldn't find a better nickname. We loved it and can't recommend it more. It's never on the touristic map but should be as it is so authentic, different, beautiful and captivating !
Gracias Ines y Reyna, we had a wonderful week ! :)
# take your accomodation around Roma Norte or Condesa. Perfectly located and all the sightseeing on your doorstep.
# Go to a Lucha Libre show! Amazing experience. Just be careful when you get/leave the neighbourhood as it's not the safest one...
# you can easily spend 1 week in Mexico City considering all the museums, neighbourhoods and restaurants there are!
# Indulge yourself and try as much food as you can!
#Don’t miss the many artesanal markets! (la Ciudadela being our favorite)
Jan 3, 2018 - 02:30 AM
Vous nous manquez! Vous revenez quand? 💕
Jan 3, 2018 - 06:59 AM
Un placer tenerlos por acá de visita. Qué bueno que les encantó México y recuerden que aquí tienen siempre las puertas abiertas. Viva México Cabrones! (:
Jan 3, 2018 - 10:24 AM
Trop bien!! J'adore le guacamole!