Mexico itself is a country full of contrasts, and truly evident in the city. Grandiose architecture and magnificent art galleries alongside signs of poverty. In that I am sure every major city in the world is similar. What is very different are the smells – walking down any given street you have the contrast of delicious meat grilling, fresh cucumber being sliced or …….sewage.
The contrasts between old church spires, modern buildings and electrical mayhem are everywhere!
If you haven’t been to Museo Soumaya yet, then please try to get there. Built by Mexico’s wealthy Carlos Slim in honour of his wife the entire structure is amazing itself, but once you get in and have the opportunity to view the largest collection of art work you simply won’t believe it. His son in law designed the place and it is as elaborate inside as out. The different floors wind up along inside the building so you are either slanting in or out, depending on which floor you are on. The displays change somewhat too, the last time we were here an entire floor was devoted to Sophia Loren. Better still, it is free admission!
Sculptures by Rodin, paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir & Matisse to name a few, you can wander here for hours.
The “Gates of Hell” was a particularly masterful piece, and just huge.
We were pretty fortunate to be in the city for longer than we have before so thoroughly enjoyed both eating out and touring art galleries and museums. It is literally impossible to not eat well in Mexico City. From spending mere pesos for a street taco to dining in one of the more elegant restaurants it is always less than we would spend at home and the food is fantastic.
Try a roadside tostada, in this case shrimp ceviche.
Or – if you are fortunate enough to have a cozy place like we did, just pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner. This Columbian chicken dinner was 110 pesos, and fed us for 2 nights. Not only that, it was incredibly delicious. Under the skin they had rubbed an amazing herb blend and that skin was something Auntie Brigitte would have fought for ….
If you can’t find what you need at a mercado, then you either don’t need it, or you aren’t in the right mercado. Smiling vendors are raring to sell you whatever you need, at a very reasonable price and guaranteed to make you smile too.
In case you haven’t tried it ….. these large sheets below are pork fat. Yep, pure pork fat fried up in all its goodness. Mexicans eat it by the sheet, and as tasty as it is, we find a few crumbles on guacamole or in a soup are enough to hit the spot.
Palacio de Bellas Artes – or the Fine Arts building. Inside it is even more impressive with murals and incredible art galleries. We have yet to make it to one of the traditional folk ballets they feature here, but one day ….
Viewed from what was at one time the tallest building in the Americas, the Latin America building:
Take the elevator to the top of the Latin America building and you just won’t believe how far you can see – particularly on a clear enough day when the smog isn’t too troublesome.
Is there anything better than travel with family? We think not! Our youngest granddaughter Liv is already loving Mexico City as much as we do…
Take some time at Chapultepec Park and Castle, well worth it to wander around, enjoy both the park and the walk up to the castle.
These little guys are everywhere, hoping to catch the popcorn or peanut you drop.
At the top of Chapultepec Park is the Castle, as you can see not an especially brilliant day – smog combined with cool cloudy weather.
Not sure if I was meant to live in a more elegant time or not, but I sure could have become accustomed to my bedroom and bathroom looking like this ….. Who am I kidding though, I would have been one of the servants!! ha ha
Imagine playing hopscotch or soccer inside these hallways … the stained glass is just incredible.
Museum of Anthropology …… take a day. In just over 3 hours we managed to view one side of the 3 you see here…. it is a touch overwhelming, but absolutely amazing and a must see.
The reproductions of actual structures of ancient cities are so well done it is easy to imagine civilization as it was. Just love the colours – and can picture how vivid the homes were.
Amazing murals everywhere telling the stories of each civilization.
And …. once you are worn out from walking your feet off (on this particular day we walked 13.3 kms….) it is entirely justified to stop and have a pastry … our favourite is La Boheme, situated next to Mercado Roma and serving up the most amazing pastries along with a perfectly Vivian size mug of hot chocolate.
In Mexican culture, the mid day meal is very important … they linger over it, usually taking hours, and they certainly enjoy their alcoholic beverages along with it. In fact, in a busy lunch spot like this, I think we were the only table without!
Hungry for a light lunch or just a snack? This tuna tostada is light, refreshing, and absolutely delicious. Contramar is one of the seafood restaurants in Mexico City that you must try to get in to. Like many great places, they are only open for the main meal of the day, from noonish until 6ish. Yes, that is how long lunch can be ….
Oyster Bar in Mexico City? Definitely!! La Docena Oyster Bar has an impressive array of seafood choices and these oysters were so fresh and sweet we had 2 plates. Incredibly delightful and this plate of raw oysters probably cost about the same as a small plate of chicken wings at home. The crunchy oysters on top of the salad were a perfect crouton, and the sandwich a treat.
Reforma is one of the busiest streets, and yet every Sunday morning they close it to vehicle traffic and it is full of Mexican families out exercising, bike riding, roller blading or doing dance classes. Such a great idea, and I just wish we thought to do that in some of our major cities as well.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are much loved in all of Mexico, and the museums dedicated to their lives and art are plentiful. This particular one is in San Angel, which is a beautiful neighbourhood in the city, very artsy and upscale. Saturday market holds some of the most tempting pieces you will find anywhere.
necklaces made of ribbon and corn or beans
Every neighbourhood has a spot like this to sit and enjoy peace and quiet.
The Frida and Diego museum is actually one of their former homes- in this case they each had their own home, created by an architect friend. See the walkway above to join the two? Small bedrooms but huge art studios! (Frida’s house was the blue one, no surprise there, given the Blue House Museum in Coyoacan)
Diego’s art studio sits as he left it …..
Time for another snack in the park ….
Well, it’s taken me some time to get this blog on Mexico City completed, but it is time to move on to the beach at Puerto Escondido. We always seem to find a lot to do in DF, so I’m sure we will be back.