Hola Mexico! We were so excited to get to explore Mexico for three months. It’s somewhere that we really wanted to visit and slow down a little to take time in certain areas. We spent two weeks in the capital. Luckily for us we landed on Mexico’s Independence Day and got swept into the busy bustling city to watch the festivities.
It was the best introduction to Mexico, the streets were closed off to traffic and thousands of people were in the streets celebrating. They smash eggs full of colourful paper over your head, let firecrackers off in the street and everyone gets searched in long queues by the army before you enter the main square for huge fireworks. Fireworks so loud it felt like the earth was shaking as they echoed off the buildings and smoke filled the air as the show went on. So much smoke that you ended up not actually seeing the fireworks in the end!
The next day was a salute to the armed forces. Huge parades go down the main roads full of army vehicles and processions. It was wonderful to see everyone being celebrated since the history is full of distrust between the government and the citizens.
This busy and chaotic city is full of museums, art galleries and a huge park for a break from the traffic and noise. Though the park at the weekend is so full and bustling you do have to walk really far in for some peace. There’s so many vendors selling everything from a photo with an Avenger to shaved ice with syrup and chili sprinkled on top and every plastic toy in between. The park has a theme park, galleries, fountains and a lake to go boating on. We visited here a few times during our two weeks stay and really enjoyed the atmosphere and huge space of it all.
We visited the incredible museum of anthropology and learnt so much about the Mesoamerican life. We were lucky to see a traditional Danza de los Voladores where four men climb to the top of a ridiculously tall pole hang upside down and spin down whilst playing music. It was fascinating to watch and they didn’t even seem dizzy when they landed back on the ground.
The biggest part for me and I think Stu too, was visiting Casa Azul, Frida Khalo’s house. We planned to go on a weekday to try to beat the crowds. I was so excited to step into her space and find out all about her art, loves and life. We weren’t disappointed and it was amazing to be in her creative space and see so much of hers and Diego Rivera’s work. She was an incredible powerful woman who never let her illnesses and trauma stop her from what she wanted to achieve. Frida is a true inspiration to so many around the world and if you come to Mexico, you have to visit Casa Azul.
Stu managed to find a quirky bar to go to not far from our flat. It’s set up like a speakeasy. It was throwing it down with rain with thunder and lightning tearing up the sky but we were determined to find it. You went through what looked like an average cafe and said we had a reservation, luckily the first cafe we went in was the right one! You went through a store cupboard and into a small but beautiful bar, the staff were really passionate about every cocktail they produced, we had such a good night and a couple of free drinks to try. After you’ve had enough you exit through a real drinks fridge…
Thank you Rick Stein, this legend with his tv show in Mexico made us brave enough to venture to a Pulqueria. This is a bar that sells solely Pulque which is a fermented alcoholic drink that dates back to the Mesoamerican times. We didn’t try a new modern fancy bar, no, we went to the same one as good ol’ Rick. It was intimidating at first but the staff were really friendly, explained everything in spanish but to our luck we got sat on a table full of amazing students who were studying to be maths teachers. We had a fun time teaching each other different words in our languages and sharing buckets of Pulque. We tried lime and chili, guayaba and oat… the oat was not great. The drinks are thick and fizzy and strange but definitely a must do.
In our two weeks in Cuidad de Mexico we ate so much delicious food as well, street food is everywhere and it’s delicious. We were surprised at how much vegan and veggie food were available and how much the traditional spirit Mezcal can burn your tongue… We upped our chilli levels here and never looked back. We took too many trips to the Churreria which was a two minute walk from our place. Nothing beats a hot churro and thick cinnamon spiced chocolate to dunk into.
We took the local bus to see the huge ruins of Teotihuacán. It’s about a 50 minute bus ride out of the city, we were warned that people do get robbed on these buses but we had no trouble at all. It was a bit weird when a guy came on and filmed us all on the bus but apparently that is a standard security measure and we had this happen many times whilst travelling in Mexico. The ruins are huge and sprawling, the temples are really old and crumbling but you can still climb up them. The views from the top are stunning, you get to see the layout of this ancient world. It’s so hot as you’re walking around, there’s no shade but it has to be done to see the amazing sights. The only annoying thing were the constant vendors walking around trying to sell plastic key chains or whistles that apparently sounded like a jaguar.
With all the museums, parks bars and street food we tried, we only just touched the surface and we can’t wait to be back to do more exploring. We’ll have to come back to the capital anyway so we can make a transfer to our favourite place Oaxaca, which is coming up next!