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Historical & Hip: Mai Tai Tomás Travels To Mexico City

Historical & Hip: Mai Tai Tomás Travels To Mexico City

Old Jul 27th, 2023, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wilson93david
Is it safe to visit now?
When wasn't it?
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by bald0ne
When wasn't it?
Actually i was going through some article saying, there is a recent incident about some gunmen shooting tourists there. That's why asking.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 10:56 AM
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"there is a recent incident about some gunmen shooting tourists there. "

I see no mention anywhere about tourists being shot in Mexico City, so I think you are mistaken.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 11:01 AM
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Is it just me or is anyone else getting more than a little fed up with these posy from first timers/spammers/sad gits that post bizarre stuff like that above? The forums seem to be infested with this stuff and all posters seem to have a screen name which includes a number??
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 12:56 PM
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Wilson93david, when you post stuff like that, link the article and be sure to look at the actual date and location. Mexico is a huge country, not one size fits all. (Mexico City is no more like Puerto Vallarta than Washington DC is like Miami Beach). For example. So look at a map. You may even notice that there are different Travel Advisories by State, and even within states (and cities), some areas are safer than others.

I asked about the user name thing once and the poster responded that they get assigned this sort of user name.

Last edited by mlgb; Jul 28th, 2023 at 01:02 PM.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 01:05 PM
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When I unwrapped my alebrije back home I discovered that they forgot to include the ears! As it's a spirit animal it makes some sense as I rarely listen to anyone.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 02:31 PM
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"When I unwrapped my alebrije back home I discovered that they forgot to include the ears! As it's a spirit animal it makes some sense as I rarely listen to anyone."

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Old Aug 8th, 2023, 10:38 AM
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On a hot Friday, it was time to go back to Chapultepec Park and check out Grasshopper Hill’s Chapultepec Castle, the only castle in North America to ever be inhabited by a foreign monarch. From spectacular murals to vista views to replica rooms to a dazzling stained-glass hallway, the castle delivered. The afternoon consisted of checking out a little bit of Polanco, including a park named after an American President and a plaza named after a South American country. And dinner … The three of us were extended VIP treatment at a Polanco restaurant and a mini-tour of its extensive tequila collection. Story with Tracy's marvelous photos in link below ... without photos below photos.


Chapter Eight - Chapultepec Castle & It’s Another Tequila Sunset

Day Eight - Where’s That Ticket Office?, Not A Bad Walk At All, Magnificent Murals, Stained Glass Hallway, Exploring The Grounds, It’s All Up From Here, Perambulating Polanco, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, A Quick Stop In Uruguay, VIP Treatment & Mas Tequila!

After a quick breakfast at our hotel, we got an early start on our walk to Chapultepec Park for a tour of Chapultepec Castle. We momentarily went in the wrong direction, but this building gave us a hand in guiding our way.

Inside the Lion’s Gate one more time, we were asked to stay and spend some time with this guy. I told him we were in a hurry to get to the castle, so I said, “In a while crocodile.”

Before heading to Mexico City, I had been forewarned on many sites not to head up the trail to the castle until you purchased your tickets below. For once I heeded that call, and after spending some time attempting to find the elusive ticket office, we got our tickets (free to those over 60 years of age) to head up.

Another online warning was that the walk up to the castle was rather strenuous. It was not. Along the way we took in the city views of Mexico City.

We strolled by a small pond and a statue entitled José María Morelos y Pavón, a “Catholic priest, statesman and military leader who led the Mexican War of Independence” in the early 19th century. He was eventually captured and executed by the royalist army.

The online reports were correct. If you arrive at the castle without a ticket, there is no place to purchase one up top. Looking at what we thought was the castle, we tried to determine where the entrance was located. Since there was a large stairwell, we decided this must be it. As it turned out, we were actually in the old military college that houses Museo Nacional de Historia in the Castillo de Chapultepec. First we entered a gallery with a famed mural (De Porfirismo a la Revolucion) by David Alfaro Siqueiros.

The mural is hard to capture as it spreads across walls of the gallery, which Siqueiros developed. I guess when you run out of wall space, you just create more walls.

You’re just going to have to visit to experience the magnitude of his work.

Speaking of which, as we climbed the staircase before us was another mural. Alegoria de la Revolucion Mexicana by Eduardo Solares Gutierrezis, also something to behold.

Looking upward is the mesmerizing dome. Tracy perfectly photographed La Intervención NorteAmerica by Gabriel Flores. It shows one of the Niños Héroes (we saw the memorial in the park earlier in our trip) jumping from the castle clutching the Mexican flag to prevent the invading Americans from capturing it in the 1847 battle of Castillo de Chapultepec. The horse below carries the American flag. Simply a mind boggling mural.

It so happens that Chapultepec Hill is also where the Aztecs made their last stand against Cortez and his conquistadors.

Upstairs we were green with envy as we entered Malachite Hall. Not knowing what malachite was (I probably should have attended more of my geology class at SDSU), I subsequently learned it is “a green copper carbonate mineral.” Whatever it is, it’s beautiful.

In the room is a stunning door.

Emperor Maximilian I and Carlota, who made Chapultepec Castle their home, liked to import numerous pieces of furniture to the castle. By the way, Chapultepec is “the only castle in North America that actually served as a residence for royalty.” The door, along with the flowerpots and fountain in this room, are from the London World’s Fair. They were sent from Czar Nicholas I of Russia.

And I’m not lion.

From my limited Spanish, this painting is of Doña Ignacia Mora y Ozta who was married to Don Miguel Arroyo who was Undersecretary of Relations. Please feel free to insert your own joke here.

Another room was full of Viceroys. In the Hall of the Viceroys, no Winstons or Marlboros allowed here. The Equestrian Portrait of Bernardo de Gálvez stands alone.

There wasn’t anything else here, so we figured there had to be more to the castle. We saw someone who looked official because they were dressed much nicer than we were, who pointed us toward the Carriage Hall, which is where we entered the castle. Two murals by Antonio González Orozco stand out. The first is Entrada triunfal de Benito Juárez a Palacio Nacional acompañado de su gabinete (Triumphal entry of Benito Juárez to the National Palace accompanied by his cabinet).

The other is the famous Juárez, símbolo de la República contra la Intervención Francesa (Juárez, symbol of the Republic against the French Intervention). Juárez served five terms as Mexico’s president, both before and after the French occupation.

So how did the French come to occupy Mexico? Well, to make a long interesting story really, really short, Napoleón III of France was convinced by various advisors that what Mexico needed to unify the country was a monarchy. However, he didn’t want to move to Mexico himself so after much negotiating and many promises, Napoleón III offered the job of puppet emperor to the Austrian archduke Maximilian of Habsburg. Maximilian was the “spare” younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, thereby making Maximilian the original spare heir in North America. (I hope things work out better for Prince Harry.)

The French occupied Mexico City in 1863, but things didn’t go too well. It turned out the country really wasn’t keen on having an emperor, after all. The French were defeated in 1867, Juárez regained power, and thanks partly to Maximilian’s mom, who didn’t want her disgraced son to return home tarnishing the Habsburg name, old Maximilian was executed along with two of his generals. Thanks mom! (Tracy highly recommends you read The Last Emperor of Mexico by Edward Shawcross to learn more about this fascinating chapter of Mexican history.)

We then discovered why this is called the Carriage Hall. The royal coach of Emperor Maximilian and consort Empress Carlota was made in Milan in the mid 1860s.

There are carved angels and the side of the coach contains the Imperial Crest.

Also in the room are some famous paintings. The 19th-century Equestrian Portrait of Maximilian of Habsburg is on the left, General Mariano Escobedo (center), while the Portrait of General (and then president) Porfirio Díaz is on the right. President Díaz made the castle his home in the late 19th and early 20th century.

We then headed down the Introductory Hall, which was once utilized as a bowling alley. I guess they spared no expense.

We immediately split outside through a room to one of the terraces where Maximillian liked to read. Or he liked to read in the room. The mezcal on this trip has played tricks with my memory.

Then it was time to see the replicas of the various castle rooms. The Games Room is where Maximilian and guests would play cards and other games. The tapestry displays two guys playing badminton without a net.

If you’re going to have a Smoking Room, it might as well be a nice one. Lots of urns decorated this room, many of them gifts to the viceroys.

It had an elegant dining room with a fireplace, and sideboards made of cedar, mahogany, metal and marble. These were ordered by President Díaz. This room reminded us of many of the European palaces we have visited on our journeys.

Next up was the Service Room, which had an adjacent service elevator to bring food up from the basement kitchen. I know Tracy was eyeing those two plates.

From the terrace we glanced at the Vista del paseo de la Reforma with Monumento a los Niños Héroes in the foreground along with the Monumento a la Independencia and Paseo de la Reforma in the distance.

One more tower in the middle foreground had me stumped. I found out when I got home that it is the controversial Estela de Luz (Trail of Light), which was inaugurated in 2012 after a series of delays. I guess I’ll learn more on my next trip to CDMX.

The Interior Staircase wound upward.

There were no ghosts in the Salón de los gobelinos (Gobelin’s Room). We saw portraits of Maximilian and Carlota along with Napoleón III and his wife. I believe the two pianos belonged to Maximilian and Carlota.

The French bedroom was purchased by President Manuel González, who believed this to be Carlota’s bedroom. This bedroom is a far cry from when they moved in. Supposedly the castle was in such disrepair and there were so many bedbugs that Maximilian took his cue and slept on a pool table while Carlota slept out on the terrace. They only lived here for two years.

When Maximilian knew the government was headed south, he dismantled his palaces.

Every queen consort needs a beautiful bathroom. This one contains a marble bathtub, which reportedly cost 200 pesos back in the day.

Carlota was only 17 when she married Maximilian, and this became her Sitting Room. Notice the Virgin of Guadalupe who we saw a lot of while in Mexico City and its environs.

In the Agreements Room discussions were held by cabinet members in an effort to solve public affairs.

Before you could get in to make those agreements, you had to sit in the Waiting Room.

Chapultepec means “Hill of the Castle” in Náhuatl language, which was the language of the Aztecs. So, of course, we hopped over to the smiling Grasshopper Fountain. The sculpture turns 100 years old in 2024.

Once again the hero cadets were honored. This time, there are six statues.

Back inside we walked to the Lions Staircase, constructed from white Carrara marble. Two marble lions lay at the base of the staircase. They are miniature copies of Antonio Canova’s 1792 sculptures for the tomb of Pope Clement XIII at St. Peter’s Basilica. I think this guy’s favorite song is The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

Tracy asked where the stained glass windows were located. As we ascended the the staircase, I chirped, “Patience grasshopper.”

From up the terrace we looked out on the statues.

On this terrace we gazed upon the garden and the Watchtower of the Alcázar of Chapultepec. It was constructed in 1842 and in 1877 it became an observatory for a short time. I started singing out “I found my thrill on Grasshopper hill,” but was cut off quickly by an embarrassed spouse. Stephen was nowhere to be found.

While in this area we spied some scantily clad women painted on the wall, who looked like they were having quite a good time. These ladies were called Bacchants, who were priestesses of one of my favorite guys, the Roman god of vino … Bacchus. One lady was sauntering next to a lioness while another one stopped to smell the flowers (there are six in all). The murals were painted in 1865.

More rooms! This is President Porfiro Diaz’s bedroom.

A widower at age 51, the then Minister of development married 17-year-old Carmen Romero Rubio y Castelló (there seems to be a theme of young wives in this castle). This is her bedroom.

It was now time for the most spectacular part of the castle in my opinion. Diaz commissioned a stained glass gallery around 1900 that “show the elegant figure of five (Greco-Roman) goddesses that embody the feminine attributes in mythology.”

They are Pomona, goddess of the fruit harvest; and Flora, goddess that favors the fruit harvest.

Next we have Hebe, carrier of divine eternal youth; and Diana, goddess of the hunt, fertility and childbirth. She’s a busy girl

Finally we see Ceres, goddess of agriculture, grain crops and the love of a mother for their children. Obviously she wasn’t much influence on Maximilian’s mom.

The final room was the Ambassador’s Room, a French-inspired room where diplomats from foreign countries met with Diaz to discuss relationships.

El Jardin del Alcázar is where Maximilian dictated correspondence. He once stated, “Building castles with gardens in the midst of terraces” is the definition of happiness.

We spent about 90 minutes on our self-guided tour. Before we started the walk back down we checked out another garden with a statue, I think, representing Aztec warriors.

After the 15-minute walk down we wandered over to the Obilisk to los Niños Héroes.

It was about 11:45. While early for Mexico City residents to even contemplate lunch, these three gringos were getting hungry.

We decided to walk to Polanco and try the restaurant that Tim and Sheila had ambianced to earlier in the week.

It was yet another very hot day in Mexico City, which had been experiencing a drought similar to what we had suffered through in Southern California. We started walking and thankfully there was lots of shade as we headed up the tree-lined Paseo de la Reforma.

Well, most of it was tree-lined.

After abut 45 minutes (it seemed longer), we happened upon the Jardín Winston Churchill. The statue was given to Mexico City by the United Kingdom in 1974.

Fortunately after a few more minutes we arrived at El Bajio (Alejandro Dumas 7 Colonia Polanco). As you can see by its lovely interior, we were way early for lunch.

Lunch was very good as were a couple of cold Bohemias.

Tracy enjoyed chicken enchiladas verde, I burned my lips off with the beef ribs in a delectable spicy thick tortilla, and Stephen liked his Barbacoa Beef. We spent a long time savoring our meal and taking a load off our weary feet.

We now had enough energy to carry on. We walked past the spacious homes of Polanco, which seemed like the “Beverly Hills of Mexico City.”

Soon we were at Polanco’s Parque Lincoln. There is so much green space in Mexico City that at seemingly every turn you are engulfed with gorgeous plants, flowers and trees. The park was opened in 1938 and has, among other things, an open-air theater, an aviary and two reflection pools. The reflecting pool wasn’t reflecting very much, because out of the blue came clouds and a sudden rain shower.

Not surprisingly there is a statue of Honest Abe.

Across the street is the statue of Martin Luther King, who had an unwelcome visitor.

The rain started pelting down fairly hard, so we took refuge at (shock) a gelato shop. Any ice cream in a storm I always say.

The rain stopped as quickly as it had started and we continued along the green space trend until we arrived at Plaza Uruguay. I had read that it was known for a “brutalist fountain,” which is “characterized by simple, block-like forms and raw concrete construction.” That about says it all about the fountain.

Its other notable feature besides its parklike setting is a statue of Urugayan independence leader ,General José Artigas.
While here, Tracy met a cute dog who inadvertently slipped her the tongue as she petted it. We were glad Remi was not here to see it.

We decided it was time to head back.

Speaking of brutal, Stephen told us it would be a little less than an hour to walk back to our hotel. Looking at her phone, Tracy noticed we had walked a little more than six miles by this point, which, judging by her not-so-friendly glare at me, meant I would be joining her in an Uber on the way home. Stephen sucked it up and walked home, if only to beat us at steps for the day (not that we’re competitive).

A late afternoon glass of wine at the hotel, and we were off for dinner. The evening showed off a spectacular sky as we drove (well, we were passengers) to dinner.

Saks Polanco (11560 Campos Eliseos, Lamartine 133, Chapultepec Morales) had been recommended by friends, and this turned out to be quite an unusual, fun and informative evening.

The patio area was bustling …

… and we were seated inside the large, attractive dining room.

Our server, who spoke about as much English as we spoke Spanish, seemed confused by our drink order. Of course, when it comes to the three of us even English-speaking servers are confused by us.

I decided to head over to the bar to ask the bartender what was his favorite Mezcal cocktail. A very official, well-dressed gentleman with a tiny microphone attached to his lapel approached. This usually means I’m in trouble, but quite the contrary, Ramon (who I assumed was the big boss) asked me what I wanted and took us under his wing for the rest of the evening.

He appointed Jonathan, who also had a microphone, to serve us for the evening. Jonathan worked in Hawaii for seven years and was quite descriptive as he told us about the food and drinks. We had the A-Team working for us. Jonathan brought over the table-side bar cart and mixed up a mean Gin and Tonic for Stephen, while Tracy sipped some wine and I enjoyed a mezcal drink whose name is forgotten to what little memory I have left.

Jonathan described how the restaurant has a room with a very large collection of fine tequilas that he’d show us after dinner. We started with a bread basket that disappeared before anyone could even attempt a photo. So did the guacamole with fried tortillas.

For her entrée, Tracy ordered Vegetables Baked in a Puff Pastry Wrap; zucchini blossoms, cheese, mushrooms and spinach, served over a light chili poblano sauce.

Stephen enjoyed his Green Chile Enchiladas, while I had a special enchilada dish that I wish I was having as I write this.

As good as the meal was, our dessert we (sorta) shared was out of this world. Tracy called this “the lightest cheesecake in history.” The photo does not do it justice.

We were not through at this point. Tracy looked on as Jonathan recommended Stephen and I try a couple of shots of tequila. He brought over his little friend and our meal concluded with some smooth-tasting tequila.

True to his word, Jonathan showed us Saks Polanco’s wonderful world of tequila including a two million peso bottle of tequila. Stunned, we forgot to photograph it.

It contains quite an array of various tequilas.

We thought about having another shot, but we were probably at that happy point, so we went no further.

The restaurant was buzzing even more when we left with music playing at just the right decibel for a perfect evening of dining. There are a number of Saks around Mexico City, and we might try the one in the San Angél neighborhood next time. It will be a hard act to follow.

Sadly, tomorrow would be our last full day in Mexico City. We’d start with a sweet breakfast (the best conchas in the world courtesy of Eva Longoria’s Searching for Mexico travel show) at a Condesa pastry shop. Then we would walk nearly ten miles discovering other parts of the city we had not explored yet. It was all going perfectly until I insisted on walking to one last monument where I literally came inches from a tumble that would have sent me home in the cargo hold. On a brighter note, we’d end the afternoon with the absolute best food item we ate on our entire trip.

Chapter Nine: Crisscrossing Mexico City and A Near Monument-al Fall
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Old Aug 8th, 2023, 04:11 PM
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I guess it's safe to visit.
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Old Aug 19th, 2023, 10:01 AM
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For the few of you following along ... Our final full day in Mexico City, a day that nearly ended in tragedy, started off innocently enough as we tasted the most magnificent conchas courtesy of Eva Longoria. The three of us then strolled for a couple of hours through the Roma Norte neighborhood, admiring its structures and statues along Avenida Álvaro Obregón. Congratulating myself on getting through a trip injury-free (note: never get too cocky) we would take a long meandering route to see one last sight, the Monumento a la Revolución & Museo Nacional de la Revolución, which nearly turned out to be a monument-al disaster. Soon afterward, Tracy celebrated (I think she celebrated) my survival by enjoying the best thing she (we) ate on the entire trip (and that’s saying something), a Consuelo sándwich de Churro y helada fresa. A delightful dinner of Italian, British and Mexican food at a French-inspired wine bar (we are quite continental), and our stay in Mexico City had come to an end. What a remarkable city! Story with photos in link below ... without photos and many more spelling errors, under attached photos.


Chapter Nine: Conchas, Churros, Crisscrossing & (Near) Catastrophe

Days Nine & Ten: Thanks Eva, Exploring Roma Norte, Murals Murals & More Murals, Taco Shut Out, The McDonald’s Of Tacos?, Walk Till We (Almost) Drop, Not A Straight Arrow, Near Monument-al Fall, A Churro Made In Heaven, Einstein Finally Appears, Worthless Slip Of Paper and Saying Adios To Magical Mexico City

Our final full day in marvelous Mexico City was upon us, and just like Chuck Berry, we had no particular place to go. So, in honor of Tim and Sheila, we decided we would ambiance our way through some CDMX neighborhoods.

As we exited Hotel Villa Condesa (highly recommended as a place to stay, as were all of our lodgings) …

… we noticed something that had been prevalent throughout our stay in Mexico City. No matter which neighborhood we visited, people took pride in its appearance. On this day nearby our hotel we saw a gentleman sweeping the sidewalk and taking pride in his dwelling. I wish some of my neighbors took this much care of their own surroundings.

Well, we did have one plan. A few weeks before we left on the trip, we watched Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico. The first episode explored Mexico City and mentioned Tomasa Condesa as a place to enjoy some of the best conchas in town. When a former Desperate Housewife recommends something to three desperately hungry travelers, we listen.

As usual, there was some interesting artwork displayed along the way.

Soon, we found ourselves at Tomasa Condesa (C. Atlixco #74, Colonia Condesa). We didn’t know at that time but we would soon be eating something that would become the second favorite thing we ate on the entire trip.

Its website states, “Tomasa is inspired by proudly Mexican women, who get up every day at dawn to knead delicious shells. Soft, sweet and spongy, they remind us of the Mexico of yesteryear in which they prepared their bicycles and placed their basket full of shells and dreams on their heads.” Walking inside we were greeted by a number of the traditional Mexican pan dulce delicacies.

We watched as they were being made and finally it was time to order. Decisions. Decisions.

Stephen ordered the pecan conchas, Tracy tried the vanilla while I finally decided on the orange/almond (naranja con almendra). As Stanley Tucci says at least a 1,000 times in each of his Italian food show episodes, “Oh, my God!” Our conchas, Tracy said, “tasted like eating flavored air.” Wow!

Three fabulous cappuccinos, and the three of us were happy campers to start our day.

This was just another peaceful spot in charming Condesa, a part of CDMX that I had already fallen in love with. Let the ambiancing begin!

We roamed through Roma Norte, admiring its interesting and colorful buildings.

Soon we were in a familiar place. Old David greeted us one last time at the Plaza Rio de Janeiro.

Being gluttons, we went in search of a place in Colonia Roma that also offered some delectable pastries. But we weren’t the only people looking for Panadería Rosetta (Colima 179, Roma Nte.), because upon arriving there was a line stretching back to Centro Histórico (slight exaggeration). Another place to stop at the next time in CDMX.

We were now on Roma Norte’s main drag, Avenida Álvaro Obregón, a street that dates back more than 100 years. It is named for the general in the Mexican Revolution who became the 46th president of Mexico in 1920. He was re-elected in 1928 but as president-elect he was assassinated while dining at La Bambilla, a café in the San Ángel neighborhood.

One of the many statues found in the pedestrian median is Satiro y Amor.

Avenida Álvaro Obregón contains a number of beautiful, old buildings. One of those is El Parian (130 Avenida Álvaro Obregón), a more than 100-year-old building, where the stone portal entrance leads to a passageway containing a number of interesting stores selling crafts.

I thought Stephen might purchase the cactus candle holder.

Nearby we ducked into Librería Ático (Av. Álvaro Obregón 118-B). It seems bookstores have become a part of our vacation itineraries, which speaks volumes about our travels.

As we stepped out of the store, the Edificio Balmori stood out. It was originally built in 1922, then demolished and finally renovated. It originally contained a cinema that held nearly 2,000 people, which might have been big enough to see the premiere of Barbie. It looks like a building you might see in Paris.

Looking into this restaurant, we realized it was way too early for lunch, even for us.

This mural gave us the bird, but in a good way.

I believe this high-flying mural was done by an artist who goes by Los Nook.

It wasn’t long before we hit Plaza Luís Cabrera, a small Roma Norte community park. It was named in honor of a lawyer, politician, diplomat, critic, essayist, and poet, who was an advocate of peasant rights. The plaza has a fountain that spurts water out of tourists’ heads and is surrounded by restaurants.

I don’t know what this is, but I liked the building.

For some reason this mural made Stephen and I yearn for a cerveza.

More Los Bronces de Obregón (bronze statues of Obregón) caught our attention along Álvaro Obregón.

Also catching our eye was a restaurant I had read about that supposedly had some of the best tacos in Mexico City. At about 12:20 we approached Taqueria Orinoco (Av. Álvaro Obregón 179, Roma Nte). According to the foodie website Infatuation, “their tacos al pastor (are) arguably the best in all of CDMX.” They just may be, but we had arrived 40 minutes before opening and didn’t feel like standing in line for that long.

Nearby was Taquería El Califa (Av. Álvaro Obregón 174), which had also been recommended “as one of the best taco restaurants in town.” Tracy had read a review that stated it is “the McDonalds of taco places.” We would soon find out. Our review is neither of the above comments are correct. The tacos were fine, but not special. The best one was a chicken with burnt queso on it. The worst was the al pastor taco complete with no pineapple, which kind of defeats the purpose.

We decided to leave room for more tacos, and since it was now just a little after 1 pm, scurried back to Taqueria Orinoco to try their tacos but the line now rivaled the line at Panadería Rosetta. Note to self, arrive early and wait.

We ambled through more of Roma Norte. Along with a number of colorful buildings, the area also has many old, abandoned buildings that are just waiting to be renovated. Right now Roma Norte seems like the hip Mexico City neighborhood that could resemble Condesa in the next decade after these buildings are restored to their former glory.

Tracy asked what I thought we should do next. Pondering for a minute, I made the fateful decision that we should walk to the Monumento a la Revolución & Museo Nacional de la Revolución as it was only a half hour away.

We would pass more murals …

… and interesting buildings.

It was obvious we were taking a rather circuitous route, because in a half hour we were still 20 minutes away when we saw the giant Monument to Cuauhtémoc. It was built in 1887 and commemorates the last Emperor of the Aztec Empire. His name means “Descending Eagle.” In the background was the billboard for the upcoming San Diego Padres - San Francisco Giants series that would be played here the following weekend. Coincidentally, since that series, my Padres have been known as “Descending in the Standings.”

We passed by a market that I’m sure spins many a colorful yarn.

One of Tracy’s favorite murals of the trip was next.

Speaking of Tracy, she was about ready to kill me as the walk was approaching an hour, when in the distance we saw the Art Deco monument.

The building was constructed over time and its dome was eventually completed. There are a couple of revolutionary presidents entombed in two of its pillars and a couple of later ones are buried here, too.

Now it was time for fateful decision #2. After some deliberation, we decided that since we had walked all the way here, we should go up and check out the views from the top. We were less than 24 hours from departing Mexico City, and so far I had done nothing to put myself in harm’s way. That would change in about ten minutes.

Stephen forged ahead and bought his ticket to ride the elevator. We followed shortly thereafter walking through a darkened area with black walls trying to follow the yellow line as instructed. It got a little confusing when the yellow line stopped, but we noticed the line again with the arrow pointing to the left.

The photo below was taken from the bottom of the staircase looking up and illuminates the area with more light than we could see as we were following the yellow line, so when I made the turn I had no clue that there was a down staircase. As our friend Mary always jokingly says, “That first step is a doozy.” Well, this was “doozy to the 10th degree.”

Not realizing there was a staircase I unwittingly descended that first step as my body thrust me forward into the black darkness. That’s where my luck (or perhaps my angel friend Michael) saved my life. As I lurched downward I listed rather violently to the right like the S.S. Minnow on a three-hour cruise and smashed my arm into the glass or hard plastic wall lining the staircase. That kept me from plummeting down the staircase, and Tracy from collecting on my minuscule life insurance policy.

I jokingly said, “Well, that will leave a mark,” and when we got to the bottom of the stairs we inspected the damage I had inflicted upon myself. A monument employee rushed over to provide aid, while Tracy applied the only thing she had available … some hand sanitizer … which caused me to utter a word that I hope our Mexican friend didn’t comprehend, but I believe it translates into any language. She said, “We really need Mary’s medical purse right now.” To add insult to (literal) injury, that wasn’t even the way to the elevator, and we had to walk back up, only to find Stephen wondering where the heck we had gone. He looked at my band aids and realized he had joined the “Traveling with Tom Getting Injured” club, which grows by the months.

The elevator takes you almost to the top, and upon exiting we were told a steep staircase would take us into the dome. Discretion being the better part of survival, I decided to head down to a viewing area while Stephen and Tracy went up to “The Summit,” located between the two copper domes.

Reviews of the visit to the tower by Stephen and Tracy were about the same with Stephen adding, it was a good idea I didn’t try to traverse the stairs as one near-death experience a day is his limit.

Tracy said it was stifling hot inside the narrow stairwells …

… but at least both of them got nice photos from above.

Tracy also took one of the interior dome where she decided she had had enough and went back down in search of her wounded husband. Stephen continued on to the very top.

Back outside the monument, we decided to Uber back to Condesa, where Tracy had a specific destination in mind. Churrería El Moro (Av. Michoacán 27, Hipódromo Condesa) has been serving the “world’s” best churros and chocolate since 1935 in quaint white and blue tiled locations. It’s also where Tracy enjoyed perhaps the best thing she ever ate.

I ordered the regular churros rolled in cinnamon and sugar, while Stephen had a Consuelo sándwich de Churro with chocolate ice cream. A consuelo is a churro ice cream sandwich. It takes a few minutes for your order to come up as you have to wait for the churros to be cooked and then pressed on either side of the ice cream which causes it to soften … drooling.

But it was Tracy who found churro nirvana.

She ordered the mini Consuelo sándwich de Churro y helada fresa which was three mini consuelos encasing strawberry ice cream. Tracy usually take a couple of bites of a dessert item and is done. It took all my spousal powers (which are limited) to coerce her to share this strawberry ice cream churro celebration of flavors with Stephen and I.

Churrería El Moro has five locations in Mexico City (the original is in Centro Histórico, don’t know how we missed that) and if you visit, do not miss one (or three) of these fabulous churro ice cream sandwiches.

We took one last amble through Condesa. Stephen had happened upon our friend we were supposed to meet the first day, and he led us to the bronze bust of Albert Einstein in Parque México. Einstein was a very outspoken critic of the holocaust and genocide, and the bust commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

We bade farewell to the Fuente de los Cántaros …

… and one last playful squirrel.

To show that murals can be found everywhere in town, this is the one we saw on a garage door as we walked to dinner.

It was about a ten minute walk to our final dinner in Colonia Condesa. La Vineria (Fernando Montes de Oca 5), as the name would suggest, is an intimate neighborhood French-inspired wine bar with a varied menu.

Amazingly, after a day of consuming more calories than any human should consume, we were still hungry (ten miles of walking will do that to you). Warm, crusty bread was a great start.

Although the restaurant was French-inspired, I started off with a goat cheese and tomato salad with pesto balsamic dressing, followed by some very good flank steak tacos with cilantro, onion and serrano peppers served with guacamole and refried beans. Mon Dieu!

Stephen ordered the Pasta Diábolo; fusilli with chipotle, portobello and shrimp, while Tracy enjoyed her fish & chips. Italian, Mexican and British… how cosmopolitan. It was a pleasant way to end our week of mini-gluttony.

One last good night’s sleep, and we awoke with only one thing on our minds … conchas. We met up with Stephen at the terrific Tomasa the following morning for one final Mexico meal of conchas and cappuccinos.

At the airport, the moment of truth had arrived. Did we really need that slip of paper to get out of Mexico? Sheila texted us that on their flight (with a different airline), they hadn’t mention anything about it (sort of like our Covid test when we left Scotland last year). At the American counter, it was the same story, no one seemed to care. I’ll drink to that!

As we took off, Tracy and I agreed that we had such a wonderful nine days in Mexico City that we both wished to return … soon!

Next: Epilogue - Marvelous, Magnificent & Memorable Mexico City
maitaitom is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2023, 10:24 AM
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Bravo Tom & Tracy! You folks did it right. Also glad to see that the experience was again enjoyed with friends, not something that every traveler can always claim. Your report has convinced me that a visit to Mexico City is due. My wife and I have been to Mexico but never to the BIG CITY.

I am done. The Mariachi Cobre CD
zebec is offline  
Old Aug 20th, 2023, 11:51 AM
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Thanks for continuing. The first time I went to Mexico City as an adult was in 2015--I absolutely loved it and since have able to take a couple long weekends there, but reading your report I realize it's been too long. I need to get back and try those conchas!

(Sorry you hurt yourself. Glad it wasn't worse.)
Leely2 is offline  
Old Aug 31st, 2023, 10:42 AM
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Finally a little recap of our nine spectacular days visiting Mexico City. It took us a long time to finally get here, but it will be a short time until we return. Story with photos in link below ... without photos below photos.


Epilogue - Marvelous, Magnificent & Memorable Mexico City

I wouldn’t say it was a surprise we had a great time in Mexico City, but even our high expectations were exceeded. The overwhelmingly positive vibe of CDMX was certainly infectious making our stay even more enjoyable.

We were fortunate enough to have chosen three spectacular places to stay. The Red Tree House and Hotel Vila Condesa both in picturesque and charming Condesa were welcoming, and their outdoor patios were a nice respite after our busy days meandering through Mexico City. I would give the nod to The Red Tree House because of their free social hour every evening on the patio and its delicious breakfast (also free).

In Centro Histórico, Gran Hotel Ciudad de México wowed us from the time we first walked upstairs into its lobby and gazed at that stupendous Tiffany stained-glass ceiling. Its location perched overlooking El Zócalo (Plaza de la Constitución) was a perfect spot to relax, and the service from start to finish was impeccable.

Traversing its neighborhoods by foot or by car, Mexico City offered a stunning display of murals and street art.

They ranged from the abstract to mesmerizing.

And, of course, we won’t forget Frida the rescue dog.

It seemed you could find Diego Rivera’s imprint on this city no matter where we traveled in Centro Histórico. From the Palacio Nacional to the Secretaría de Educación Pública to Museo Mural Diego Rivera with his iconic, vibrant murals bringing Mexican history to life.

Los Tres Grandes (Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco), were on full display at the Palacio de Bellas Artes …

… including Rivera’s famous El Hombre Controlador del Universo (Man, Controller of the Universe).

Speaking of Diego, be sure not to miss his Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central (Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Central) at the Museo Mural Diego Rivera. The mural he created in 1947 stretches nearly 50 feet. Figures included are of Cortés, Juárez and Díaz, along with a Catrina.

You can’t speak of Rivera without thinking of his wife Frida Kahlo, the renowned painter. Her museum in the Colonia del Carmen neighborhood of Coyoacán chronicles her artwork and rather tortured life. Her Casa Azul puts her life in depth.

Our day trip to Teotihuacan and its impressive pyramids (remember, bring sunscreen and a hat) taught us even more about Mexico’s history.

What surprised me most about Mexico City were the numerous green spaces sprinkled throughout the city. Parque Alameda Central, Parque Lincoln and Parque México were just a few of the many parks and expansive open spaces we explored.

Speaking of green spaces, the Bosque Chapultepec was a place where we could have spent a couple of days ambiancing.

One day we visited the remarkable Museo Nacional de Antropología, which traces the history of Mexico through its various rooms.

We also took the short hike up to Castillo de Chapultepec where more astounding murals awaited us.

So did a number of gorgeously decorated rooms and a stained glass hallway you need to stand in to fully appreciate and admire its sheer beauty.

Our favorite of all the wonderful neighborhoods was Condesa. It’s a place that felt like home as soon as we strolled around the oval tree-lined Avenida Amsterdam replete with cafes full to the brim of locals and visitors alike.

Maybe Remi could visit some friends at Parque México on our next visit while Tracy and I could have fun (to paraphrase Bruce Springsteen) “even if we're just dancin' in the park.”

We, of course, ducked into a few churches like the Catedral Metropolitana on the north side of El Zócalo.

And checked out more church interiors in various parts of the city.
One of the more interesting museums, multibillionaire Carlos Slim’s Museo Soumaya, was built in a unique shape that is said to resemble his wife’s neck.

Inside is an eclectic mix of statues, sculptures and paintings. In this collection, that reportedly contains more than 65,000 pieces, you’ll see many of paintings by Mexican artists, but also be on the look out for works by European masters and a vast selection of Rodin sculptures.

Walking through the many markets and tiny shops, Mexico City is ablaze with color.

I guess it is one of the important fabrics of the Mexican culture.

Oh, and did I mention the drinks we enjoyed while here (yes, I think I did)? Mezcal and tequila cocktails certainly took center stage on many an evening. That magic mango margarita comes to mind.

Fortunately, Tracy kept Stephen and I in relative check.

Finally, the food. Even if history is not at the top of your list, you have to come here for a sampling of spectacular meals.

From Centro Histórico to Polanco to Coyoacán to Roma Norte to Condesa …

… each neighborhood is full of gems with spectacular cuisine to satisfy your palate while not depleting your vacation funds.

And, of course, always leave room for the “Three Cs” … conchas, cappuccinos and churros.

Mexico City’s welcoming spirit grabbed our attention as soon as we arrived, and Tim, Sheila, Stephen, Tracy and I felt secure no matter where we walked (or in Tim and Sheila’s case, “ambianced”). CDMX citizens take such pride in their community, and we were impressed by the cleanliness, the open spaces, the cuisine, the history and the passion of the people who live here. Those nine days flew by, and there is still so much more to explore in North America's most populous city.
Gracias Ciudad de México!

Viva Mexico!

As always …

Enjoy The Journey! Attitude Is Everything!
maitaitom is offline  
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