Evan and I just returned from a weekend in Mexico City. This getaway almost didn’t happen because … life gets hectic this time of year or maybe, now-a-days, it is hectic all year round. Fortunately, traveling without kids doesn’t require so much planning or diligent packing. Although it was a difficult choice between a relaxing beach/mountains destination and an active getaway in one of the largest cities in the world, we are glad we chose the latter.
Mexico City was, by far, the most unexpected and welcome surprise. I expected a big sprawling city that would feel foreign and unfamiliar bursting at the seams with ~20 million people. Instead, I found a lively, beautiful metropolis, densely packed with parks and public works of art. The architecture of Mexico City is the most awe-inspiring juxtaposition of European renaissance splendor and geometric grandness typical of Aztec and other pre-Columbian styles.
The city is lively, vibrant, full of colors, flavors, smells that are otherworldly (at least to us). Here is a Mole spice stand presenting all the chilis and spices that are called for in most recipes.
The architecture is grand and there are even government-funded musicians in the streets which play lovely classical tunes, but the food, the food is nothing short of extraordinary. Restaurants, stands open all day, every day, full of exotic treats and delights for the locals and adventurous travelers. Theirs is a food and drink culture and at the price of ~ $1.oo USD for a taco, you couldn’t not try a bit of everything. Even the crickets and ant eggs. CRICKETS AND ANT EGGS. Yes, we tried them.
Art. Art. Art. Mexico City has more museums than any other city in the world. These are Diego Rivera’s murals in the Palacio National. There’s so much to see and take in from them that, to really understand all that he is trying to convey, I’ll have to come back over and over again.
Art in museums and art on the streets. We’re spoiled with our murals here in Philadelphia but the ones in Mexico City were such a treat. Vibrant and traditional they made for welcome surprises as we explored the city.
Culinary traditions are highly respectful of seasonality and we happened to be visiting the last week of mushroom season. You can put anything into a taco including mushrooms, pumpkin (the season for it is just starting now) and huilacoche.
Authentic aztec treasures exported from the surrounding areas exported straight into the jungle of the city.
Wild, eclectic, awe-inspiring, utterly charming, and eye opening is how I found Mexico City. But perhaps the best treasure that this wonderful city has to offer are the people. Warm, enchanting, religious, traditional, and spirited they live in harmony with a great respect for one another, for their culture, and their families. So the next time you want to go to Mexico, think about forsaking the beach and going to Mexico City to see it for yourself.