Mexico City; Streetfood, Museums and a hot air Balloon Ride

Mexico City; Streetfood, Museums and a hot air Balloon Ride

I discovered a thrilling #MexicoCity, full of robust #culture, with excellent #streetfood and eye-catching #architecture. Offering more than cacti and cowboys, this city was rich with surprises. The best part? A #hotairballoon ride over the famous (and mysterious!) Teotihuacan Pyramids.


Mexico City

The Mexico you see in the movies is not the Mexico I found. The dusty desert, tornado winds and cowboys sure do exist, but I found a Mexico that’s sophisticated, cultured, rough around the edges, and in my opinion a place where Africa meets Europe.

The Mexico you see in the movies is not the Mexico I found...I found a Mexico that’s sophisticated, cultured, rough around the edges

I was always drawn to Mexico. I’ve read Carlos Monsivais. I’ve listened to Mercedes Sosa. I watched the Frida movie on several occasions, but now I finally decided to visit Mexico. Rumours of overpopulation, drug and human trafficking, together with air pollution was on everybody’s lips. As usual, none of these acquaintances have actually been to Mexico City and I decided to prove them wrong.

I was always drawn to Mexico. I’ve read Carlos Monsivais. I’ve listened to Mercedes Sosa...

I managed to Google a few neighbourhoods before I boarded the plane. My list included the Centro Historico, Cuauhtémoc, Coyoacán, La Condesa, and visiting the pyramids which are located just outside of the city. I booked the NH Centro Historico hotel in advance. This hotel is located in the historical centre of Mexico City, and I thought it would be a safe and picturesque location to anchor my time in this massive city. I also wanted to make sure I got to view and appreciate some good architecture, and this particular neighbourhood hosts some of the oldest historical buildings in the city.

this particular neighbourhood hosts some of the oldest historical buildings in the city
from  $144

NH Centro Historico Hotel

 Mexico City, Mexico

Centro Historico

From the airport I took a taxi to the hotel. I arrived safely, full of excitement, and as soon as I dropped my luggage, I set out to explore my neighbourhood by foot. I found no shortage of mezcalerias, inexpensive cantinas, bakeries and taco stands in this area, and felt a little overwhelmed by the sounds, smells and noises. I was in no rush, so I slowed-down my pace and grabbed my camera to capture a few moments. During my wanderings, I stumbled upon Taqueria Los Paisas, a corner taco stand offering all the guidebook must-have dishes. 

During my wanderings, I stumbled upon Taqueria Los Paisas, a corner taco stand offering all the guidebook must-have dishes

I ordered the tacos al pastor, one of Mexico’s most magical inventions in my opinion. These tacos had the same effect as MSG on me; a combination of feel-good satisfaction and give-me-more. Satisfied and tired I walked another few minutes and made my way back to the hotel for some rest.

Cuauhtémoc

The next day I explored the street food of the city through a guided tour with Eat Mexico. For a foodie like myself this was one of those must-do experiences I had on my list. We explored the Cuauhtémoc neighbourhood and I tried everything from freshly-squeezed juice to tamales, atole and quesadillas.

I tried everything from freshly-squeezed juice to tamales, atole and quesadillas
from  $85

Mexico City Street Food Tour

Culture
 Mexico City, Mexico
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My favourite remained the tacos al pastor. Our guide was super friendly and gave us insightful information and funny jokes on the history of each specific dish.

Coyoacan

Day three consisted of museums. I decided to head down to the south of the city to the neighbourhood of Coyoacan. The taxi system in Mexico City is relatively easy to understand. 

A tip for first-time travellers; avoid taking a taxi straight off the street, but rather phone a secure taxi company. My hotel was very helpful in getting me sorted. Coyoacan is one of Mexico City’s most beautiful neighbourhoods and has a relaxed and colonial atmosphere. 

Coyoacan is one of Mexico City’s most beautiful neighbourhoods and has a relaxed and colonial atmosphere

The tree-lined cobblestone streets and colonial architecture gives it an opulent feel. My first visit was to the famous La Casa Azul, the bright blue house of Frida Kahlo that was converted into a museum, shortly after her death in 1954. Not only do you get to see the artist’s work, but the museum houses several of Kahlo’s personal possessions, including clothing and jewellery.

the museum houses several of Kahlo’s personal possessions, including clothing and jewellery

Also worth exploring is the Coyoacan market for fresh produce and souvenirs, and El Jarocho for a cup of coffee. To balance the bitter with sweet I bought some churros from a local vendor and went for a walk through Jardin Centenario. Look out for the garden’s most iconic and charming landmarks; the fountain featuring coyotes. This is what gave Coyoacan its name.

Pyramids of Teotihuacan

By day four I was ready for adventure, so I booked a hot air balloon ride with Bamba Experience to view the famous Teotihuacan pyramids from up high. What an experience and what a thrill. It was an incredible experience to see these mesoamerican pyramids in such an incredible way. As a photographer, I got an absolute adrenaline rush as I could take photos from angles that few other tourists get to see.

As a photographer, I got an absolute adrenaline rush as I could take photos from angles that few other tourists get to see
from  $244

Hot Air Balloon Ride in Mexico City

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La Condesa

On day five I took it easy and decided to act like a local in the neighbourhood of La Condesa. I walked through Parque Mexico and down Avenida Amsterdam and Michoacan, past numerous little cafes and restaurants. This neighbourhood feels like Europe; beautiful architecture, green parks with trees and trendy youngsters everywhere. I spent some time in Cafebreria El Pendulo. Here you can browse through an excellent collection of books and movies and sit down for a coffee. For lovers of artisanal ice cream there’s Neveria Roxy in the neighbourhood too. And for those who love history, catch a taxi to the Museum of Anthropology, which is located nearby. 

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