I’ve been to Mexico twice: to Tijuana when I was about 8 years old, and for spring break to Cabo when I was in grad school. Needless to say, I’ve never had a real authentic experience in Mexico.
Fortunately, Leo got accepted to an inter-semester program to IPADE in Mexico City, where his family lives, which gave him an excuse to get school credits and visit his family.
One last minute decision later… I bought a flight to join him for 5 days to meet his family before our wedding in July!
An Authentic Taste of Mexico
Oh my gosh. Where on earth do I start? Mexico was so different than I had imagined – it’s diverse, the food is incredible (ok I did expect this much), the history is rich, there are so many subcultures, and most importantly. I can’t wait to go back! This is my first trip out of the country since my South America trip 2 years ago.Although Leo and I have done an excellent job of exploring the South this year, this has been my longest period of non-international travel in my 20’s.
Needless to say, I was so excited to be in a completely foreign city where I spoke only two words of the language: cerveza and bano.
Tio Alberto and Tia Toya’s “Guaps”. It’s a 300 year old painting. Amazing.
Day 1: Mariano’s 7th Birthday
When we arrived in Mexico, we were picked up by Leo’s uncle, Tio Alberto, and his driver. We went straight to Tio Alberto and Tia Toya’s house for Mariano’s birthday. I had met his aunt and uncle last Christmas when they had visited California, but this birthday party was my first time to meet Leo’s cousin, Beto, and his two adorable kids, Mariano and Juane.
These two boys remind me of my own nephews, who are the same age. They are so sweet and too cute for their own good.
Also, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much in my entire life. His aunt would not stop feeding me, and I joked that if she didn’t stop, she’d have to roll me all the way back to ATL from Mexico.
Day 2: Museo Nacional de Antropología y Polanco
I’m so glad we stared our trip at the museum because there are so many historical artifacts, and it also gives a really rich and detailed history of Mexico. I always geek out at these kinds of places because it’s incredible to think that artifacts have been preserved since B.C., or that historians know as much as they do.
Interestingly enough, Mexico City was surrounded by a lake (which as now dried), and many of the buildings are sinking into the ground due to this.
After the museum, we strolled over to Polanco, which is an upscale area with beautiful shops, restaurants and homes. It’s kind of like the Rodeo Drive of Mexico City. I was so impressed with the way people dressed, and the general vibe. Everything felt alive. People sat outside to enjoy the warm weather, music was playing from each restaurant, and there was a general buzz of people enjoying long lunches.
Naturally, we stopped for refreshments.
After a siesta at Tia Toya and Tio Alberto’s, we headed back to Polanco for dinner with Leo’s cousins to El Japonez, a sushi restaurant. But it wasn’t just a sushi restaurant – it was a sushi-Mexican fusion restaurant. I had no idea there was such a large asian influence in Mexico City. The food was incredible.
Day 3: El Centro
Every morning we woke up to a completely authentic Mexican meal. His aunt made the best chilaquiles, black beans, and different types of hot sauces I’ve ever had in my life. I unfortunately didn’t take photos, but I will learn to make it as good as she does. I seriously wish I could express to her how much I love what she cooked.
But, she doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Spanish. Anyway, that’s a different life goal that will happen at some point.
After breakfast, we met with Leo’s other cousin Gordo and his wife Tete. We went to explore El Centro, and we first started at an exhibit called Bici at Museo Franz Mayer.
Tons of awesome bikes from all over the world. A hipster’s paradise.
Next we walked past the Palaceo des Bellas Artes and wandered through the square.
Then, my quince dreams came true….
Then we stopped by Azul Historico for some food…. and dios mio it was amazing. You’re walking in this very old, historical part of town, and you enter into this place, and it’s a beautiful, modern courtyard with huge trees decorated with hanging tea light candles in the middle of the square.
Plus, if you’re looking for some sun, there’s an amazing rooftop bar with plenty of spots to lounge and a pool.
On the menu: mescal, guacamole with crickets, tacos el pastor, and some rose.
After lunch, we went exploring to the main square, Zócalo to see Palacio Nacional the and Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María. I have been a single female traveler for a while, and from time to time, you can feel out of place – especially if you’re a blonde. Places like China or Egypt or Turkey I would stand out. I never felt unsafe in Mexico, but all eyes were on us as we started getting deeper into the city.
We were searching for the cathedral where the Holy Inquisition happened, and although we couldn’t find it, it was great to experience the streets. One thing that struck me was how everyone who passed the cathedral made the sign of the cross. You’d never see something like that in the US.
Day 4: Pyramids & Roma
On our last day, Leo’s cousins Toyi, Jorge and Beto took us to the pyramids, and they were incredible.
We walked all around the grounds, up the pyramids, and took some incredible photos. I loved spending the time with his family and seeing history from the Aztecs!
To round out the trip, we finished our day in Roma. We ate another amazing Mexican-Asian fusion restaurant called Sesame. Roma was so cute with tons of personality, amazing restaurants, beautiful buildings, and some very detailed street art (I’m a sucker for street art).
Mexico City was an incredible experience. Not only did I feel so loved by Leo’s family, but the history, the food, the colors of the city, and the city vibe were all amazing. I am very much looking forward to going back.
Thank you to his family for the very warm welcome, and taking the time to show us around. I am so appreciative of everything you did to make our trip so memorable!