For many, Mexico, may not be top-of-mind for a holiday destination. For a city infamous for its pollution and security issues, suffice to say that this place is not exactly where you'd want to spend Christmas-- with 5 year-old preschooler in tow.
But wanderlust got the better of us and so, with an open mind and heart we ventured into an unlikely destination that pretty much gave us the surprise of our lives-- Mexico is nothing short of amazing!
Mexico City or DF (pronounced as de efe) sure cleaned up its act and is now one of the world's most exciting metropolises. A stroll downtown (we did this by foot!) reveals the city's storied history, from its colonial-era splendor, Aztec temples, brazen contemporary edge, to its exploding culinary scene-- one can get easily overwhelmed. And I haven't even started about the shopping.
Happy tummies after a meal in Azul Condesa.
You'll never run out of places to eat in D.F. but here are a few musts.
Mexico City has a resurgent hotel scene. Leading the pack is D.F.'s first design hotel, Habita. Following suit is the tiffany-blue peppered Condesa DF. There are a myriad of choices on different levels of comfort and price points. One thing quite common in D.F. is that they are mostly design-driven.
And then of course, there is AirBnB, that so far has not failed us. Here we found a trendy flat in the tree-lined avenues of the hip district of Condesa. It has everything we needed. From the well-equipped laundry area to a Frozen dvd for our daughter (but in Portuguese) plus a free paperback to boot (the owner is a writer). Needless to say, we had a very pleasant stay.
Spare a few days in D.F. before you head out to the beaches as there are loads to see and shop in the capital.
Ciudad Universitaria// Perfect example of the marriage of art and architecture. Designed by Mexican architects Mario Pani and Enrique del Moral, this stunning structure marked the climax of Mexican modernism.
Museo Frida Kahlo// Also known as La Casa Azul for its cobalt blue walls. It's a historic house and art museum dedicated to the life and work of Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.
Mercado de Artesanias de la Ciudadela// A marketplace where you'll find all manner of Mexican crafts and goods. Best to go in the morning when the stalls have just opened.
El Bazaar Sabado// Saturdays are best spent here! There's so much to see and shop.
Avenida Presidente Masaryk// If markets are not your thing, hit this avenue where high-end global fashion labels converged.
Celeste// Concept store offering unique and unusual objects from around the world. There's plenty to shop and have tea at their famed tearoom while at it.
When the hustle and bustle of the city begins to take a toll on you, drive or hop on a bus (the bus system is very efficient!) to nearby towns. There are a handful of historical sites surrounding the metro such as the pyramids of Teotihuacan and Tula. Not to mention the beaches being just a few-hours drive away. Acapulco, anyone?
We didn't have much time to hit the beach or anywhere far but curiosity and our itchy feet led us to the quaint town of Puebla, an hour's drive from the city and a world heritage site we explored by foot. Checking in on every domed church we stumbled upon and every interesting craft shop that stroke our fancy (there were many!)
I spent most of my time at El Parian. A market place set up in the San Roque square a few blocks from Puebla's main square. Almost every stall displays beautiful Talavera plates and intricately embroidered huipils.
Even my buying assistant was busy scouring the market for Mexican toys, dolls, and whatnots.
If there's anything that this place is known for, its the mole. Mole Poblano is what they call it here. It sure was the perfect cap to a short getaway.
This is not the end of our Mexican sojourn. I thought our little Oaxacan stint deserve a post of its own. After all it has effortlessly made it to my top most favorite cities in the world. See why on my next entry!
Your Purveyor of the Uniq,