When I was plotting our trip to Mexico City, I knew that by the end of the trip we’d probably want to totally chill in style. With that in mind, I booked us a night at the fancy-schmancy La Casona boutique hotel in Colonia Roma. The one night we spent at the La Casona cost more than the three nights we spent at the Hotel Posada Viena but the difference was like night and day. Our own private terrace, a huge tiled bathroom with a large, clean tub and bathrobe, flat-screened television, a wooden desk and for once — a comfortable bed! The staff couldn’t have been nicer either. We spent an evening exercising our Spanish with the bartender Ernesto who was quite a character.
We only had about three hours to explore the National Museum of Anthropology in nearby Chapultepec Park which was within walking distance but we were also starving. We grabbed a quick but delicious meal from an enchilada vendor on the sidewalk. Tiffany got a great mole dish and I had a spicy verde enchilada combo. After finishing we made our way to the Museum. Chapultepec Park is a great place, heavily wooded, the area served a source of water for Tenochtitlan during the Aztec era and as the final stand for Mexico when the U.S. invaded during the U.S.-Mexican War in 1847s. I would’ve loved to spend more time exploring the huge area which includes the Chapultepec Castle — a fortress expanded by Mexico’s ill-fated Emperor Maxmillian I as his principle residence.
The actual Museum is an overwhelming experience and a mecca for anyone interested in anthropology and human history. We didn’t have enough time to deeply explore every exhibit but we got a pretty good taste and took lots of pictures.
After finishing up we made our way back but discovered the shortcut we made through the park was closed off from us. We had to walk around along the Paseo de la Reforma — almost to the winged Angel of Independence statue that we viewed on our first day. The humidity was starting to slow us down so we returned to our hotel room to take advantage of the amenities. A dinner at the somewhat upscale La Tecla was followed by a nightcap with Ernesto at the hotel bar. We were returning to Dallas the next day but since our plane didn’t leave until 5:00 pm, we would have plenty of time for one more venture out into the city.
Taking a metro the next morning, we decided to revisit the Zocalo and the Museum of the Templo Mayor since we were rained out of it the first day. The Museum was a treat, almost as cool as the Museum of Anthropology — although a lot smaller. A real surprise. The mysterious looking ruins of the multi-layered temple are incredible to view and made a nice finish to our trip.
By the time we returned to La Casona, the hotel had already called a taxi which was waiting for us and our return to the airport.
My one regret was not attending a Lucha Libre event that we had originally scheduled for Tuesday night. But the museum and time constraints — not to mention sheer fatigue — kept us from the date. Maybe next time.
Our trip to Mexico City was a real eye opener. It’s quite fascinating that such a radically different culture lies within a 2 1/2 hour plane ride away from our home. Mexico City is a place of contrasts — where the pre-Hispanic and the European cultures live side by side and not as uneasily as might be expected. Mexicans are equally as proud of both their heritages and the incredible amount of architecture and ruins available for study makes the place an intriguing destination for anyone with a taste for history. My final thoughts on DF — take the advice from the guidebooks with a grain of salt. I’m sure that Mexico can be a violent, scary place, but using the same common sense that you would while visiting any large city will be more than enough to keep you safe as you explore the city’s wonders.