A visit to Mexico City involves packing too many activities into too few days (but isn’t that the way with all urban travel?). Lee and I quickly realized that we could not do everything we wanted to do without reaching the brink of exhaustion (and what fun is that?). So on days when we felt a bit peaked, we slowed down our tourista pace and took a stroll. Lee and I are great walking buddies (ask her about us trying to find the Sanduny Baths in Moscow!) and one of the best ways to see Mexico City is on foot. You can experience el DF’s dual nature of the ancient and the cosmopolitan close up and at your own pace. We were grateful to Alejandro, one of the wonderful hosts at The Red Tree House, for recommending several beautiful walks.
San Angel, a lovely colonial-era neighborhood, has a great open air art market. It is also near the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico which lends the area a college-town feel. After strolling around the art market and having some of the best flautas we have ever eaten at Chucho el Roto we headed east down Avenida La Paz toward Coyoacan. (NOTE: It was NOT the waitresses’ pleasure to serve us or anyone else at Chucho but that made the experience that much more fun!)
In Coyoacan, a primary tourist destination is Casa Azul, the Frida Kahlo Museum. This was where Frida Kahlo was born and where she died. For a time, she and Diego Rivera lived there together. It is an interesting place to learn more about how Frida developed as an artist but also to appreciate the brand that is “Frida”. Like Marilyn Monroe, Frida Kahlo is still one the world’s most iconic women. We enjoyed our visit to Casa Azul but … we LOVED our visit to Museo Casa Leon Trotsky, just a few blocks away.
Trotsky was a radical thinker and an organizational genious but lacked political skill. He was no match for Stalin who exiled Trotsky from the Soviet Union in 1929. In 1937, Frida and Diego invited Trotsky and his wife, Natalia, to come live with them at Casa Azul. A few years and one affair with Frida later, Trotsky and Natalia moved into their home on Calle Viena.
After touring San Angel and Coyoacan, we were a bit peckish. We headed to Paseo de la Reforma for lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel. Yes, we know … a rather homogenized American experience but we needed a little Fancy Lady Lunch and the Four Seasons never dissapoints. The hotel was also very close to our next stop, Museo Nacional de Antropologia.
Located on the peaceful Plaza Luis Cabrera in Roma Norte, Cabrera 7 is not to be missed: traditional Mexico food served in a contemporary and sophisticated way. The perfect end to a relaxing day paseando por la ciudad.
Indeed, strolling through Mexico City is perfect on any day!
(Please feel free to contact me for more information about visiting Mexico City. Lee and I can’t recommend it highly enough and we can’t wait to go back!)