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Mexico: 1000 tacos por favor!

Mexico City

Everyone knows that Mexico has incredible beaches and that Corona is flowing everywhere. But, it is not for those reasons that we put Mexico on our list (even if I am writing these lines sitting in front of the beach, Corona in hand).

We arrive in Mexico City. We have heard so many good (and bad) things about Mexico City and time has come to see for ourselves. We arrive very late at night so we take an uber to our hostel and that’s about it.

We don’t waste time the next morning and head straight to the historical center for a free walking tour. Wow! No, but seriously, WOW! We are dropped directly on the zocalo (the central square of all Mexican cities), surrounded by historical buildings and a huge cathedral. We start the tour of the city and soak in all the information from our guide. From both the historical and cultural side, it is fascinating. Right next to the zocalo, they discovered an old pyramid from the Aztecs’ time while building the subway, and the ruins are just there, quite simply. 2000 years of history surrounded by a small fence. The city was built on a lake so, it is 'sinking', literally. The buildings are crooked, bent, uneven, same thing for the roads, and it adds to the beauty of the city.

Mexico City is the exact opposite of what we hear in 'America'. It is absolutely stunning, clean, warm, there are people and trees everywhere, it smells good, the weather is nice; in short, it's fantastic. We both fall in love with it instantly. The tour takes us to sumptuous buildings and helps us find our bearings. And then, it's time for our first Mexican meal. I cannot tell you how excited I was to get to Mexico for the food. Guacamole to die for, juicy tacos dripping with flavour and hot sauce, refreshing tequila cocktails. My knees get soft just thinking about it. We visit the city’s most famous pastry \ bakery shop, where we will fill a tray with delicious pastries (we’ll just hit the gym more when we get back!).

We must change hostels and we find ourselves in a charming house in la Condesa district. It's like being at home. We are in Mexico so we just think about food; supper time! While walking in the neighborhood, we find a lively shop that offers 5 tacos al pastor for 35 pesos ($ 2.30). We feast on tacos, our taste buds burn but dance of happiness. What’s better than a giant, fresh exotic fruit smoothie to help everything go down?

Mexico city charms us so much, that the original 4 days planed transform into 7. We really take the time to discover the city, walk, taste, and learn. During our week, we visit two main museums that opened our eyes. The first, the giant museum of anthropology, which teaches us the history of the region before the arrival of the Spaniards. Did you know that Mexico had more than one million inhabitants before the arrival of the Spaniards? Mexico City was as big as European cities, and various civilizations had inhabited the region for thousands of years. We learn at school that Christopher Columbus discovered ‘the Americas’ and that there were only a few Indians living there, when in fact humanity had been developing almost at the same pace as on the old continent (languages, mathematics, engineering, religion, astronomy, etc.).

The second, the Museum of Memory and Tolerance, is about the genocides in recent history (WWII onward). We come out of the museum quite troubled, both by the harshness of what we saw and learned, but also by the sadness of our collective ignorance about what is happening elsewhere in the world and the lack of education, action and transparency about it.

Let's go back to the positive side; in addition to museums, we eat a lot (I’m telling you, we will come back fat!). We come across a churros place (these long Mexican donuts dipped in caramel or chocolate), which turns out to be the most well known in the city. We pay it a few visits, and the waiters are often surprised to see how many dipping sauces we order (well Daniel eats three quarters of it, but you didn’t hear it from me). Parks, bars, architecture; we can’t get enough of this city. We connect with a friend of Daniel’s, who brings us to a mezcal bar. Mezcal is an alcohol similar to tequila, since it comes from the agave, but much more complex, refined and typical. The waiter shows us how to enjoy the flavors and how to drink it. We go for a drink at the top of the only high tower in the city (Latino-American Tower), attend a traditional indigenous gathering where people dance and keep their culture alive and the miles we walk always have nice surprises for us.

I cannot recommend Mexico City enough. Forget everything you've heard about the city, it's an incredible place. Much appreciated by locals and tourists alike, it is one of the big cities of the world and it deserves its attention. Now, it’s time for us to leave on a road trip for the next two weeks, fasten your seat belts!

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