Savoring Mexico City

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Local handiwork shop in Roma neighborhood

Our first travel adventure of 2018 started out as a seed of an idea to accompany my nephew and his wife on a easy(?) trekking holiday in Patagonia.  After reconsidering the amount of time and hassle to get there for only a week’s time, we looked into Nicaragua or perhaps Costa Rica.  Same problem.  We finally settled on an easily accessible location that promised warm weather, good (and cheap) food, and friendly people.  Put that in the mix with some pretty epic history and great urban vibe and you have a very cool place to spend a week – Mexico City.

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La Angel – Monument to Independence

We’re into our fourth full day and night here and I have to admit, while we’ve done miles of wandering through this city on foot and by bike, we haven’t done much lingering.  Traveling with millennials that have boundless energy can have that effect on you.  But one thing we all have in common – the quest for that good cup of coffee…perfect cup…third wave over the top espresso cup of coffee.  I knew my nephew was serious about this “coffee field trip” when I saw his wife’s google map with every high end coffee shop in the city marked and categorized.  They obviously had done their homework and now we were reaping the benefits.

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Our favorite place was just blocks from where were we staying in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City.  Rafael (owner of Forte) is passionate about coffee, and he took the good part of a morning talking coffee lingo with us.  Home baked croissants and pastries (as in made fresh from scratch right there on the premises) were the perfect companions to our morning cappuccinos.

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Forte coffee shop in Roma

We’ve been getting around the city primarily on bikes provided by EcoBici, the city biking program.  It’s a breeze to use once you get registered and we chose the “temporary one-day pass” for a whopping 94 pesos.  That’s $4.86.  Sure, this city is incredibly crowded but there are more parks and green spaces than any city I’ve been in that comes even close to this size.  Biking through the parks or a tree lined avenue almost makes you forget that you are one in 9 million people that buzz around this city.

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EcoBici city bikes

Perhaps the most refreshing thing about this city is how affordable it is to enjoy a visit here.  We’ve sampled street tacos, visited museums, ridden in taxis, eaten in great restaurants complete with drinks and have always walked away with reverse sticker shock.  Yesterday, we ate lunch at a local Mexican taqueria in the Historic District and walked away completely stuffed for under $5 – per COUPLE.

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And a table with a view at the upper terrace of the Gran Hotel overlooking the cathedral and palace was priceless.  But the four of us managed to have our afternoon espressos and a phenomenal designer dessert for less than $6.00.

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El Zocolo Plaza – the heart of the historic center of Mexico City.

Mexico City is not for everyone.  It pulses with people, pollution and frenetic energy – all the time.  The air carries a mix of the aroma of Mexican street food and the stench of pollution.  I have to admit, I’m looking forward to taking a deep breath of clean Colorado mountain air when I return home.  But until then, bring on the fresh pastries and tortillas, the colorful characters and murals, the colonial architecture and green parks.  Wash it all down with some of the best coffee in the world and that’s what I call an adventure – city style.  Ciudad de Mexico.

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Street Market – Condesa neighborhood