Country #15 - Mexico

Exploring Beautiful Mexico City 

Last night I flew into Mexico City, Mexico where I made my way to my hotel for the day, Nima Local House Hotel. Upon arrival I was a bit confused because there is no sign on the door for the hotel, to help it blend into the neighborhood and beautiful building that it is in. I called in and someone came out to show me the correct door. I was mesmerized by the hotel when I walked in. It is so beautiful and such a well-designed hotel! I was greeted with a refreshing mint drink and shown my room on the top floor. You walk through a cool little outdoor walkway to get to it! The room itself was stunning. Automatic curtains are always a good sign! The design of the room was very nice and there was chocolate, snacks, and a welcome letter waiting for me in my room! I slept so incredibly well. The bed was amazing as were the pillows, which isn’t surprising as there was even a pillow menu! Thank you so much to Nima for sponsoring these two nights of my trip - I cannot say enough incredible things about my stay!

The next morning I had a very yummy breakfast of fruit, yogurt, and fresh scrambled eggs. I got to meet and talk with Carolina, who I had communicated with over email. She was so nice and so excited to talk about my trip! She then helped me with some advice and directions for my day, and I then set out to explore the city! I started at Museo Nacional de Antropología, and boy was it impressive. The museum has countless historic artifacts from all throughout Mexico’s history. You learn about the indigenous cultures and the history of the country and the different people who have lived in it. There is a lot of information on the Mayans, for instance. The museum is very well done, although it is massive, and has a really cool circular waterfall type structure in the center 

After spending a few hours learning a ton, I started to walk to go eat lunch. When I exited the building there was a cool ritual outside, where men were tied by their feet hanging from a giant pole and spinning around while chanting. It is definitely hard to describe, but there were tons of tourists out watching the spectacle! After watching for a few minutes I walked down the street, one of the main streets in the city, Paseo de la Reforma, to lunch. It is a gorgeous tree covered street that reminded me so much of Spain.

I ate at La N° 20 Polanco, solely because it was Mexican food and within walking distance to the museum. On their website, they had an English menu so it was definitely a bit of a surprise when my waiter kept going to get someone to translate even though I was just pointing to the menu. I had queso fundido, which is an extremely thick type of queso served with fresh tortillas. Queso, like we have at home, is nowhere to be found in Mexico, but I enjoyed the queso fundido. I also had cheese quesadillas which were really good as well! It seemed appropriate that during my meal a Mexican soccer match was on. The entire restaurant was so into the game it was great, and I got to hear the announcer yell “goaaaaal” which was pretty entertaining as well.

After lunch, I bought a ticket for the Hop-on Hop-off bus. I know, they are so touristy. But I’m a tourist with one day to see a major city so that’s what I did! They are honestly really helpful the first time you are in a big city to help you get acclimated and see what all you want to go back and see. The ride was pretty slow because Mexico City has pretty awful traffic, but it was okay because so many of the neighborhoods were so beautiful and again reminded me of Spain.

After about an hour and a half, I got off to see Catedral Metropolitana. It is beautiful and had an amazing golden altar. This is where I made a new friend! I asked someone to take my picture, and we soon got started talking. His name is Mutaz, he is the Dean of a Law school in Palestine, and he had just arrived in town for a conference on law and social justice. He had also come off of the bus and was headed next door to the Templo Mayor Museum as well. It was so interesting to talk with him and learn about Palestine and to talk about travel with him. He has been to fifty-four countries himself! 

The Templo Mayor Museum was really interesting because it is a site of historic ruins right in the heart of Mexico City, literally next door to the Cathedral! You can walk through them and also learn about them in the museum inside. After the ruins, I got back on the bus and Mutaz did as well. After another hour and a half of riding through and seeing the city, I ended up at a stop right next to my hotel. It was super convenient! I decided to get a burger at a cool restaurant right near Nima called We Love Burgers. My burger was great, and Mutaz joined me as well! It was great to learn so much about Palestine and what he does (he has worked for the UN and written books and research papers galore). It was so great randomly meeting someone who has had such cool experiences. He even invited me to speak to his students when I make it to Palestine!

After dinner, I walked around the block back to my hotel. It was a busy but incredible day, and I did not get to see nearly enough of Mexico City. There are so many museums I want to go back to and places I want to explore. I’ll just have to come back soon - and thankfully I can because it is so close! I loved Mexico City on its own, but it definitely did not hurt that it reminded me so much of Spain. Honestly, if you had dropped me in the middle of the city and asked me to guess where I was, I probably would have said Spain. The resemblance was uncanny at times, especially when comparing it to Madrid. 

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, I know - Mexico was originally conquered by the Spanish. But I honestly was not expecting to like Mexico as much as I did. I feel like we almost only ever hear bad things about our neighbor to the south, but I absolutely loved Mexico City. I felt completely safe the entire time. It felt so much like Madrid, or Barcelona, or even New York at times that I was truly shocked in a good way by how much I liked it. By the time I finished the first museum I had called my mom and told her to start planning a trip to Mexico City because she loved Spain so much. I am sure there are dangerous parts of Mexico, but I did not see them. I went to museums, saw churches, visited other tourist attractions, and saw as much of the city as I possibly could in one day. One thing that’s for sure is Mexico City is now at the top of my “to visit again soon” list. It is so close to home, and there is so much to see. Another bonus - right now the exchange rate is very favorable for the US Dollar! As recently as 2014 the exchange rate was 14:1 - it is now 18:1! For a major city, it felt like a bargain for sure. Thank you for a great day Mexico City, I’ll be back!

15 countries down, 181 to go.

To learn more about Nima Local House Hotel click here.