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Mexico 2020 - CDMX - Hipódromo

Day 1
After saving up for a few years we were finally ready to take a real family vacation. Our original plan was to rent a camper van in San Diego and drive down into Baja California. When we couldn't find any rental places that allow you to cross the border we decided on Mexico City.

We each brought one backpack for this trip. My bag consisted of my clothing, the Ergo, all our toiletries and Theo's bib.

Unfortunately, to save around $400, we chose a flight with a layover in Denver that required us to get to MSP airport at 4 am. 

The Denver layover was long and we were tired.

I found some cheap bluetooth headphones. They were popular with Meadow.

I had gotten this travel journal for Meadow to use on our trip. Each page had questions and drawings to fill in. 

This was the kids first flight. Meadow was real excited at first until she realized we go higher then the clouds. She closed the window and said, "I didn't know we were going this high. I don't like this anymore."

Yet she still insisted on the window seat twice. That wasn't happening on the way back.

Then we made it.

Hello Mexico City!

After a long Cabify drive (think Uber) across the city we were at our AirBNB in Hipódromo. We were tucked in between the hip neighborhoods of Roma and Condessa.

After not eating much all day we decided to take a walk around our neighborhood to find some food.

We walked past a torta stand, but I figured we'd be coming back here.

Every block nearby had at least a few restaurants or shops tucked into the streetscape.

Even Meadow enjoyed the tortas.

I liked the classic Torta Milenesa the best. Meadow ended up scarfing down the hot dog and bologna one.

Day 2
We awoke in our cool AirBNB.

I could live here.

We both thought this. This apartment was the perfect size for our family.


We headed out for breakfast and stumbled upon this dinner that had hot cakes for the kids.

We went with Chilaquiles. Not bad Jac's, not bad.


Then we just wandered.

Well, we were walking toward Parque Mexico.

This park was a little shangri-la. 

We promised Meadow a playground and lucky for her we found one.

All the playgrounds around the city were fenced in with wrought iron fences.

And next to each playground was an "adult playground" with an outdoor gym. 


At least the kids were having fun.

I love the sleek modern apartment buildings tucked in between the historic buildings. Bare cement and glass can look so good. 

I love how shady the city is.

Now I understand why no one wears shorts.

All year long Mexicans here wear pants and it's rare to find a building with air conditioning or heat.

We started walking towards Centro Historico and the Zocalo. Some of the major streets are a cluster fudge of traffic.

To motivate Meadow to keep walking we promised her ice cream.

We ended up at the chic Lolo & Coco.

I was tasked with feeding little dude.

I love the tiny shops tucked in under the buildings.

We then meandered down Reforma and then into a rougher part of Centro Historico.


While walking towards Centro Historico we stumbled upon Chinatown. I had no idea this was here.

That's Barrio Chino and it's really just a subsection of the historic center of the city.



Then traffic got heavier.

It was always insane. This picture just shows it better.


This was the "grey" Mexico City that Brooke had remembered. I thought this part of the federal district was beautiful.



As we got closer to the Zocalo I immediately recognized where we were. I said we had to stop in the Gran Hotel to see the ceiling. I came to Mexico City with my Spanish class in high school and we stayed here.

That's one fancy school trip.

It was worth the walk, Meadow. Wasn't it?

She really wanted to stay here and I don't blame her.

Then we had to see the giant flag in the Zocalo.

I imagined this space being bigger.



Scott got interviewed by some English students.

I think they were just trying to punk an American.

The kids loved the big open space.



Next we made our way over to the Templo Mayor ruins.

This was once the central location of the pre-colonial city. Today the city is nearly devoid of water, but at that time the ceremonial pyramid would've looked out onto a city surrounded by lakes and canals. 

By now we had been walking all day and were getting hungry.

In hindsight we really ought to have spent our first full day in the city relaxing. At more than 7000 feet above sea level, the thin air is hard on us lowlanders.

Now that's what I call a pedestrian mall.

Today was Scott's birthday and it's tradition to go to an Asian buffet.

That's Comida China to you. We were hungry, it is in effect a tradition now and looked good.

There were definitely different options compared to buffets at home.

Valentina for your stir fry? Why not.

We decided to walk to a less crowded area to get our taxi. On our way we ran into a mega protest.

We ended up just walking back to our airbnb, which again was probably not great for our oxygen starved lowlander bodies.


Earlier today Meadow mentioned that she wanted to do hopscotch. And look what we stumbled upon.

We were still full from the Chinese buffet, so we decided go to one of the breweries. Yes, there are some in Ciudad de Mexico.

The bartenders didn't understand what we were trying to order until we mentioned IPA. 

Scott accidentally ordered a beer with coffee so I had to take it.

I went back for the light Mexican beer.

These kids did not want to go to bed.

Meadow stole my phone and took some photos.


Day 3
I woke up the next day feeling horrible. It was a mix of being dehydrated, altitude sickness and hungover.

I mostly blame the altitude sickness and the two beers.

I went and got Brooke some asprin and diapers. It was nice little walk around the hood without whining children.


Meadow had gotten this orange dog balloon from a clown at the Zocalo. We found a book on the bookshelf that matched exactly.

That clown was a jerk. But he made some nice balloon animals.



When you walked out the front door of our airbnb you literally walked out into a restaurant. We decided to try Chilpa for breakfast.

The fresh juice here has been amazing. 

I accidentally ordered two meals. It turned out to be OK since we were eating our lunches later than normal. The kids tacos were also pretty great.

Did we mention how green and shady this city is?

Once my Asprina kicked in we decided to head out.


On our walk we stumbled upon Casa Michoacan and had to stop. It was only our second day in the city and we were already loving it here. Meadow had mentioned that she wants to live here when she's older. I want to live here when I'm older.

The streets were so clean. Every morning the shop keepers sweep their sidewalks so there's no trash or leaves.

Not only do they sweep, they also mop the sidewalks.

The city is beautiful, but there are signs of extreme income stratification everywhere you look.


Sunscreen stop for us foreigners.


Our next stop was Chapultepec Castle.

This was the first time we ran into other Americans since landing.

The history museum was cool, but there was no translations on this side of the castle. 



We later learned that this was Juliet's house in the Claire Danes version of Romeo and Juliet.


We took a little break before seeing the rest of the museum. With all the walking we did the day before and the higher altitude it was starting to affect Meadow.

Over in the residence end of the castle there were English descriptions of the brief period when Emperor Maximilian ruled over Mexico. 


This balcony was so surreal.

The first half of the palace was a museum of the history of Mexico. The other half was the living quarters.




It's Juliet's balcony.


The view alone is worth the price of admission.


While walking over this way I heard someone say, "Hey you were on our plane. It's good to see he (Theo) is feeling better today." While waiting in line at customs Theo was not happy. After being over tired and thirsty he screamed the whole time. 

He was loving the castle.



Meadow's room.


We again ran into the couple that recognized us on the plane and she offered to take our photo. The four of us don't get in photos together very often.

We then walked down from the palace towards the markets in Bosque de Chapultapec.

Meadow had gotten some money for Christmas that she decided to save for our trip. Her first purchase was this Frida Kahlo backpack.


After exploring the park for a bit we walked over to Reforma to pick up a Cabify.


We decided to go to the classic tacos el pastor joint, El Tizoncito. There are a bunch of these around Mexico City, but this was the original locale. They claim to be the birth place of tacos al pastor.

The food was pretty good. 

I thought this was our first great meal in Mexico.

A lot of people don't speak English here, we've done pretty good at ordering without knowing what the others were saying. I really wish I had been practicing Spanish the last couple months.

Everyone enjoyed their meal. Meadow even like her pineapple quesadilla.

And that's coming from someone who claims to hate quesadillas. 

On our walk back to our apartment we stumbled upon this little cupcake shop. Since we never got a dessert for Scott's birthday we had to stop.

Happy birthday to me.

Day 4
My sleeping buddies.

Somehow Brooke sleeps through Meadow and Theo kicking her.

Theo had taken claim to the Frida backpack.

And apparently combing Meadow's hair.

We got up before Chilpa was bustling. Should've ate here again.

On Sunday's its Muevete en Bici. 

That's basically Open Streets for you Minnesotans.

We decided to rent bikes for the occasion.


We picked up our bikes before eating breakfast.

We went to a Mexican chain, Toks, it was serviceable. 

Then we got back on our bikes and enjoyed the car free city streets.

Rollerblading is still cool here.


This was a cool way to see the city. The way the traffic is here made me nervous to bike with the kids.


Not a problem with no cars in sight.

Unlike Minneapolis Open Streets the focus is entirely on biking through the city. If you want to be entertained stop at restaurant, park or museum along the route.



Meadow's altitude sickness had really gotten to her. The poor kid was exhausted. 

Theo didn't seem to be phased by it at all.

Luckily we got a trail-a-bike and all she had to was hold on and enjoy the ride.


We made it to the end of the main leg of the open streets and headed to the Roma/Condessa leg of the ride.


In this section only half of the road was blocked off.

Theo fell asleep.

Kid was blowing bubbles and slobbering.

At least he got a nap.


The city was relatively flat except for this one hill.

We never really got to the areas of the city closer to the hills and mountains. You can't really tell in pictures, but the city is encircled by mountains. 



He awoke!


We didn't realize that we were still heading south. I thought we'd turned a long time ago. Turns out we'd just have to reverse course and miss the western leg of the bike ride. A week later we'd be staying right around here.


We were one of the few bikers heading back north.


We hadn't made it back to our bike rental shop before the roads opened back up to cars.


We found some bike friendly routes. There are quite a few rubber curb protected lanes.

After dropping off our bikes Theo found this sign of Mexico and insisted on a photo.

We took a quick detour to the Plaza de la Republica.

We need some laundry detergent and stopped by a convenience store. It was Super Bowl Sunday and you could see signs of the big game all around the city.


I had read about this vegan restaurant that had pink tacos, La Pitahaya. We decided to go for diner. We got Meadow a "pink" lemonade.

Still not feeling well.

I love that the restaurants here are tiny and spill out into the sidewalk.



Our food was so good and luckily our waiter spoke English so he could describe the food well for us.

Most of the fancier restaurants had at least English menus.

The kids shared a waffle. I'm just loving the amount of fresh fruit here. From the juice to popsicles. 

Next door was an adorable ice cream shop with swings, but our bellies were full.

I carried tired Meadow part of the way home.

We walked through Parque Mexico one more time on the way back to our airbnb. I loved that park. I would highly suggest staying around here. In fact just stay at our airbnb.

So far our stay in Mexico City has exceeded our expectations. 

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