Well, I hope everyone's feeling rested and ready to read after a weekend and half a week off from blog posts. I know I'm feeling ready to type and upload photos!
Friday we woke up with big plans for the morning which were nearly derailed by my discovery that chicken taquitos (and steamed vegetables?) were for breakfast at the hotel breakfast buffet.
Then we made our way through the extremely empty and quiet 8am-ish historic center of Mexico City to our destination...
...El Cardenal, a wonderful classic old school restaurant, renowned for absolutely everything about it, including breakfast.
Put El Cardenal on your must list. Basically this was the only meal we needed all day.
After the restaurant we went back to the hotel for a minute, so here's a good chance for me to finally show you the outside of the hotel.
And then, ready for our day, we headed back out. First stop: the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico, which I had "discovered" by accident one day on my mission and was always quite curious about. And then a few years ago it turned up in the opening scene of Spectre, so this portion of the morning was our James Bond reality tour.
Then we strolled the Zocalo for a minute. Most of it was taken over for a concert thing they were setting up. (Consider that foreshadowing for my day 5 post)
Walking to the National Palace entrance...
And the insides of the Palace. Basically this is like the US Capitol, but of Mexico. Visitors are free to roam the courtyards and visit the famous Diego Rivera murals. Also: there are so many cats. It's a much more interesting visit than you might think.
Check out the lean on this building, a great example of sinking into the lake beneath the city. Passing by the Zocalo on our way to our next stop it was filling up a little more.
Next Stop: Templo Mayor, the Aztec temple they bumped into while building the Zocalo subway stop. Along with the ruins themselves, there is a museum containing an exhaustive collection of things they found in the temple site, including very goofy looking human sacrifice knives and lots of complete animal skeletons.
After Templo Mayor, we made our way away from the Zocalo as lunch was beginning to happen. We weren't on our way to have lunch, though, we were still too full from that breakfast.
We would find out that this dog was not there to make friends.
We strolled down Calle Republica de Cuba, which some claim is the birthplace of the Torta Cubana.
And then we wound up in the Quinceñera District, where they discourage taking photographs of their wares.
Next Stop: the Metropolitan Cathedral!
through el Centro again...
Next Stop: the Palacio de Correo, which I had once visited on my mission with a companion who needed to send a package home. It's a beauty. It'll make you wish you had a package to send home.
Next, a little walk through Alameda park before a little exploring of the Palacio de Bellas Artes
From there we began walking back to the hotel down Lazaro Cardenas (a street) which always seems to be crushingly crowded and hectic. After a long morning into early afternoon of city walking, being out was beginning to be exhausting. We dipped into "...Fan!!! Center!!", which I had observed from El Moro the night before and become curious about. It turned out to be a six story tall collection of independently run kiosks selling comic books, movies, video games, Japanese treats, etc etc etc just everything nerdy. It was immediately overwhelming and beyond my abilities. And in a collection of so many interesting things, everything just seemed to cancel everything out. One single Fan Center kiosk is probably more interesting than the Fan Center collection on a whole. Or, I don't know, plan two days to look at all of it and tell me what you find. Still, it's very cool that Mexico City can sustain such a bustling market of geekdom. You won't find anything like this in the US. It was very Tokyo.
Fighting our way through the crowds back to the hotel, we dipped into another Pasteleria Ideal and I explored the second floor cake showrooms. Here's just a sampling of what I saw. Imagine this for room after room.
Then, finally, we were back at the hotel. After a bit of a rest, we Uber'd over to the Vasconcelos library, which we had seen on YouTube the night before our trip. It is a tremendously impressive place and was very busily being put to use. Not just a showcase wild fancy modern library with great views and a whale skeleton.
As the library closed I just could NOT get any reception for an Uber, so we walked back to the city center. It wasn't so far.
I had an address for a taco place that sounded good written down, but when we got to it I thought "There is no way I'm making my mother go into there" and we walked back up the street and into a restaurant we had passed on the way down that looked civilized. Although the name of the restaurant was nowhere on the building or the menu or the receipt, I was able to figure out where we were on google maps and it turns out it was a well-regarded restaurant called Bosforo. Lucky accident! It was very dark, it was very hard to see and cut my food. But it was still good. I had rabbit in peanut mole and we shared a few other things.
Then we walked back to the hotel, passing some additional tempting eateries and Mexico City's Chinatown, or approximation thereof.
Day Three was a good but tiring day where the final acts were a little underplanned, and that's ok, but Day Four had a good plan. You'll see.