I started up Spanish classes again! I enrolled at Frida Spanish School in Colonia Roma and my first impression was mixed. The classrooms were very separated and my class in particular was large. Going from 4 students in my class at my last school to 12 here was a big difference. The teacher was actually really great though and a couple people switch to different levels after the first day so it was a bit smaller throughout the week. And I met some amazing people who I ended up spending every afternoon with after class. We developed a routine of getting juice at this little cart and then tacos at another cart across the street during our lunch break. Then after classes we would always go get some coffee at the different cafes all around and just spend an hour…or more like two or three….talking and people watching. I was nervous my first day at the school that I wouldn’t find a friend because everyone was considerably older than me, but Vanessa-an anesthesiologist from Perth, Ulf-a designer from Germany, and Jon-a virtual nomad from the US, ended up being great buddies who I was so happy to keep hanging out with and getting to know.
Some afternoon adventures the second week I was in CDMX included churros and hot chocolate after being the ultimate tourists and finding the house that they filmed Roma at. Note to travelers, Chocolate Espana at El Morro cafe is THICKKKKKK. Chocolate Mexicano is the way to go. Another day involved happening upon a brewery with a hanging piano in the middle of the building. It was kind of hilarious because we ordered flights which included 4 choices….. they only had 3 options for us to choose from. Two of the beers weren’t actually hooked up! Maybe it was because we were there at 4 in the afternoon? Haha Anyways, Vanessa, Ulf, and I ended up sitting there for 2 hours (and this was after we had gotten drinks at a cafe together) and it was great bonding time. Vanessa is a anesthesiologist from Perth who goes on at least one epic trip per year and Ulf is a freelance designer from Berlin who’s wife is from CDMX so they are in Mexico for the month before heading back to Europe. During our talks, the “why” and “where” I’m traveling came up and I now have a place to crash in Berlin when I get there! Both of them are in their thirties and it was so great getting advice from them and hearing how, in certain aspects, we had similar experiences in life. It was also very refreshing to meet a fellow solo female traveler who was not also a retiree. Vanessa had an epic three month travel that started off with an expedition to Antarctica and after leaving Ciudad de Mexico, she was traveling all over Mexico. I was inspired.
On Friday, Ulf, Vanessa and I went to a cafe and then ended up going straight to downtown and caught part of the march happening for International Day of the Woman. It was awesome to be there for the march. So many women were there and of course the signs and chants were fire! I think any march like that is powerful and this was no exception. We went to the bar in the Latinoamericana building that overlooked the city and it was quite the view. Just be forewarned that it is a tourist spot and they will charge you double or triple what you actually owe, so pay extra attention when you get your bill and they run your card. A $310 peso bill ended up being $760 because they were being sketchy and we were in a hurry that I didn’t catch the switch until it posted on my credit card account.
We ended up meeting a solo traveler at the bar. His name was Christian and he was originally from Australia but living in Greece and we made plans to go out the following night because we both wanted to visit Patrick Miller, a night club with a cheap cover, cheap beer, and fun 90’s music. Well we discovered at about 5pm that Patrick Miller is only open in Friday’s….and it was Saturday. So we adjusted to meeting up at a Pulqueria Bar nearby.
Before going out on Saturday night though, my Saturday morning was super exciting! I woke up at 5am to get on a bus at 6:15am to go to Teotehuacan – an archeological ruins site about an hour outside CDMX. I went with Vanessa from my language classes and I am so happy we were insistent on finding a tour that left early in the morning. It was so hot by like 8am but we were able to beat the crowd, the extreme heat, and our tour guide was great! The stairs up to the top of the sun pyramid were intense! My legs were on fire and holy shit did I feel out of shape. But we made it, and it only took about 15 minutes (but it was steep y’all) and it was amazing being at the top and looking over the valley below with all the other ceremonial buildings and the moon pyramid in the distance. I found this out later, but apparently there is a stone at the very top center (there was this mound at the top that you had to climb up – no stairs or rope and there were a ton of people all over it so I didn’t go up) and you’re supposed to touch it to absorb the energy given off by the pyramid. It’s just one of those things that would have been cool to do especially since I was basically right there but I guess it’s a local thing because the guides didn’t mention it to us. It was a local who told me after the fact. Teotehuacan is just one of so many incredible ruins throughout Mexico and I am determined to visit as many as possible.
Jumping back into modern day activities, going out that night was a night to remember. I went to dinner at a place called Volver. They had vegetarian burgers that I wanted to try and so I went there to eat before meeting up with Christian at the pulqueria . Well to my surprise, I started chatting up a guy named Josue sitting near me and we hit it off. I invited him to the pulqueria and he, Christian, and I had a super fun night of beer, conversation, and then dancing until who knows what hour. It was so much fun! We started off at Pulqueria Los Insurgentes, then moved on to Phoenix and Pata Negra for dancing. And while it wasn’t my first time going out dancing in CDMX, it was a night where I didn’t have to be on guard and deflect unwanted advances! Hahaha I felt so carefree and the music was all the spanish songs I love along with the English pop songs that I was into. It just felt like a perfect night.
The next day I took a rest day I went to Xochimilco with Vanessa and the friend that she was staying with. Xochimilco is a network of canals in the south of CDMX. You rent a boat and the driver takes you to your selected destination by pushing the boat along with a long stick. Smaller vendor boats constantly pass you by so if the snacks that you brought aren’t enough, then you can buy elotes, esquite, micheladas. You can even buy a mariachi performance. It was a very nice boat ride and a very welcomed day relaxing after the pyramids and dancing the day before. We took the tour to Isla de las Muñecas, a place that a man had strung up dolls to calm the spirit of a tourist that had drowned in that spot of the canals. It was super interesting and super creepy. Immediately after getting off the boat, I just felt weird. It was a place that had a lot of history and was surrounded by stories of spirits and I’m not gonna lie, I could feel something.
Later on in the day I went back to El Moro Cafe with a friend to get churros. My whole mentality in Ciudad de Mexico was “I’m in Mexico, let’s do it!” And there was no exception when it came to food.
The next week was more class and coffee shop adventures but I also had afternoon/evening adventures with Josue. One day, we visited Chapultepec which is a massive urban park in CDMX and there is a castle there…like a legit castle. It was beautiful! And there’s a lake there. I had a field day with my camera. Another day we went to El Centro Historico and walked around and spent time at Parque Alameda Central, saw Bella’s Artes and the post office.
On my last day of Spanish class, my class took a trip to the university and visited the art museum there. Afterwards we went to Casa de Toño, a local chain that is known for good food that’s cheap and fast. I wish I had known about it sooner. It was so good and so simple and I went again before I left because I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
My last weekend in Ciudad de Mexico wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped because my right knee was killing me. Like pain when I walked and kinda swollen….basically I was walking too much, had worn out the cushion on my sneakers and the streets/sidewalks in CDMX are hard. I had tendinitis that I didn’t help by cracking my knee. But as a last hurrah, I visited Museo Nacional de Anthropología and Museo Soumaya my last two days. Museo Nacional de Anthropología is huge and I was only able to get through a little less than half of it before I was too hungry that we had to leave. But it is 100% something I want to finish one day.
When it came time for me to leave…..I did not want to. I was having such a great time and there were so many things that I had just discovered or wanted to do again. I was saying goodbye to a lot of people who I really bonded with. I was saying goodbye to food places that I had dubbed favorites. I was saying goodbye to the hectic and crazy city that was so much fun to be in every single day. I fell in love and I was not ready to say goodbye.
I had a flight so obviously I did leave but this was just my first trip of what I feel will be many in CDMX…..I said that about Guadalajara too didn’t I? Well I guess I’m moving to Mexico!