Brunch at the most beautiful hotel in Mexico City followed by a day full of culture, Diego Rivera, Picasso and a traditional folk ballet.
Just before we left for CDMX Josie sent me a number of photos of excerpts from the guidebooks she had been reading. Among them was the Hotel de la Ciudad de Mexico. Apparently there was a restaurant terrace on the 5th floor overlooking the square, Cathedral and Palace. It turned out they did a Sunday brunch which was apparently world renowned. It was not terribly far from our hotel so we took an early morning stroll so that we were there at 9am when the terrace opened.
Walking into the lobby we were in awe. With its beautiful glass room and amazing chandelier this clearly was the place to be in Mexico City. We had to do with the lift as the stairs were reserved for hotel guests but once on the 4th floor we saw all the ornate details of the lift shaft and beautiful hallways overlooking the hotel reception and lobby. Given we were early we got a beautiful seat by the window.
The buffet was absolutely full on. From all the breakfast items you can imagine right through to lunch choices. Josie, Julia and I were in our element. The plan was to eat as much as possible and forgo anything else until that evening when we were off to see the folk ballet. We spent a wonderful hour or two over brunch taking in not only the food but the atmosphere.
TOP TIP. If you want the best table in the restaurant than I suggest you get to the Hotel before 9am when the terrace opens. It is well worth getting up early for.
After a little walk round the square and a short visit to see if we could get into the National Palace as Josie had heard they had a lovely garden alongside the murals she and Julia wanted to see. It turned out to get in we needed a passport and they were back at the hotel. We stopped and watched the dancers for a while and then started our walk towards our next destination – Palacio de Bellas Artes where Julia had noticed there was an exhibition of Diego Rivera and Picasso’s work.
BE AWARE: To get into the National Palace ONLY one of you has to hand over photographic id. So if you are in a group don’t worry about all of you taking your passports with you.
We popped into the Palacio de Bellas, had a drink, found out about the tickets and then walked through the beautiful “Parque Alameda Central” with it’s many Timoteo sculptures by Rodrigo de la Sierra. At first I thought they were comedic, then serious and yet now I go to his website and read that he states “Life is too serious to take us so seriously.” I tend to think I was right the first time round.
FOOD & DRINK. Given we had stuffed ourselves at breakfast we had a late lunch at a vegetarian restaurant Julia had identified. Los Vegetarianos was a small, informal space that served typical Mexican dishes. The portions are large so be mindful of over-indulging. The value for money amazing. Strongly recommend if you are on a budget or a vegetarian looking for a wider selection of choices on the menu.
On the other side of the park is where the Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda park mural is housed and it was one of Julia’s top 5 must sees. It was huge and bright and we spent a few minutes trying to spot the characters like Khalo (bottom left) and Rivera himself (the child in front of Khalo). I simply loved the bandstand in the background and we later found out that bandstands were brought about by one of the former Mexican leaders.
Returning to the Palacio de Bellas although free to enter the queue was all the way out the doors to get into the exhibition. Once in then the queue inside was also pretty spectacular and there was no way of avoiding it. I’m not particularly into art nor do I enjoy hours in galleries so once in I whisked myself on through taking a few shots of the work and then queued for the ladies, of which there where TWO!!!!!! Julia and Josie, being the lovers or all things cultural, took their time meandering through the exhibition whilst I sat and waited. There were a few pieces that caught my eye, largely because they were colourful, or just plain weird!
That evening we returned to the Palacio de Bellas to go and see the Folk Ballet. I was dreading it, I fall asleep in theatres and it had been a very long day and to be fair I’d had my fill of cultural stuff for today. Rather surprisingly I managed to stay awake and unlike traditional ballets this was loud and vibrant. It was a lovely evening out. The walk back in the barmy evening was also lovely.
Josie’s scrap book page for today, the streamers where thrown into the audience at the end of the ballet and we managed to amass quite a bit.