Mexico City: dangerous, dirty and drug-filled, right? That's what I'd always assumed, until I started hearing more and more about its major transformation. Even though I knew its reputation wasn't entirely correct, it still wasn't at all what I had expected. I figured it would be in the ilk of other big, sprawling Central American cities that I'd visited: colorful but a bit ugly, lively but poor, a little scary. In fact, D.F. (as the locals call it) felt overwhelmingly European--leafy, beautiful and so freaking chic. It's huge: home to as many people as the whole of Australia, but easily navigated and filled with neighbourhoods (or colonias) that were lovely to walk around in. We stayed in Polanco, a ritzy area, and Condesa, an Art Deco enclave, plus visited the ancient centre, uber-cool Roma and the Aztec pyramids of Teotihuacan, an ancient city about an hour out of the city. I was blown away by it all and wish we had had more than four days to see it all. I can't wait to go back.
Here are some photos and a few of my favourite things from D.F (you can also read my story on the city's design scene in this month's Belle magazine), kicking off with...
History nerds, Indiana Jones fans and architecture lovers - you'd love this part of town. Once the ancient and powerful Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the Spanish conquerors built right on top of temples, streets and squares; what's left is layers of history. Busy and vibrant, it's packed with pretty buildings and sweet people watching.
We wandered around for half a day, eating huitlacoche (corn fungus! Weird but delicious) and cheese tacos from street stalls and eventually jumping on the hop-on-hop-off Turisbus when our feet got tired.
Next up... the chic Art Deco enclave of Condesa. Are you tempted to travel to Mexico City? Or are there other spots south of the border you'd recommend?