Mexico City: The Condesa
Thursday morning we woke up early, had breakfast on the patio, and set out to stroll. Our planned route was about six miles long and took us through the Condesa neighborhood and then to the Zócalo in the historic center of town.
Like all large cities, Mexico City has a matrix of large through streets that are filled with cars honking and pumping toxic amounts of exhaust into the air. I prefer to avoid these streets when walking as much as possible and Nik is drawn to them. They often provide the most direct route between A and B, but the smaller side streets filled with smaller cars, smaller shops and smaller homes are more appealing to me even if it does add a mile to the route. So, our day was filled with a balance of the two.
The Condesa is a neighborhood west of Insurgentes Avenue and south of Avenida Chapultepec. It was first developed as the home to the city’s elite in the 1930s and 1940s, but declined to a state of abandon after the 1985 earthquake. In the past fifteen years, the area has become popular again as the city’s creatives have flocked to the old buildings. They have also infilled any empty lots with modern minimalist architecture creating street scapes that span the century. The small one way streets are lined with trees and are often boulevards with parks filled with benches and walking paths running through the middle.
A surprising number of small parks dot every neighborhood we have wandered through. They range from a single lot with grass and a few benches to the central section of a roundabout surrounding a large monument to intricately landscaped parks with water features that span multiple city blocks. The crowd at each is also distinctly different. Upon entering Mexico Park, it seemed like everyone we passed was walking their pup. Then we turned down a path towards the center and found over thirty dogs of every breed and size lying down in a row on a long plastic sheet facing a large open space. Each dog had a leach stretched out in front of their front paws, and I expected to see their owners beside them. Instead there was one man in the center playing fetch with a doberman pincher, one teenager incrementally sweeping the plastic mat by moving two or three dogs at a time, and one more man tending to the troubled dogs that had to be tied to a pole or tree. We stood and watched the doggie daycare for fifteen or twenty minutes and came to the conclusion that no one would take on the responsibility of so many dogs in a public park in America.
After the dog park, we walked through the streets a bit more, and ultimately found the Nevería Roxy at Tamaulipas 161. It is an old fashioned ice cream parlor that has been in the Condesa for over one hundred years. When we first arrived at 11 o’clock, they weren’t open, so we lingered in the boulevard and watched cars and people go by. They still appeared to be closed at 11:30, but we walked over anyways and found that they were open…they just hadn’t taken the chairs off the tables yet. We took our seat and ordered one scoop of pistachio ice cream and one scoop of mamey sorbet. Both were so delicious, that we had to have more. To the owners amusement, we ordered a banana split with chocolate, rice, and banana ice cream. Heaven!
Now we were off for the longest leg of our journey to the Zócola in the center of town. Nik and I were both tired by this point, but continued anyways. We stopped at a small market to have seafood tacos, passed by the home of the Lucha Libre (freestyle wrestling), Arena Mexico, and walked through the shopping crowds on the pedestrian street, Francisco I. Madero. By the time we made it to the Zócalo, we looked at the Cathedral for about five minutes, and then descended into the Metro station to go home.
For more amazingness, check out Nik’s blog post too: