What happened to week 7??? Bill and Katiti hogged part of it and Roma finished it off. We start off week 8 looking for a new running route. Avenida Amsterdam is a beautiful shaded oval circuit that used to be a horse racing track, thus this area is known as Hipódromo. It is close to home, beautiful, flat and clean but we are getting bored with it. Jim maps out a new route for this first day of week 8 which will take us directly to the midpoint of Chapultepec Park where we can explore some new territory. The first mile is a straight shot down Alfonso Reyes and Gobernador José Maria Tornel which are both shaded. We do have to cross three very busy thoroughfares, but there are crosswalks and lights at all of them. Once in the park we have a few miles of relatively flat and shaded roads and trails to explore.
In 1934, President Lázaro Cárdenas took office but refused to use the Castle of Chapultepec as his official residence as he thought it too ostentatious. He was offered use of Rancho la Hormiga (The Ant Ranch), which he accepted. He changed its name to Los Pinos (The Pines). Los Pinos was home to thirteen of the fourteen presidents in office between 1935 and 2018, with the exception of Adolfo López Mateos (1958–1964). In 2018, Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that he would not live in Los Pinos if he won the election and would instead open the residence to the public. López Obrador, known as AMLO won the election, and Los Pinos was opened to the public on December 1, 2018, the day of López Obrador’s presidential inauguration. López Obrador moved the presidential offices back to the National Palace, and lives in his own house in Mexico City.
We really enjoyed our self guided tour of Los Pinos. Its architecture is described as Neoclassical, French and eclectic. It has wonderful windows, floors and woodwork. Many of the rooms are completely empty but the furniture that is there is quite fitting. This place will be on our recommended list, not necessarily must see though.
After touring Los Pinos we walked home through San Miguel Chapultepec which is a sleepy labyrinth of tree-lined streets, snaking highways, stately homes, and decrepit buildings. It is in the process of gentrification and is probably the next hot neighborhood.As we hadn’t eaten anything yet we stopped at a small cafe which turned out to be vegan and ordered two tamales and hot chocolate which were very tasty. We finished off our breakfast with vegan ice cream, not so good.
When Walter was here we met Tom O’Toole from Boston who has been traveling México for a few weeks exploring the idea of doing what we are doing. He has already traveled extensively, but never alone. He is recently divorced and retired and is considering selling his loft in The Leather District of Boston which would enable his travels. He returned to CDMX from Vera Cruz and stayed with us for a few days and introduced us to a few more of his friends who happen to be here. Saturday night March 2 we met Noel Reid who is on his first foray into travel and seems to be adapting well and really enjoying México. The four of us went to dinner at a nearby French restaurant Rojo Bistro which is just a simple place with not even a website but the food was fantastic. Noel liked us so much that he suggested another dinner so that we could meet his friends, Tom Stearns and Bill Docker from Provincetown on Cape Cod Massachusetts. Tom and Bill, like us, travel extensively and have even built and owned a home in Brazil for a while. We really bonded and related to all of these new friends. We had a great meal together at Cedrón which is classified as a Traditional Brasserie. We shared appetizers of tacos, foie gras, lentil soup and salmon. The foie gras was the best. All of our meals were outstanding, the second French meal we have had here that was as good, if not better, than in France. This is not a cheap restaurant but Tom O’Toole was treating us, so thanks Tom.
Tom’s last night with us we grilled veggies and a 5$ steak on our terrace while enjoying a thunderstorm with wind, rain and rainbows. The steak was not bad, flavorful, no gristle but not juicy or thick.
Tom’s last day here he took us to the Condesa Tuesday market which is a medium sized street market selling an assortment of produce, meats, poultry, fish, kitchenware, Mexican handcrafts and prepared food. The markets are so colorful and most of the produce and other food looks soooo good.
Jim found a new and intriguing museum for us to walk to 6.2K away. The walk started well going through Chapultepec Park but then we followed Google maps shortest route advise rather than Jim’s intuition and it degenerated into a shadeless walk along, over and under multiple major highways.
We finally reached a bike and walking path which led us into Polanco which is the fanciest and most upscale neighborhood of the city. Unfortunately there was still no shade so we summoned an Uber and sat in traffic for the last leg of the trip.
We finally arrived at Museo Soumaya which was built by Carlos Slim and dedicated to his late wife Soumaya Domit Gemayal who died in 1999. The museum holds his personal collection of over 66,000 works from 30 centuries of art including sculptures from Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica, 19th- and 20th-century Mexican art and an extensive repertoire of works by European old masters and masters of modern western art such as Auguste Rodin, Salvador Dalí, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and Tintoretto. The building itself was designed by his son-in-law Fernando Romero, an award winning Mexican architect. Some of the engineering of the building was done by the architect Frank Gehry.
We really enjoyed this museum and would like to go back for another visit with some of our house guests. Highly recommended.
We booked an early lunch at 1:45 at the Cipriani Masaryk which is a part of the very expensive Cipriani chain which started with the world famous Harry’s Bar in Florence and has now become a worldwide enterprise. 1:30-2:00 is when most restaurants open for lunch and 3:00-4:00 seems to be the peak of the lunchtime crowds. It was very quiet with a lot of staff just standing around when we arrived and by 3:00 the place was buzzing with all of the staff scurrying around. We had veal piccata and tagliatelle with a lamb bolognese sauce which we shared. The pasta was better than anything that we had in Italy and the veal was equally scrumptious, all at affordable prices. After lunch we walked a bit through Polanco being amazed at the high end restaurants, luxury shopping, beautiful homes and exotic auto dealerships.
We have gotten in three 5K runs in Chapultepec park this week, had a lot of really good food, explored two new tourist sites and met a few new friends that we will probably continue to run into around the world in the coming years. What more could we ask for. We are here for just one more month and have one day in that month without houseguests. It should continue to be memorable.