Mexico has long held a really special little place in my heart.
Many, many (please don’t make me say how many) years ago, I ventured there and spent a few weeks exploring DF and beyond, and I fell head over heels in love with the people, the culture, the food, and the vibrancy of the country.
Heading back to Mexico more than a few years later revealed a place which has evolved and changed a hell of a lot. And you know what? I had too.
Back then I stayed in a (let’s face it, pretty filthy) hostel right near the Zócalo which had all the comforts of a prison cell. I was younger, walked a little more on the edge (probably with my feet dangling off at some point), and lived on a pittance each day – and I was completely, blissfully happy discovering the city together with a good friend. We went to a Lucha Libre match, ventured over to Xochimilco and Frida Kahlo’s house in Coyoacán, and took long bus rides to Michoacán and Isla Janitzio to observe the Day of the Dead celebrations.
Now, at the tender age of thirty-something, I was returning to Mexico City with a bunch of like-minded creatives, all eager to explore the food and culture of the city, to meet our creative counterparts, and to soak up all we could as we ran around the city for four glorious days.
Bringing together photographers, furniture & apparel designers, videographers, journalists and art directors together under a banner of connection, exploration and understanding is a pretty amazing thing. And the wonderful people at Richer Poorer did an fantastic job gathering together a diverse group of people who quickly became great friends. Their belief in the Honest Hustle and the idea that we all working hard to make our passions a reality resonated deeply within all of us – so in the spirit of getting on with things, we got down to business!
With the short time we had together, we set out to explore the city with the aid of the amazing Katalina from El Camino Travel (a business – and businesswoman – I have admired from afar for a really long time). Kata’s a smart lady. She knows that no one person could possibly know everything about, or plan a tour around, a destination – so she works with locals to create travel experiences which are authentic, vibrant & unique, taking you quickly to the heart of a culture as you get to know real people who live, love and create in the places you are visiting.
Thanks to her, we connected with the amazing organisers of the Ambulante Film Festival, made an incredibly delicious tour of Mexico City’s best street food with Club Tengo Hambre, talked at length on combining high fashion with local crafts (and craftspeople) with one of the top brass at fashion designer Carla Fernandez, and partook of helluva lot of amazing food and drink with the folks from Hidden Kitchen, CoolHunterMX, La Fiera Mezcal and the award-winning Fonda Fina.
Not bad for four days, huh? We even managed to get in a swim or two in that amazing hotel pool.
So, here we go! A visual roundup of some favourite sights, colours, shapes and tastes that made this trip to Mexico one for the books. Can we go back now you guys?
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DISCOVERING THE WORLD OF LUIS BARRAGAN
Including Casa Prieto, Casa Gilardi and his own home, Casa Luis Barragán. I admit to being completely ignorant of the work of Barragán prior to this trip, and boy do I regret that. The man was an architectural genius whose thought process and attention to detail is something that really struck a chord with me. The way doorways and corners merged with light as it streams through a (perfectly angled) window. The Jacaranda tree which Casa Gilardi was designed and built around. His fascination with colour and line and the creation of spaces that quite literally take your breath away. You can now consider me a Barragán fanatic…
FOOD TOURING AROUND MEXICO CITY
Or, as I like to call it: “Who ate all the tacos? WE ATE ALL THE TACOS!”
Kata’s sage advice to pace ourselves fell on excitedly deaf ears as we power-ate our way around some of the city’s best street food. Like all good kids, we should have listened to what the wise adult said – by the end we were stuffed full of tacos and flautas and special green sausages and black mushrooms and fresh juices and oh maybe a few edible insects (scorpions!) too…
GETTING IMMERSED IN ART
At the Soumaya and Fundación Jumex. The Soumaya is one of those soaring edifices that intrigues. In a form that defies an actual description (the closest I could come to was an Olympic torch?), it makes you want to slide down its shiny exterior and find where the hell the door is so you can take a look at what is inside. Futuristic, though lacking in any kind of natural light whatsoever, it’s an interesting place to stop in and take a break from the summer heat.
Just across the way the Jumex is another massive building worthy of exploration. More traditionally flooded with natural light and high ceilings, it’s a beautiful spot which I wish I had explored a little more. But the stories of the fashion house of Carla Fernandez and her work with traditional craftspeople in the creation of her fashion had us all spellbound…
NEVER NOT EXPLORING
During the scheduled rest breaks, it probably would have been wise to chill out and take it easy. But with just a few days in the city, we ended up chasing after the things which interested us most… searching out colour in the city, swimming in the pool, or you know, finding more street food…
The end of this travel story is a simple one – like all good adventures, I’m always left wanting more. To return and experience more of this incredible country, to see all the nooks and crannies, to try more local food, speak with more local people, and see more of the incredible scenery.
So, who’s coming with me?
Disclaimer: I was invited to Mexico as a guest of Richer Poorer. All views (as always) are 100% my own, and totally from the heart. This blog post was not requested by anybody – I just believe in sharing when I have an excellent travel experience 🙂