We visit the castle on the hill and I only reference the terrible Ed Sheeran song once
As you may remember, we were staying an extra day in Mexico City due to a winter storm that cancelled our flight back to Boston. The real irony being that we were due to go on this trip a month previously, but our flight to Mexico was cancelled due to another snowstorm. We just couldn't catch a break.
To look at things optimistically, we'd been given the gift of time! With our extra day in mexico City, we planned to check out the Chapultepec Castle, which was touted as a stunning building filled with artwork, as it doubled as a museum. Our optimism was short lived though, as before we could do that, we had to deal with airlines again.
I tried to check both myself and Lia in online, but while on the seat selection page received an error message saying there were insufficient seats on the flight. I feared the worst, imagining Kelsey the Delta agent had put us on a flight that was overbooked.
Lia called Delta, and I called Aeromexico, who was running the flight in question. After 45 minutes on the phone with an agent — spelling things out, which is no easy feat when both of you speak English as your first language — I was told there was definitely a seat on the flight for both of us, we just needed to arrive at the airport 3 hours before our flight to receive the seat assignments. Our flight was at 7am.
Fast forward less than 24 hours and we were at the airport, and told to check in at a kiosk by one of the guards. We received another error message. Only then were we allowed to attempt to check in with an actual human, who told me it was an issue with my green card. My stomach momentarily sank, fearing the worst, and that Trump had personally found my Twitter account. Turns out I was just trying to check in with my passport, not my green card. Issue resolved. So we headed to the gate to wait for our flight to JFK, eagerly awaiting our ground transfer to Laguardia...
But back to the last day in Mexico. Lia wasn't feeling very well all day, so we had to take things pretty slowly. We began by hitting up what we later learned was Eater Mexico City's hottest new restaurant, Lardo, for brunch. We'd kind of happened upon it a few days earlier, and snagged a coffee and a croissant as the wait for brunch was extremely long, but on a Tuesday morning, real people have jobs to go to, and the brunch seats are ours!!
We walked across a bridge which spanned some more of Mexico City's well-known traffic, Lia got an ice lolly for several dollars cheaper than it would've been at a hip juicery in Boston, and posed by not one but TWO bits of street art!
While strolling through the park, we saw a man with the best job ever — sitting on a tanker and just watering the grass like he was doing a massive wee — and hiked up the hill to the castle. It was a yomp, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was free admission for students of any school or university, so didn't even have to pay to get into the castle! Result!
It's one of the highest points in the city, so it has an incredible view. But I suppose if you were going to build yourself a royal palace — or write a saccharine pop song — you'd build a castle on a nice hill.
The inside was similarly stunning, if a touch confusingly laid out. We entered through the wrong door for the museum exhibit, so we had to walk all the way back to a door we'd been at ten minutes previously. Quite why we weren't allowed to do the exhibits backwards is beyond me. Although thanks to language barriers, we may not have realised we were moving chronologically backwards through Mexico's history, so maybe it was for the best that we didn't leave thinking they'd lost independence to Spain somewhere along the way. Either way, at least we got to appreciate the Hogwarts-style staircases, stained glass, and grand walkways twice.
However, I think my favourite view of the whole castle was out of a propped open window, in, of all places, the men's bathroom.
I snapped a few pictures of the hall the bathrooms were off of while I waited for Lia, too.
The castle's balcony was a real showstopper though. The floor was pristine checkered marble, and the views were astonishing. You could see right the way down Paseo de la Reforma — think Paris' Avenue de Champs-Elysees — including some of the statues which dot the street.
It felt like a very appropriate way to cap our time off in Mexico. We couldn't have seen the whole city in several months, but from up there, we could see it all in a few moments.
I'm not very good with coming up with endings on the spot, and it's already taken me far too long to upload all of this, so I'll delay no longer. Doing LA and Mexico City back to back was hard. I was exhausted for the first few days of the second trip, sunburnt for the last few, and so very sick of flying by the time we got back. I missed my bed something chronic, and yearned to feel confident in my grasp of the native tongue once again.
But isn't that what travel is partially about? Not only do you experience something magnificent in seeing and absorbing a bit of another place, helping make up the human that you are, but you also gain a new perspective and appreciation for your own life, especially if you're as fortunate and lucky in yours as I am. And I wanted to finally stop my skin peeling.
I wish I could say I came back feeling energised and brimming with creative energy, but mostly I just wanted to sleep.