Colonia Hipódromo, La Condesa

Our home away from home in Ciudad de México is the gorgeously leafy and oh so cool La Condesa, a rather large well-to-do fashionable barrio in the city that consists of three neighbourhoods: Colonia Condesa, Colonia Hipódromo and Colonia Hipódromo Condesa (our immediate hood). 

It has wide tree-lined avenues with shady central garden walkways, the streets filled with restaurants, cafés, trendy boutiques and galleries. Apartment buildings are mostly low-rise, many of them dating back to the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s – with hanging gardens and bright pastel-coloured façades. 

One of the most fascinating and, I have to say, most beautiful parts of La Condesa, has to be the Hipódromo, a former racetrack that was in operation until 1920 before the area was slowly developed into a residential area. Eventually, the racetrack itself was turned into a park forming Avenida Amsterdam, a beautiful tree-lined avenue in the form of a complete ellipse, precisely the shape of the old racetrack, with the gorgeously communal Parque México in the centre.

Amsterdam is lined with a wonderful assortment of Art Deco apartments, modernist glass cubes, Spanish Mission and Neo-Classical edifices – with more  restaurants, cafes, bars and boutiques at their base all enjoying the cool shade of parkland trees.

Running down the middle of Amsterdam are jungled shaded walkways or ‘camellones’ which  follow the curve of the Hipódromo all the way around, featuring gorgeous blue and white tiled benches, lush garden beds of Palms, Cycads and Monstera deliciosa and the occasional tinkling fountain. 

I can’t think of another more charming and more beautiful walkway – for morning or evening stroll – than Avenida Amsterdam.

Being Sunday in Parque México, we learnt it was ‘Adopt A Pet Day’, amongst a million other activities going on around us. We’re not sure whether this was charity run or whether it was an opportune time to divest a pet in a rather civilised and humane way, but there were literally hundreds of people with dogs and cats they either no longer wanted or could no longer afford. Sadly, outside a nearby supermercardo, we came across a little cutie looking rather forlorn and, I hate to say, abandoned. He had a hand-written sign slung around his neck simply saying ‘ADOPTAME’ (Adopt Me). 

La Condesa gets its name from the eccentric Countess of Miravalle, Doña María Magdalena Dávalos de Bracamontesy Orozco, a descendent of counts who came from Spain during the Viceroyalty, who once lived in the Hacienda de la Condesa in the 18th Century, on land which included the modern-day barrios of Condesa, Hipódromo, Tacubaya and Roma. It’s said that she was beautiful and always managed to get the man she wanted, but then others say that she was ugly… However,  she is said to have held wild parties with the royalty of Mexico that would last for days on end. Sadly, she was the owner of many slaves and was reported to be a monstrously cruel, ambitious and calculating woman. She died in 1777, poisoned by her lover, a friar. She was embalmed and her remains exhibited for 150 years in the cathedral of Tuxpan in Veracruz. 

I was just reading that the Russian Embassy in Mexico, hidden from public view behind an impenetrably high wall, is housed in a legendary mansion dating from 1911, that was built on the remnants of the original Hacienda de la Condesa. So there you go. 

Aerial photograph by Santiago Arau 

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Bevanlee says:

    How fabulously beautiful. I want to rush across there and adopt that gorgeous dog. Marvellous to see you settling in 🌈🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re loving our Sky Nest in La Condesa! Can’t believe we haven’t even been away a week, seems like ages already.

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      1. Bevanlee says:

        Sky Nest makes you sound like a couple of eagles

        Like

    2. Bevanlee says:

      This app is working like a charm now. I was just alerted to your Like. 👏

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  2. Guy says:

    All looks tremendous. The very last photo confused me though. I thought someone had created a marvellous miniature model of Mexico City, in the park, in front of the fountain. Took a while to realise they were two photos!

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  3. Phillip says:

    Sky Nest sounds gorgeous. Much better than Skyfall. Although perhaps if Adele came to visit she might come up with an appropriate ditty.

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    1. Lovely hearing from you! Yes, Sky Nest is rather gorgeous, set 6 floors up in Condesa, our fav barrio in CDMX. Have you been here? You’d love it. X

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      1. Phillip Luff says:

        I haven’t been there and it’s definitely high on my list. Mexican food is my favourite of all so the mere mention of it makes me drool like one of Pavlov’s dogs!

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      2. You’d love it here. The food, culture, architecture, astonishing history, sublime weather…it’s got it all. Mex City is vast but I’d recommend staying in the oh so cool Condesa area. We head south soon, continuing our journey, ending up in the Yucatan for a couple of months.
        Let us know if you do plan on coming as can offer tips and recommendations. X

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