As you read this, I am boarding a flight from Mexico City to New York City. I have been here for a week with my partner and our 15-year-old grandson. Two years ago, we planned to take the same trip in mid-March 2020. It was our gift for his bar mitzvah. But the week we were supposed to fly to Mexico City, COVID shut down everything, including our flight and hotel.

We stayed in a centrally located hotel, from which we could walk to several museums. Our first day we went to the National Anthropolical Museum, where we learned about the Mayans, the Olmec, and the Aztecs. We saw numerous examples of their art, which was breathtaking.

Over the course of the week, we visited Frida Kahlo’s house, Diego Rivera’s home and studio, saw the breathtaking Rivera murals on the walls of the National Secretariat of Education. Because of my interest in history, I was especially eager to visit the home of Leon Trotsky, where he was brutally assassinated by a Stalin secret agent. Trotsky was always on the run because Stalin wanted him dead. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo had offered Trotsky refuge, but after his death, gave their allegiance to Stalin.

We toured the home of the great Mexican architect Luis Barrigan. I think my favorite place was the National Museum of Belles Artes, which displays magnificent murals in an elegant Art Moderne space. The building itself is a work of art.

And we visited much much more. Every night we had wonderful meals.

One interesting fact: Mexico City has a strict mask mandate. Most people wear masks outside as well as indoors. When you enter any public space, a guard checks your temperature (your head or neck or wrist).

I leave with a sense of the deep and abiding cultural pride of the Mexican people. They are connected to their past. They have a beautiful culture. The parks are magnificent and carefully tended. The public places are stunning. My grandson had the best bar mitzvah gift ever. An unforgettable experience.