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Day 336-338, 12-14 June. An impression of beautiful Puebla.

September 18, 2009 by , 2,630 views 
Filed under Central Mexico, Mexico, North America, Trip reports

Street scene in PueblaIt was less than 10km from Cholula to and the are basically connected. With 1.5 million people the city is huge (3rd largest of the country), but the historic centre has remained largely intact and is very attractive.

We had been invited by CouchSurfing host Hiram and his family, who own and run a very popular Mexican restaurant together. Still he had time to do a quick city tour with us and gave us a lot of tips of where to go while he was at work.

Gilded ceilings in Puebla churchOne impressive place he pointed out is the fully gilded Rosary Chapel of the Templo de Santo Domingo, which is so shiny, you almost need sunglasses.

Puebla churchThe zocalo or main square is the courtyard of the huge Cathedral, with ’s highest towers. Rich people see it regularly as it appears on the 500 pesos note (about USD$ 40, more value than most Mexicans see in one bank note).

But maybe the best part of Puebla is just strolling around the centre, through colourful streets lined with colonial houses, with patios and balconies.

Tourists and locals are enjoying themselves everywhere on the terraces and restaurants and in the many shops lining the streets.

Puebla streetIvana in PueblaHaving fun at the Puebla fairChillin' in Puebla

Fiesta

Puebla has always been a Catholic stronghold and this has resulted in many religious celebrations, many of which have the benefit that a lively street market will take place, just a few blocks away from the zocalo.

We enjoyed the different foods for sale, the fair rides for kids, the artesanias, the music and the general positive atmosphere. Had I said before that everybody should visit Mexico? Just in case I’ll do it now: do not let biased political media scare you away from a wealth of culture, nature, gastronomy and friendliness, visit Mexico.

There, I said it.

Now, I invite you to take a look at some impressions of the market and the city. (Click for a larger version, these and more photos of Puebla are also in the photo section here).

Puebla fair and fountainChalupas at Puebla streetmarketIvana in Puebla (2)Chocolate milk in PueblaMole at street market, Puebla

Puebla comedorMini muertesLocal art, PueblaClassic dolls, Puebla Chalupas at Puebla streetmarket (3)Corn special, Puebla

Mexican treats in El Balcon

We arrived back late at ‘El Balcon’, the restaurant of Hiram’s family. Late at night it was still completely packed and several people were waiting outside. No, it is not (yet) in the Lonely Planet as it is (just) 7 blocks away from the centre, but the locals clearly know where to go. Even when they changed locations a while ago, the clients followed for the clear and honest .

Us in El Balcon, PueblaMenu of El Balcon, Puebla

Itza from PueblaHiram also took us up the Cerro de Guadeloupe, which is not only the place where the French were defeated on 5th may 1862 (hence all the street names all over Mexico named 5 de Mayo), but on clear days you can also see the silhouette of Izta, the mountain known as the sleeping woman.

He introduced us to his friend and fellow CouchSurfer Leandro. We did not have time to visit his place, but had some good discussions about life and saw some more hidden gems of the city together.

Hiram’s parents were worried about our trip and hugged us close and shed some tears when praying for our safe journey. We are not religious ourselves, but the care and love of people that were strangers 3 days before keeps on surprising and warming us. So maybe the prayers do help as we will take care, so we can meet more great people like them and maybe one day return the favour.

Back on the road again..

Fortunately we found the way around the steep hill when we left Puebla, sooner than we would have liked. If we’d hurry, we would maybe have time for one more activity before we really had to get to Cancun.

Our mums were already getting very worried that there would be nobody to pick them up when arriving in 2 weeks. But before we would leave the Mexican highlands to get back down to sea-level, there was one place far from it that I wanted to visit…

More soon :)

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