November 14, 2009


Puebla is a very interesting colonial city with the backdrop of a volcano known locally as Don Gullo. Esperando and I felt we were in Spain or Europe. Hernan Cortez founded Puebla in 1519. The old part where we stayed has been well maintained with paint and tiles. It is notably a city of about 390 Catholic churches, there is practically a church on every corner, some elaborate, some plain, even one with the mummified remains of a potential saint set in a glass case below the altar.

Puebla is a noted artisan center for talavera tiles, most of the old buildings have tiles set into the front of them. Several factories, the most famous Uriarte, have been making talavera pottery there since the 18th century in the form of sinks, plates, cooking utensils, flower pots, you name it.

The first night we were there was November 1, All Saints Day, last day of Dia de los Muertos and the zocalo was mobbed with celebrants including Aztec dancers, men selling balloons, displays of all kinds of larger than life-size puppet skeletons and sculptures, families with kids, everybody was partying big time.

We stayed at La Sacristia de las Jesuitas, which sounds like it ought to be a former monastery, but never was. Instead it was someone’s home until the turn of the century when it was converted into an ‘apartment’ building in which families lived 5 to a room in rooms that were sized about 10’ x 10’. The family lived, ate and slept in that space. The current owners converted it into an antique gallery/hotel of 6 enchanting upstairs rooms and a good restaurant in a covered courtyard below. It is quite colorful and all the furniture and art pieces are for sale.

We were told before we went that Puebla was would be good for a day of exploration; we spent 3 days and felt we had barely seen a lot of it. Are we just getting old and slowing down, or is there more there than meets the eye.

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