Monday, May 30, 2016

Puebla...or Oaxaca?

I knew that I wanted to spend a couple of days exploring another part of Mexico but I was having trouble trying to decide on the next city to explore. After considering many factors, my final decision was Puebla Mexico and all I can say is WOW.

Unfortunately work has been busy so there wasn't much time to plan my trip and with only two and a half days to spend sightseeing, I needed to be prepared. Before my flight I sifted through multiple travel blogs and sites gathering up as much information as possible, printing off some material so that I could read and study some things on the flight. Thankfully I'd managed to make a hotel reservation so at least I had a room once I arrived. 
My hotel was a gem. It was nearly 10 p.m. by the time I finally got to the hotel but the front desk was waiting for me with a brochure and a map of the city that listed every major museum, park, church, art district or historic site. It didn't matter that my notes were spotty and I was unprepared. The hotel's brochure made my trip planning simple. Thank you Hotel Colonial de Puebla!

Did you know that Puebla is one of the 5 great colonial Mexican cities? The city was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 and it is easy to see why just walking around the city. The city is famous for it chilies en nogado (my favorite), mole poblano (my second favorite) and Talavera pottery but I'll save the food and art for another post. In this city you will see examples of art/architecture from the Renaissance period as well as one of the finest examples from the Baroque period to be found in all of Mexico. One of my favorite places was the Biblioteca Palafoxian, a public library that was founded in 1646. The library contains roughly 42,000 texts, the oldest of which dates back to 1473. 

And just in case Puebla couldn't keep your attention, the city of Cholula is just a 15 minute cab ride away. This area has been inhabited for more than 3,000 years and is home to a pyramid that is over 2,000 years old with a base that is larger than any pyramid in the world. 

Traveling to Puebla was also interesting because I traveled alone. I don't speak Spanish, I'm often directionally challenged and I was a little nervous about managing things on my own but there was no need to worry. People were so nice and friendly. Instead of talking with a travel partner I was forced to spend a lot of time listening and people-watching. Twice while walking the streets I overheard English and once was especially interesting. I overheard a man say, "If I didn't know better I would think I was in Europe!" After hearing his comment I stopped to agree with him and learned that he is a professor from a California university who was visiting the city to map a student trip for the next semester (those lucky students)!
My next few posts will focus on a few of the highlights of this trip and believe me, it is going to be hard deciding where to start. 

Where are you planning to visit this summer?