Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Puebla in 24 Hours

With plenty of time to play in the capital, we decided to drive to the old colonial city of Puebla, just an hour away from Mexico City.

puebla header

After arriving back in Mexico City and realising we had more than a week until we were due to fly home we decided to drive to Puebla and do some sightseeing. Only an hour from the capital, it was the perfect overnight destination.

Compared to Mexico City, Puebla is a small city. Flipping through a guidebook before we left, I learnt Puebla holds many impressive titles, such as being the birthplace of Cinco de Mayo, the only place in the world where Talavera ceramics are made, the birthplace of Mexican gastronomy, is home to the largest volcano in Mexico and the smallest volcano in the world, and on top of all that, the entire city is a World Heritage Site. Knowing all this made me very excited to visit, even if for just a short time.

HOW CAN YOU MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN A CITY WHERE YOU WILL SPEND ONLY A LITTLE TIME?

Armed with a handful of maps from our hotel and a list of Tripadvisors top things to do in Puebla, we headed to the main square hoping to cross off the main things to see on our personal sightseeing itinerary. And then we spotted a tour bus sitting on one of the corners of the main square. Awesome. Tour buses are the best way to see a lot in the smallest time possible. We hopped on and let the professionals guide us around this picturesque city.

puebla park

Pictured above is the main square aka Zocalo right at the corner we caught the bus. With lush greenery surrounded by cafes and churches, vendors and street entertainers, there's a lot happening here. Not too crowded, its a pleasant place for relaxing and people watching.

THE WALLS ARE COVERED IN CERAMICS

As the home of Talavera pottery, you will see the ceramics everywhere, even decorating the walls of the buildings of the city. Yellow, red, white and blue, you'll see every colour and pattern on buildings decorated entirely by Talavera ceramics.

puebla wall ceramics

THE WALLS NOT COVERED IN CERAMICS ARE JUST AS BEAUTIFUL

Some cities in Mexico have a bit of a graffiti problem. But this problem is absent in Puebla. Instead, the bus drove us to a square just outside the city centre decorated with beautiful murals.

puebla wall graffiti

SEE AN ACTIVE VOLCANO

The bus took us to the highest point in Puebla, where we were given a first class view of the Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl volcanoes. It's usually best to go first thing in the morning because the sky gets misty during the afternoon, but if you look carefully you can still see the outline of both the volcanoes imposing on the city.

Popocatepetl puebla view

GO ON A GASTRONOMICAL VOYAGE

When Mexicans travel to Puebla, many come here for a culinary tour. Puebla is the birthplace of many dishes unique to Mexico, such as mole poblano, chalupas and chiles en nogada. Puebla even has its very own Candy Street which is lined with candy stalls and shops. A feast for the eyes, if you love sweets this is definitely Candy Heaven.

mole from puebla

BOOK NERD? POP INTO THE OLDEST LIBRARY IN THE AMERICAS

Just off the main square you can walk right into Biblioteca Palafoxiana, the oldest library in the Americas. Well preserved with history bursting from every corner of the room, its well worth the $2 visit. Be careful though, no photography allowed, so I got some sneaky snaps as I exited.

Biblioteca Palafoxiana in puebla

CITY OF CHURCHES

Puebla has a church on almost every corner - 70 in the historic centre alone. The Cathedral below is around 500 years old and is enormous. Situated right in the main square and entry is free which makes it even better.

puebla cathedral in the main square
puebla cathedral in the main square

A CITY MADE FOR WALKING

All the streets around the main square are safe, clean and beautiful. We went for a walk at night after dinner and the streets were alive! People everywhere, restaurants, entertainment, night markets, this city was full of good vibes and atmosphere. Puebla's atmosphere has made it a popular location for shooting popular movies, such as Frida and Vantage Point.

puebla street for walking

THE FINAL VERDICT

Whether you visit on just a day trip or longer, Puebla is a real visual treat. Puebla is more than a modest sized colonial city, its the fourth largest in Mexico and blends a colonial past with a modern day thriving city. Of course, the most striking thing about Puebla is the colonial buildings adorned with Talavera ceramics, but there is so much more to experience here.

Toucan?! I saw my first toucan right here in Puebla in a shop that sold exotic creatures, which I thought was awesome.

toucan i saw in puebla pet shop

Image attribution:
"Catedral de Puebla, México" by Diego Delso // CC BY-SA 4.0 * ; "Puebla Mexico" by Russ Bowling // CC BY 2.0 * ; "Popocatepetl" by Russ Bowling // CC BY 2.0 *
* changes were made to the original materials

No comments:

Post a Comment