Puebla has been on my must see list of places for Mexico and I was excited to be visiting. I stupidly thought it was a smaller town, which it is compared to CDMX, but as we came in from the upper highway, i was blown away by just how big it was here. Upon arrival we headed straight to the Walmart parking lot, killed the engine and climbed into the back to bed, Dad and Jen did the same. We were all sick from suspected food poisoning, even though we ate different food, totally wiped out, except Jaxon who was on the mend, and Charley who was yet to succumb. While we were suffering, they happily binge watched 4 movies. Our symptoms varied from diarrhea, vomiting, chills, muscle fatigue and exhaustion. Tim had it the worst, I have no idea how he even managed to drive the truck, he was so sick. So the 26th was a write off. The next morning, all feeling somewhat better, we set off to find a place to park the vehicles close to the historic centre. While attempting to navigate the narrow streets, heavy traffic and one way systems, a cyclist approached and kindly offered to lead the way to a parking yard, we followed along happily. Perfect, fenced at 30p p/hr, we locked up and set off for the Centro Historico.
The old Cathedral wasn’t anything fancy on the outside, but inside it was quite beautiful. By now we’ve visited a few, free to enter, and interesting for the kids for the first 2 minutes. No rose stained glass windows, but the immense hand carved, gold leaf / painted wooden altars are impressive, many arrived in Mexico by boat hundreds of years ago from Spain, depicting biblical life. I just love the design detail that is a in the dome ceilings, this one is quite stunning. But it was the donations collections box that struck me the most, hundreds of years old, iron clad, I can’t begin to wonder all the hands that have deposited more than they could possibly afford.
The towns all have a similar theme, Cathedral/church, town square and all the markets and stores on the outer streets. Puebla is the same and easy to navigate. It is also said to be home of the Mole (spicy chocolate) sauce, and of the typical brightly painted, Mexican style of pottery.
We also took a stroll down the Candy Street, where every store is selling traditional style candies and marzipan treats. Not too appealing to the kids, we opted for ice cream, delicious thick creamy ice cream made with real fruit and chocolate. With time getting on, we made our way back to the trucks and headed for Cholula, Puebla’s little sister city just 20km away.
We camped in Cholula, at the base of ‘The worlds largest pyramid”. At first sight it just looks like a hill with a church on top. But it is in fact a pyramid, or parts of one, that had been covered up over time. Built 500 BC it has been attacked and conquered multiple times of its lifetime. Today it is Catholic, to one of the prettiest churches I’ve ever seen.
Early the next morning we set off to climb to the church, a pathway wraps its way past even more ruins neatly excavated, surrounded by perfectly cut grass and tall fences. We had a perfect view of it all and agreed we didn’t need to buy the entry ticket. The winding path gradually getting steep, giving way to the last staircase climb to the top. At altitude it’s a tough pull, but the views are amazing. Below the 360′ Sprawling city with her 365 churches seems to go on forever. In the distance, puffing away, lies Mexico’s second largest and active volcano, Popocatepetl, Fingers crossed she sleeps quietly for a long time to come. The small catholic church was fully decorated and covered in the original 23 carat gold leaf. Crystal chandeliers twinkling, with restored original oil paintings adorn the pretty pink walls. Many locals take the early morning hike for exercise then pop in for a quick prayer to start the day.
Back over to Puebla in less than half the time it took to get there, we returned to the same parking lot much to the delight of the booth attendant. We explained we were in search of Puebla’s Secret Tunnels, which still must be a pretty well kept secret as he had no idea of what we were talking about.
A short walk away from the Centro Historico centre, lies the entrance to the newly opened tunnels. Only discovered in 2015, they are believed to be over 500+ yrs old. Previously used by clergy, city officials, solders and probably smugglers. Now restored and safe to explore, we headed underground to check these out for ourselves. Tuesday is free day, and today is Tuesday, so we don’t have to pay to enter the tunnels. I had read they were big enough to ride a horse through, now that i’m down here, am thinking they must be talking pony size, and in some places, Shetland Pony. Not particularly deep or claustrophobic feeling, they are nicely lit with interesting artifacts found and on display. We travelled approximately 600 meters underground, surfacing close to a park, we walked back through a residential area with many beautifully painted murals.
Back to the trucks, ahead of schedule, we all agreed it was time to get out of town. Next stop Tehuacan, unable to find a nice place to camp we opted for the Walmart parking lot. But first, we visited the Museum of Evolution. Still Tuesday, entry was free!! Gotta love Tuesdays!!!
Driving into the town of Tehuacan I noticed the museum, with 90 mins before closing we headed on in. We were all beyond impressed, very new & modern looking, we followed the path of the evolution of the earth and mankind. Starting with the planets, and a real meteorite, to cabinets full of beautiful crystals found all over the world, to the start of life, dinosaurs and man. The kids were amazed to discover we had evolved from the ape, when I asked Jaxon where he fitted into the line up, he pointed to the back, “it’s more fun to be an ape and swing from the trees”.
The Dinosaurs, fossils, and skeletons, sabre tooth tiger, giant sloth, woolly mammoth and what looked like a Moa! Displays of colourful butterflies and beetles from all over the world. What a lucky find this place was. An amazing day all around, very educational and not just for the kids.