Puebla in Twelve Hours: Stop Over From Oaxaca to Mexico City

My favorite way to travel is to take an early morning bus from Oaxaca to Puebla, spent the afternoon shopping and the evening dining, stay overnight, and then catch the morning Estrella Roja express bus directly to the Mexico City airport.  Travel from the U.S. to Mexico City is much cheaper than flying directly to Oaxaca, and the bonus is this time in Puebla, a city that I love for its magnificent talavera tile-covered 16th, 17th and 18th century historic buildings, fabulous food (indigenous, Spanish and nuevo cocina), art, antiques and great pedestrian avenues.

On this trip we just returned from on January 9, 2010, we revisited our favorite Puebla restaurant El Mural de los Poblanos, two blocks from the Zocalo on Av. 16 de Septiembre just before the corner of 7 Poniente, right around the corner from the Camino Real Puebla.  Chef Lisette continues to work miracles with food and we applaud her talents.   The place is cozy, welcoming, and everyone is attentive.  The service is extraordinary and the food is delicious and reasonably priced.  That night we treated ourselves to an excellent Mexican zinfandel, sopa de hongas (a mushroom soup with at least three varieties of the fungus in a rich, spicy broth), sopa de Poblano (corn, squash, onions, poblano pepper in clear chicken broth), camarones (shrimp the size of your fist) in a mezcal cream sauce, aromatic and smokey mole poblano smothering turkey, and the grande finale, a scoop of homemade vanilla peanut praline ice cream.  After a generous tip, we left spending under 700 pesos, less than $35 per person.

The next morning we woke at 6 a.m., put the finishing touches on our packing, and after a steaming hot cup of rich Mexican coffee in the hotel patio, we took the taxi to the in-city Estrella Roja bus station.  This station is NOT CAPU, the regional bus depot about twenty minutes from city center.  It is just a few minutes from the historic center of town where you can get a direct bus to the Mexico City airport in just under two hours for about $194 pesos per person (about $16USD).  The bus is pristine, fast, and economical.  They give you drinks and a sandwich for breakfast, and earphones to plug you into a first-run movie.  It drops you off at the brand new international terminal where it is easy to get a porter to take your bags to check-in.  It took us about 10 minutes to go through the check-in line, then another five minutes to go through security, and we were all done.  Easy.  Plenty of time for breakfast at the Restaurante California upstairs, too.

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