The ADO GL bus left Oaxaca at 7 a.m. and got us into Puebla by 11:20 a.m. After checking into the Camino Real Puebla for the third time this year (www.hotels.com rate of $88 per night), I was on a Talavera ceramics buying mission for my sister. We were leaving Mexico the next morning to return to North Carolina and I needed to make this partial day in Puebla count. With order and photos literally in hand on my iPhone, I walked the few blocks to the Museo Amparo, corner 9 Oriente and 2 Sur where Talavera de la Reyna (our favorite) has a small retail shop and was greeted by manager Sra. Letitia Perez Ramirez (tel. 222 229 38 53). They did not have the pattern that sister requested so I got directions and a map to the Cholula workshop about 25 minutes away.
Stepping out onto the sidewalk, I eyed two taxi cabs on the street. One was a little shabby, had a dent or two, and the driver looked like he needed a hot shower. The one directly behind was spit and polish clean and the driver, a middle age man, had a warm and friendly look to him, so I hailed him and got in. This was Mauro Ramirez Cuhuetle, cellular # 044-2221568948. Between my basic Spanish and Mauro’s bit of English (he spent five years in Nueva York some years back), we managed quite well and it was a great way for me to practice my Spanish. For the next two and a half hours he drove me, cheerfully, to the Talavera de la Reyna factory store in Cholula, waited forty minutes for me while I did my shopping, and then drove me back to Puebla and the Uriarte talavera shop at Calle 4 Poniente 911, waited for me there and then deposited me and a two big shopping bags full of pottery at my hotel. I gave him $320 pesos, about $26 USD, for which he was delighted. I want to point out that I did this alone and felt not in the least bit at risk for my personal safety.
Directions to Talavera de la Reyna: take the road to Cholula. Just before getting to town, still on the main highway, there is a Domino’s Pizza, a pyramidical office building and a Pemex gas station. This is Camino a la Carcana. It is a narrow street between the Pemex and the office building. Turn right and go half way down the block and the Talavera de la Reyna is on your left. It is marked with a sign and there is a bouganvilla vine covering the high wall. Ring the bell and they will let you in.
Talavera de la Reyna, Camino a la Carcana #2412, Recta a Cholula, Tel: (222) 225 40 58, www.talaveradelareyna.com.mx or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you pay with cash, there will be an eight percent discount. They are incredible generous with their bubble packing materials whether they pack and ship or you carry the wrapped pieces with you. You may also be lucky and there could be some seconds in the back room. My recommendation is to hand select every piece that you want because there are variables in the intensity of paint color and precision of pattern execution from piece to piece since everything is handmade. I also discovered that there are patterns there at the workshop that are not on the website, to it is worth the trip just to see the extensive collection.