I love to visit Puebla. This Friday I will be making a repeat visit — the second one in two weeks. Puebla has a lot going for it, including a regal cathedral and friendly zocalo.
This is a city built by Spaniards to replicate Old World charm. It has a European feel with wide pedestrian avenues. Ten days ago I had the pleasure of traveling with Jane, Dave, Mari, Helene and Suzanne. We all started together in Oaxaca on a Friday morning and returned on a Monday afternoon (except Helene who flew in and out of Mexico City from Connecticut). I took over 350 photographs and lost them all in the upload because I deleted by memory card before I checked whether the upload was complete (it wasn’t, thanks to iPhoto or a bad internet connection). Doomed, I called on my fellow travelers for help and all the photos shown here are courtesy of them. Definitely lesson learned!
Open wide and don’t miss those huge Puebla sandwiches called cemitas. The best are at Cemitas las Poblanitas in the Mercado del Carmen. I challenge you to get your mouth around this one, stuffed with grilled onions, chiles, pounded and breaded chicken breast, a mound of avocado, and three kinds of cheese. The assembly line satisfies the customers who wait. Photo on left by Dave Emerson; on right, Helene has her hands full. You can see I don’t want you to miss these! I ate there two days in a row.
Excellent upscale restaurants rival any four-star in the major cities of the world. We had dinner at a few of them: El Mural de los Poblanos, the restaurant at CasaReyna hotel, and La Conjura.
Suzanne Kinney took this beautiful photo of Talavera ceramics that adorn the facades of 18th century buildings. The decorative pieces add visual punch to dinner tables. Dave Emerson’s photo of Talavera de la Reyna dinnerware says it all.
To read more about Puebla, see David Emerson’s Oaxaca Chapulines blog and from there link to his Picasa album that features the stunning photos of the city, some of which I have borrowed here. Dave managed to capture a Carnavale parade/dance celebration we stumbled upon at the Zocalo. It was magical.
I’m meeting my sister in Puebla this Friday afternoon. She is arriving from San Francisco into Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport. I am arriving from Oaxaca. We’ll both catch a bus. She will get on the Estrella Roja bus just outside the International Terminal Two (Be sure you check your arrival terminal. If you come into Terminal One, you have to take the Air Train to Terminal Two.) From the airport to Puebla is about two hours. But, time goes fast — there’s free WiFi. My trip on ADO will take a little more than four hours.
Puebla Highlights 2012: NY Times travel writer Freda Moon (she wrote the feature about Oaxaca) is in Puebla this week. She asked me what I loved about Puebla and this was what I told her:
- The Museo Amparo is open but it is undergoing renovations and the entrance is around the corner on 7 Oriente; gift shop is a shadow of its former self.
- The Exconvento Santa Rosa is closed for renovations.
- Take an extraordinary guided visit at Talavera de la Reyna in their Cholula workshop; called ahead to arrange this — muy amable.
- Discover Talavera Celia, excellent quality, D04, at about 30% less than Talavera Uriarte and Talavera de la Reyna, though their patterns and use of color is not as complex. Their shop/cafe is in the antique district on 5 Oriente #608 (222-242-3663). Didn’t get to their taller/workshop at Manzano #8, Col. Arboledas de Guadalupe. 222-235-1891.
- Dine at CasaReyna, a boutique hotel with gorgeous ambience, excellent food, reasonably priced with good wine list also reasonably priced.
- La Conjura is a Spanish restaurant in a cave that served as an aging cellar for meat long ago. Unusual menu. Intimate and pricey.
- Ekos Restaurant in the Casona de la China Poblana has the best breakfasts with scrambled eggs and huitlacoche.
- A favorite shopping spot is the only artisan cooperative in town — Siuamej Puebla Crafts Cooperative, representing the indigenous groups of the Sierra Norte — Av. Juan de Palafox y Mendoza #206 just off the Zocalo. Lovely quechquemitls with natural dyes woven on backstrap looms, embroidered work, pottery, beaded jewelry.
- Fabulous antique Poblano silver jewelry at La Quinta de San Antonio antique shop owned by Antonio & Alfonso, 2 Sur 509 enter on 7 Oriente,firstname.lastname@example.org –call or email them (222-232-1189); reasonably priced, very special.
- New photography museum is across the street. They have an exhibition of the best Oaxaca and Mexico photographers.
- Take in the Sunday flea market. Lots of fleas, antique coins, out of circulation Mexican bills, a few good things. Most all the good stuff is in the stores.
- Stay at the Hotel Colonial — excellent value but noisy if on the street or pedestrian walkway (a spot for street theatre past my bedtime); within walking distance to everything.
- Love staying at Puebla de Atano — used to be the Italian consulate; within walking distance to everything. I book this on hotels.com and save 15-20% off the advertised rate.
- Went to Tonanzintla church — fabulous! That and the visit and explanation of the talavera process at de la Reyna was the highlight of the weekend.
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