Travel Journal Eight: Sightseeing and Dining in Puebla
My sister and I spend the day walking around downtown Puebla, the fourth biggest city in the country. The avenues and stores are filled with people looking to score last-minute holiday gifts. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the area is colourful and eclectic, but retains a clear sense of history.
"Puebla, which was founded ex nihilo in 1531, is situated about 100 km east of Mexico City, at the foot of the Popocatepetl volcano. It has preserved its great religious structures such as the 16th–17th-century cathedral and fine buildings like the old archbishop's palace, as well as a host of houses with walls covered in tiles (azulejos). The new aesthetic concepts resulting from the fusion of European and American styles were adopted locally and are peculiar to the Baroque district of Puebla." (from the UNESCO website)
On our way to the Puebla Zocalo, we stop by Uriarte, the world's largest producer of Talavera-style ceramics. Then, we walk to the Capilla del Rosario. Richly decorated with gold foil, the awe-inspiring 17th century church is heavily baroque, but still balanced. It is easily the most beautiful I've seen in Mexico until now.
Next, we decide to hop on a double-decker tourist bus. Andréane is excited, having experienced this. The camion, as they call it in Spanish, shuttles us around town all the way to the Mirador La Mantarraya, across from the Fuerte de Loreto. The park is very modern and provides a great view of all of Puebla, including the Popocatepetl & Iztaccíhuatl.
After a few more minutes driving through the cleverly laid-out park atop the mountain, we decide to hop off across the planetarium and Muséo Regional de Puebla, that is unfortunately closed today. It gives us a few minutes to relax as we wait for the next hop on hop off bus to come by. I snap a shot of the blue sky while Andréane speaks to her husband on the phone.
We finally decide to take an Uber to the Rosewood Puebla, a new, architecturally stunning hotel afoot the mountain. There, we sit at the Café Azul for a drink and early dinner. While the interior design and overall presentation are world-class, the service and quality of the food need improvement and the cost of our visit, very expensive by Mexican standards, certainly fails to be reflected in the quality of our experience.
As we wait for the car that will take us back to Cholula, we chat with the hotel's concierge and he shows us around the property. The lounge area and courtyard are very memorable and the hotel, with its two restaurants, bar, and rooftop pool, might end up, after a few more months/years of refining its service, eventually be considered a destination in and of itself. But not yet...