Route East to Mexico's famous city of Puebla!

Trip Start Dec 29, 2007
Trip End Dec 22, 2008

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Monday, July 14, 2008

DAY 6 - Route East to Mexico's famous city of Puebla!
The doctor wasn't wrong when he said the antibiotics were the best you could get and worked immediately, feeling weary but a lot better we decided to chance our luck and catch the bus to Pueblo! Called the 'City of Angels,' Puebla is one of Mexico's most famous cities within this state due to its colonial architecture and facades of Talavera tiles plus 365 churches, one for each day apparently! Looks like we were going to have our work cut out to do them all in one day!!
Our taxi to the bus terminal was reminiscent of Cambodia, bit of chicken wire here and there and speedy gonzalas as the driver!! Backpacking was definitely back! The bus totally surprised us, it had air con the lot, and this definitely wasn't reminiscent of previous bus experiences earlier in our trip, where was the brick holding up the radiator like in India and the bald tyres of Vietnam....not what we expected at all.
Heading east out of the city, we once again started to drive towards the hills, seeing even more houses built within them, then soon we were in the country and all you could see was rolling green hills for miles, just like home! I have been really shocked at how green Mexico is, where is Mr Amigo sat on his horse next to a cactus in the dry desert??!! We then drove through one of the national forests and it reminded us of North NZ so much, quite bizarre really. Next, on turning a corner within the forest, there was suddenly a huge snow capped volcanic mountain dominating the landscape ahead of us, we were so surprised it really took our breath away, just stunning! The mountain is known as 'Princess Mountain' and its name is 'Iztaccchihuatl,'(not hard to spell at all!). Apparently you can climb it but its tough and takes 4 days.....if only we had had the time out to take we would have......There really is SO much you can do in Mexico, so many temples, mountains, ancient ruins, history, hiking etc... it really is quite hard to know where to go next due to all the choices and you could so easily spend 2-3 months here just doing the part we are doing, definitely a place we will come back to explore and hike!
On taking many a photo, we then saw the most beautiful snow covered volcano alongside Iztaccchihuatl appearing out through the clouds, soon we had the clearest sky and could even see that it was still smoking, it was just unbelievable! Tongariro NP, New Zealand eat your heart out, we never knew we would be seeing almost an identical landscape in Mexico... This volcano the larger of the two at 5452m, is called 'Popocatepetl' also known as 'Smoking Warrior,' we could definitely see why! Apparently in Dec 2000 it had its largest eruption in 500 years and literally blew its crater lid sky high, now noone is able to climb it or even go within a 12km radius of it due to its activity, have to knock that one off the target list for now. We were so lucky though to see them and have such a clear day, what a 2 hour journey this had been, Mexico just gets better and better.
Arriving into Puebla, we found a quaint little cheap hostel called Victoria where Ads had fun trying his Spanish out some more with the little old Mexican lady that ran it. The shower in our room consisted of a pipe out the wall but despite the basicness of it all it had a real ancient charm to it, very European in style. Heading out into the main Zocalo of Pueblo, it was just beautiful! Trees and striking coloured cafes lined the square, an ancient cathedral dominated one side and a beautiful English Elizabethan style building designed by an English architect in 1897, 'Palicio Municipal' dominated the other. The atmosphere was buzzing, people drinking coffee watching the world go by, music in the background, a film crew filming in one corner, it was so reminiscent of our time in Rome....We joined the coffee culture at, quite appropriately, 'The Italian Coffee House,' then explored the back streets and many tiled fašade buildings, colonial houses and churches. Unfortunately (or fortunately perhaps!) it was a Monday so all the churches and museums were closed, so window shopping it was. Each corner was another famous building, bell tower or small square to rest in, it was a charming place, we even saw a graduation going on. What also struck us too was the lack of western tourists here, we hardly spotted a soul, bit like Mexico City really, and the main tourists here are Mexicans themselves!

After wandering some more I unfortunately wandered right into the firing line of a pigeon of sorts and with that we headed back to the hotel to wash my head, yuk! The freezing cold shower didn't help either but it was probably in good timing as suddenly the heavens opened and the glass roof of the hostel crashed loudly with the usual early evening storm. On becoming pigeon poo free, we then headed back to the square and sampled the local enchilada dish (well it could have been anything with us trying to understand the menu!) which arrived covered in green 'stuff', it was good and v hot to say the least but washed down with a bottle of cold Sol did the trick! Finally a coffee it was where Ads proceeded to teach me Spanish numbers, it was like being back at school, I even got tested! But lots of fun and yet another addition to all that we are learning and experiencing in each country we come too. Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro...... Buenos noches!
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