Magical Cholula Revisited

22 Oct

Memories can shape our lives. We can run from them or toward them. And if they are significant enough, we can build little alters to them and freeze them in time. That’s what I did to the village of Cholula.


We never saw the volcano due to the rainy season.

I left home in 1973, twenty-one years old, and went to “study abroad” in Mexico. I lived with a local family, studied intensive Spanish and raised as much hell as I could. In those days it wasn’t much.


Making tamales with my Mexican family and fellow student Brian.

In 2013, I saw the youthful dream of living in Mexico realized as my wife and I retired and built a home on the southern most border near Belize on beautiful lake Bacalar. It wasn’t colonial Central Mexico, but you can’t have everything. I longed to go back to Cholula and visit my old stomping grounds. Boy was I in for a shock. A lot had changed in forty years.

Dirt roads and hand-made brick buildings have been replaced by cobblestone and cement block architecture. There is a modern indoor mercado that resembles all others in Mexico. People were fascinated by my old pictures but no one could remember where they had been taken.

This was the 1973 view from the Cholula pyramid looking down on the old mental hospital. I was fascinated at the time with the gardens (right) that the patients worked providing their own food and therapeutic activity.


Today the hospital is a beautiful museum with adjacent park and playground. The university is buried somewhere in the buildings in the distance.

Cholula has become a suburb of the state capital, Puebla. There are trendy restaurants and festivals galore. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t  experienced the quaint village it used to be. Frankly I was shell shocked.


A day trip to an old hacienda was worth the visit to see this exquisite talavera fountain.


The church of Tonancitla, one of the best of the trip.

Do not allow my letdown get in the way of visiting this magical city. My suggestions are 1) do your homework, there is much to do 2) find a hotel close to the center. The buses are not difficult to maneuver but conversational Spanish is useful. 3) check the weather (duh) Cholula’s altitude is 7,000 feet which makes it a great escape from the hot, humid jungle we live in. There is also a rainy season. Don’t let it put a damper on your vacation. Dress appropriately. Cholula is really a hopping place and well worth a visit. DOS TORTAS




7 Responses to “Magical Cholula Revisited”

  1. LJones October 22, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    What a lovely city…and the fountain! I am already planning a trip at some point…see you, tortas, in January:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 October 22, 2017 at 11:00 am #

      Looking forward to your visit. We visited a castle on a lake that could have been in Europe. Lovely part of Mexico.


  2. Lois Leahy October 22, 2017 at 6:17 pm #

    Cholula, Love it or leave it! Could be seen posted over many doorways of students renting in Cholula. I was at the University of the Americas from January through June 1973. I lived in the dorms on campus. Do you remember the “miracle mile”, A stretch of restaurants and bars between the campus and the town of Cholula?


  3. Peter Conniff October 23, 2017 at 9:24 am #

    I too, had my life forever changed when I visited Mexico in 1973 ! After graduating from UW – La Crosse in Dec.`72, My wife, best fiend, & I drove to Tulum and camped on the beach for 2 1/2 months living off the bounties of the sea and groceries from a bi-weekly trip to Felipe Carrillo Puerto ( nearest stores ! ) It became my dream to one day live on La Mar Caribe and on Nov.1st of this year I will be driving to Mahahual to live my dream of 44 years ! – I really enjoy reading your blog & hope I get to meet you both in the near future, as Laguna Bacalar is one of my favorite spots !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill Douglas November 30, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

    Loved it! I, too, am another ex-UDLA exchange student–but man, those pictures from the ´70’s add a whole other level to the trippiness of going back! 😉 I was there in 1999, and my husband finally left Cholula in 2005. Even then, we’ve been dismayed by the insane amount of growth that happened over the last 12 years! It is a relief that the centro is still retains its charm.


    • afish25 November 30, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by Jill. There are people from that time that I would love to find. I just don’t know last names. As far as growth goes, you can’t tell where Cholula starts and Puebla ends. The change is staggering. I hope you get back.



  1. Magical Cholula Revisited — the adventures of dos tortas – Puebla TuristaMexico - April 7, 2018

    […] via Magical Cholula Revisited — the adventures of dos tortas […]


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