Tag Archives: colonial mexico

Life’s Unexpected Treasures

15 Oct

I wish I could say that arriving in the colonial city of Puebla was dejavú, but the truth is, nothing looked familiar. I first visited Puebla in 1973, staying in a boarding house for the first month of studies at the University of the Americas in nearby Cholula. In August 2017, it is a bustling modern city that’s kept much of its old-world beauty and charm. We were pleasantly surprised.

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The convent of San Francisco one of the oldest churches in Puebla circa 1535

I had reserved an Airbnb in the historic district and spent a bit more money than usual. We were not disappointed. In Mexico it is common to walk an unremarkable street of high privacy walls and intriguing doorways. We stepped through one of those doors to inner city paradise.

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During our stay, our hosts directed us to the best mole (MÓ lay); is there any OTHER reason to go to Puebla? We wandered exquisite old churches, artist markets, homes converted into museums, and even a free concert. I did not expect to fall in love with Puebla. This city is definitely a contender for retirement locations.

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Tres moles – poblano, rojo and my new favorite pipian (pumpkinseed)

No trip to Puebla would be complete without a visit to La Estrella de Puebla, the Star of Puebla, a very large ferris wheel. After some deep breathing I joined Lisa the adventurer and I’m so glad I did. No fear!

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The weather made this adventure challenging, but we did not give up.

Puebla was so much fun and worth the time. Our AirBnB hosts certainly added to the experience.

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Luis and Malu (who fed us many local delights).

The world is filled with many delightful people and places. Puebla unexpectedly is near the top of our list.

DOS TORTAS 

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The Yucatan Meander Continues

26 Apr

While meandering may mean – to wander aimlessly taking a roundabout course, our Torta vacation wasn’t entirely aimless. We left the coastal town of Rio Lagartos and passed one of many old monasteries sprinkled throughout the Yucatan. This one had a small museum inside and a gatekeeper. I think it was more of an opportunity to ask for donations.

Give Lisa an old building to explore and she's in heaven.

Give Lisa an old building to explore and she’s in heaven.

Colonial ruins may not be as old as ancient pyramids but they’re pretty cool.

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The bell still is used to call locals to mass.

The old bell is still used to call the faithful  to mass.

Next stop, to explore a taller or workshop we came to along the highway and talk to the women who make and sell hammocks for a government cooperative. This is when speaking Spanish really comes in handy. The materials are sent from Merida. The women do the work and make almost nothing for their many hours sitting at a loom (by U.S. standards). There are no minimum wage laws in Mexico. We bought some baskets that will be featured in the Show and Tell blog at the end of the trip.

I would have loved spending the day learning the process.

I would have loved spending the day learning the process.

We arrived in Valladolid and immediately headed out on bicycles to visit a cenote (natural sink hole) that’s situated in the center of town. We were hungry and had been told that the restaurant nearby was a good choice.

There are different kind of cenotes, pronounced sen O tay. Some are above ground, like Cenote Azul in Bacalar. Others have the roof partially caved in and some are completely underground. While in Valladolid, we saw them all, one more breathtaking than the next.

Air conditioned on a hot day.

Air conditioned on a hot day.

Roots from the trees above reaching for the water.

Roots from the trees above reaching for the water.

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We love Valladolid and spent four days visiting the mercado, artisan museum, and cenotes.

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Paper mâché.

Paper mâché.

This painting of a church in Izama, the yellow city put it on our must see list.

This painting of a church in IzamaL, the yellow city, put it on our must see list.

The thing that has surprised the most about adventure is having our minds stretched as to what is beautiful, amazing and possible. Around every corner our eyes grow big and we are in awe. The fun had just begun.
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