Puebla is an easy 1.5 hours drive away from Mexico City…that is if you do not get into an accident on the way. This is what I did, so my trip took a bit longer. Yep, two blocks away from my apartment I decided to run into a car in front of me and spent about an hour first arguing with the driver of that car and then waiting for my insurance agent. The arguing with the Jeep Patriot driver went like this: she: “Why did you do this?”, me: “Do you really think I planned on this?”, she: “It is Saturday, we were going so slowly”, me: “Woman, let me first stop shaking and then I will explain to you exactly how I planned to ruin your Saturday”. Then the insurance agent arrived – a decked up motorcyclist with the “AIG Mexico” lettering all over him. He smiled the whole time he dealt with my case and flirted mad. In about an hour, with my driver’s seat door jammed, I still decided to go to Puebla lest I sit at home and sulk the whole weekend.
Arriving into Puebla was adventurous. One of the founders’ of the city had a brilliant idea to name the streets North, South, West and East, but then assign even and odd numbers to each street that would not follow each other and then make each street one way. On top of it, the center of town has pedestrian streets and streets under construction, so the end result was that only one street could lead me to my hotel and to get to it I needed to get through the maze. After about half hour of circling around the place I needed to get to and running into one-way streets every time, I decided to hail a cab that would lead me to the coveted place. And do you think it was easy given I could not get out of my car because my door was jammed? (I got into my car through the passenger door). So I timed getting to a red light with a taxi stopping next to me so that I could get cabbie hear me through the window and lead me to the hotel. It was soon accomplished and we arrived to the “Casa de la Palma”.
This hotel used to be a house of a bishop. Our room was on the top floor – a former dancing room – so our room was huge (the biggest room I ever stayed in). The room was full of antiques and the decoration was left from the 19th century. http://www.casadelapalmapuebla.com/ – (check Porfiriana)
The coolest parts of Puebla for me were the Santo Domingo church where one section was completely covered in gold, and then the Secret ex-Convent of Santa Monica. Here you can see the dried heart of the founder (!?!) and walk the rooms where the nuns used to live (including the tools they used for self-punishment).
On the way from Puebla we headed to Cholula to see the Grand Temple and the Popo volcano. That was grandiose – the volcano looked perfect and even spewed white smoke! We also went inside the pyramid and I tested my claustrophobia. The man at the front was insisting that I needed a guide, and this was the first time in my life when I was sorry I did not take one. The tunnels were 300 meters long and in the middle of them I realized that I had no idea of how to get back to the entrance when the arrows showing the evacuation route changed direction! Later I realized that the route through the tunnel was one way only, but for several long minutes I did think I was stuck in the dark by myself. And back to the volcano – the best view of it I caught when I was already leaving Cholula. I was driving on the highway and Popo was shimmering in the sunlight, a side of it covered in shining ice against the backdrop of a perfect blue sky.
And here I need to mention the worst ever speed bumps of Cholula – no matter how hard you try, you will get your car scratched. They are just half circles in the middle of the road – very annoying.
The trip back to Mexico City was much shorter given that I had no interest of hitting anyone this time. Now I just need to find a mechanic to fix my door to get ready for the next trip.