We had all agreed a later start for this morning and weren’t meeting until 9.30am for the remainder of the orientation walk. So after the usual morning routine, we headed down the street to find a coffee.
We stopped at a little coffee shop where they seemed to rust their own coffee beans and had a very tasty coffee and cake. It was a lovely sunny morning and the temperature was nicely warm.
We met Vallaria and the rest of the group back at the hotel at 9.30 and walked out around the historical centre of Puebla.
Vallaria told us that there are over 400 churches in Puebla and we saw quite a few on our wanders. We started by waking through the main square to the cathedral. Outside of the cathedral Vallaria explained that one theory is that the plans for this cathedral had been swapped with the plans for the cathedral in Mexico City. The gates outside are opened once every 100 years and the faithful come from all around to walk through them which apparently rids them of all previous sins. Sadly for us the last time they were opened was in 2000 so think we’ve missed our chance!
The historical centre of Puebla had a colonial feel and many of the buildings are decorated with tiles making that they wouldn’t look out of place in a European city.
The are also lots of buildings which are painted in bright colours which seemed to be accentuated in the bright morning sun.
Like Mexico City, Puebla is in an earthquake zone and some of the buildings appear to have been damaged by previous quakes.
Next stop was the artist quarter where there were lines of shall studios that artists use.
We continued up a narrow street lined with sweet shops selling locally made sweets and biscuits, many of them made by nuns in the local convents.
Our final stop on the tour was the church of Santa Rosa. Outside the church is pretty impressive, but once you get inside it’s a real assault on the eyes. There are intricate carvings and sculptures everywhere and most of them covered in good leaf. Being inside this church is a real reminder of the wealth of the Catholic church and how important it is that this is displayed for all to see. Not really my cup of tea, but good to see none the less.
We left our guide here and Ed and I had a late brunch at a streetside cafe on the square. We popped back to the hotel and then back out to see the cathedral. Inside was not overly impressive, other than the size and some very unusual Catholic artefacts! It wasn’t as impressive as the cathedral in Mexico City nor as gaudy as the Santa Rosa.
After the cathedral, with the temperature warming up we headed for a roof top bar overlooking the cathedral entrance. Here, with a beer in hand, see watched the world go by. We spotted Hannah and Steve leaving the cathedral and they soon joined us on the rooftop.
After a couple of drinks we wandered to the library, supposedly the oldest on the whole continent. There were some very old first editions on display in an impressive room.
We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering and people watching from a couple of the roof top bars. The promised rain never arrived.
After a short siesta we meet back up with Hannah and Steve and were also joined by Marion, Kaye and Veronica for dinner. We went to a local restaurant which served Street style food. The service was excellent despite our lack of Spanish and the limited English of the waitress. The food was pretty good too.
After food we stopped at a local gelataria for a delicious ice cream before going back to the hotel for bed; an early start in the morning for our bus ride to Oaxaca.