Oaxaca was on my list of places to see in Mexico but from Mexico City the journey is long. After a quick bit of research of where to stop in the middle, we decided on Puebla.
Prices seemed unusually high during our search for accommodation, we later realised that this is due to the fact we were looking to stay there on May 5th – Cinco de Mayo. This date is of particular importance in Puebla because it’s the day that the Mexicans beat the French in Puebla.
Unfortunately, we missed some of the parades during the day but caught the latter half of some bands stomping down the street of our Airbnb accommodation. However, the festivities lasted much longer and for the weekend we were in the city there was a stage in the main square with lots of vibrant live music.
Puebla is a great place to visit and although we were only there for a few days, there are some real highlights.
Casa De La Cultura
We really only came in here to go to the library but there was also an exhibition of old artefacts from the cathedral. They had items which were 500 years old preserved amazingly. These robes for the bishops are hundreds of years old yet the colours have not faded and the material unwithered. Hats off to the Mexicans for this awesome preservation. There is a lot of history about the Cathedral in here, all with English descriptions.
The Oldest Libary in the Americas
Inside the Casa De La Cultura is the oldest library in the Americas. For book geeks like myself, this was one of my favourite things about Puebla. This library opened in the 16th century, with the first 5000 books being donated from the current bishop. There are books on display from the 15th century with all the remaining old furniture. Some people feel magic at Disneyland, I felt it here.
Cathedral in the Zocalo
We’ve seen a lot of Churches on our travels. Mexico is the kind of place where you can walk around corners and find churches. A stark contrast to China, where in Hangzhou, the city of 8 million people, I saw one church. The Cathedral in Puebla is probably one of my favourites so far. It’s huge and you can take a while walking around it and reading all of the information (in English too). I particularly loved that there are 3 organs – I find organs super interesting after reading ‘Until I Find You‘ by John Irving. A pinnacle of Puebla and worth a visit.
Puebla is known for food and it did not disappoint. We were told to try the Mole Poblano. Instead of going to a fancy restaurant we found a place busy with Mexicans and tried it here. It was excellent although I personally find Mole a little too rich. There are a number of lovely places to eat in Puebla and some delightful cafes to sit and have a drink around the Zocalo. Cafe Tarlets was our favourite – it’s right opposite the Cathedral and has excellent wifi and cakes.
In Mexico? I recommend stopping off in Puebla. There are a few day trips around the local area which are meant to be excellent. We didn’t quite have time but thoroughly enjoyed our few days in the city.