Trip to Mexico
As in 2005, we decided to spend the first part of our holiday away from Mexico City. We caught a first-class bus south-east to Puebla, then a local bus west to Cholula. The dominating feature of the landscape is the church on the hill.
Cholula was an important centre back in the days before the Conquest, and its pyramid was the largest (by volume) in the world.
Because the Cholulans ambushed Cortes on his way from Veracruz, he had the pyramid and temples demolished and a church built on the site.
Much of the pyramid remains, and over 8km of tunnels have been dug by archaeologists.
There is also a small museum that can be visited before you walk through the tunnels and see the ruins on the south side.
Aside from the pyramid and the many churches (39, I was told - Cortes threatened to build one for every day of the year, so it is said), Cholula is an enchanting town to visit in its own right.
The traffic is quiet, the streets are wide, the mercado (market) is large and varied, and the restaurants are plentiful, especially under the portales along the zócalo.
We spent time watching the locals at the Plaza de la Concordia.
Steve enjoyed feeding one of the almost tame squirrels there.
From Cholula, there are great views of the volcanoes Popocatépetl and Ixtaccíhuatl to the west, and La Malinche to the north-east.
This view of Popocatépetl was taken through the fence near the pyramid ruins.
Ixtaccíhuatl was also visible from there.
A better view was from the church on top of the hill. I climbed it too late in the day to get good lighting of the western volcanoes, but La Malinche showed up well.
The church is called Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. It is quite beautiful inside.
Cholula is also well-known for its beautiful talavera pottery, with its distinctive deep blue on white. This excerpt from a circular pottery mural in the Restaurante La Pirámide shows the variety of patterns available. Authentic talavera is made only in the state of Puebla.