Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Whirlwind Tour of Puebla, Las Vigas, Naolinco, La Antiqua, Chachalacas and Veracruz

Last week we had the good fortune to visit Mexico for nine days, and I am going to give you a whirlwind recap this time, instead of a play by play, because I did not bring my computer with me on this trip.  I am rebelling, now, against bringing my laptop because it is heavy to travel with, and I am manifesting an iPad mini or tablet!  Everyone keep good thoughts for my new tablet, please.  Hope it appears soon!  Anyway, back to business. We arrived in Mexico City late Thursday night on the 16th, and spent the first few days attending a family reunion and looking for materials for our work downtown.  If you are friends with me on Facebook, I posted some pics about that part of the trip there.  If you are not friends with me on Facebook, "Friend Me"!  There are however, a few extra pics I wanted to share from Mexico City, before we move on.  Things that amuse me.  This young lady was making the most of her time in traffic,
while this young man was learning the art of change-giving while riding along with his bus driving father.
Riding backwards, helping Dad.
And looking out the bus window to my left, there was this entrepreneurial fellow at the intersection.
Will juggle for spare change.
Natalie Queally, you know how to juggle.  Just saying.

Anyway, bright and early on Monday morning the family rented a car and we embarked on a five day road trip with Eduardo's mom and sister.  Since Eduardo and I are used to traveling mostly on the "Libre", or free road, this would be a new experience because we will be taking the "Cuota" or toll road.  First stop, Puebla.

This is my second trip to Puebla, and let me just say here and now that Puebla is all about the eating.  The food is absolutely delicious.  There is a street devoted entirely to sweets.
Look closely.  In this shop window the bees are enjoying the candy as much as the humans!
I haven't tried these yet but I bet they are delicious.
Yep, busted!  Can't resist the candy.
Puebla is known for their Chiles en Nogada,
and here's a description of what's inside.  That's 180 pesos, by the way, not dollars, and worth every penny.  They were one of the most delicious dishes I have ever tasted.
Puebla is also know for their Mole, and this dish was Enchiladas con Tres Moles, namely, Red Pipian, Mole, and Green Pipian.  Our favorite restaurant for the Chiles en Nogada and the Green Pipian was La Chiquita (founded in 1896), and our favorite restaurant for the Mole and the Red Pipian was Fonda de Santa Clara.
Getting ready to dig into my Enchiladas con Tres Moles at Fonda de Santa Clara.
There are also fabulous historical buildings, churches and convents in Puebla.  This time we visited The Templo Conventual de Santa Monica (17th Century),
The entire narthex of the church is decorated in Milagros, or Mexican Folk Charms.
and the Templo de Santo Domingo y Capilla del Rosario (also 17th Century).
The gold in this Spanish Baroque church literally took my breathe away.
Here are just a few of the many beautiful architectural details you find on the buildings throughout Puebla.

I could go on and on about Puebla, and I highly recommend you put it on your "must see" list for Mexico.  But there is more to tell.  We are headed for Veracruz, and next stop, Las Vigas, where we left the Cuota at dusk and headed for the Libre, to enter this tiny town to spend the night.

Those of you who follow my blog will remember that it was in Las Vigas that Eduardo and I traveled to the top of the mountain with Pepe, the fruit and vegetable vendor.  You can refresh your memory and read about that adventure here.  We were very fortunate to meet these hardworking, caring people again on this trip,
With Pepe and Griselda in Las Vigas.
as well as to visit with their family and enjoy a special breakfast prepared for us before they started their day.  Pepe and Griselda hold a special place in our heart.
Delicious Chile con Queso prepared for us with love by Griselda.
We also got to meet one of their neighbors, Dona Natividad, who had just finished preparing the tortillas for the family.
Now that's a lot of tortillas!
In stark contrast to the cosmopolitan feel of Puebla, Las Vigas is a town.  I sat outside in the morning absorbing the sound of the roosters crowing and the smell of firewood. 

Back on the road, it was a picturesque drive to our next stop, Naolinco.
Obligatory cow photo.  I love cows!
This is my second visit to the this beautiful town that is known for their hand made leather shoes, bags and sandals.
The pristine streets of Naolinco.
Charming mural!
And what did we do in Naolinco?  Eat, of course.  And I once again felt the need to photograph the gorgeous candy behind the counter.
Candy Roosters
It was a quick visit and onward to the Port of Veracruz, where we would spend two nights.  Veracruz is HOT, and we were delighted to discover that our hotel had a pool.
Happy Me!
I love, love, love Veracruz, and one of my favorite things to do is visit the Gran Cafe de la Parroquia for their Lechero, or Cafe con Leche.  They pour a small amount of very concentrated coffee in the bottom of the cup, and them fill it up with steamed milk.
My zillionth Lechero of the trip.  Hehe.
We took a side trip to visit the beach in Chachalacas,
I am obsessed with these floatie vendors on the beach.
and to La Antiqua, the first real Spanish Town in Mexico.  Here you will find the home of Hernan Cortes, built in 1523,
as well as the oldest church in the Americas, built in the early 16th Century.
Oldest church, founded by Hernan Cortes.
Also, I found La Antigua to be a real contender for the hottest place on earth, a title I had formerly given to Tabasco.  I judge this by the number of times I find myself spontaneously mentioning how hot I am!  But it's all good, because those of you who know me know I love the heat, and would take it anytime over being cold.

On a mission to find a restaurant the family had enjoyed some years back, we also made a side trip to Boca Del Rio where we had some delicious seafood.
We made a stop in Cuatepec for coffee and pastry on the way home, and then got on the Cuota for the drive home.  The Cuota is expensive, costing about 350 pesos for the drive from Xalapa to Mexico City, but the road is extremely well maintained, so the trip is fast and trouble free.  Arriving back in DF at about 3:00 AM, we had just a few hours sleep, and then up and running to make a quick trip back downtown to pick up a few materials before heading for the airport, for the trip back to Los Angeles.  We capped off the trip with a nice flight on Aeromexico, complete with free tequila.  We are most grateful for another fun and inspiring trip to beautiful Mexico!


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