July 24-27, 2007

[City Hall on Puebla Zocala]

In Mexico one always begins their tour in the center of the city at the Zocola or main Plaza where the Cathedral is situated and important buildings such as the Palacio Municipal or City Hall.

[Puebla Cathedral] [Cathedral Altar] [Shopping Gallery off Zocola]

[Cathedral from Zocola] [City Hall] [Balloons in the Zocola]

Surrounding Puebla's busy Zocola are many colorful cafés and restaurants great for lunches and people watching.

[Zocola Cafés] [Zocola Cafés] [Zocola Cafés]

Setting out from the main plaza we found many colorful walkways and small side streets. At the end of 6 Norte we found the famed and highly recommended Mesón Sacristía de la Campagnía where we returned that evening for dinner with our traveling companions, Buddy and Jerry.

[San Francisco Plaza] [North 6th Street] [Méson Sacristía de la Campagnía]

[Hotel Balcony] [Buddy & Gerry; Jim and Robin] [Hotel Lobby]

The old Centro area of Puebla was filled with beautiful old buildings and churches.

[Puebla Building] [Holy Spirit Church] [Puebla Building]

One of the highlights of our three days in the old city was a tour of the Uriarte Talavera Gallery and Factory where we watched them create colorful Talavera pottery.

[Uriarte Building] [Uriarte Courtyard] [Uriarte Courtyard]

The six stages of creating Talavera were displayed in the Gallery, and soon we were observing each from forming the clay, to drying and applying the first glaces.

[Six Stages] [Clay potter's wheel] [First glaze]

After the glaze is dried the pots are painted by hand with brilliant hand made paints before firing.

[Painting ceremic bowl] [Painter's palette of colors] [Painting ceremic bowl]

Other processes include creating pottery from moulds. After all are dried, the company name is applied to each piece.

[Molded pot] [Molded platter] [Company signature added]

Our tour guide was 80+ year old Isauro Uriarte, the last of the family members who have owned the factory since 1824. The Gallery displays many Talavera creations, including this platter that Jim purchased.

[Isauro Uriarte] [Uriarte Gallery] [Jim's purchase]

Puebla is blessed with a number of Museums. Our favorites were three that were once private homes decorated with the furniture of those families that lived there. The first was the José Luis Bello y Zetina Museum, once part of the adjacent church property, but sold off after the mid 19th century revolution that took away much of the church's control of Mexican life.

[José Luis Bello y Zetina Museum] [José Luis Bello y Zetina Museum] [José Luis Bello y Zetina and wife]

Their classic living room, dining room and bedroom furniture were on display on the second floor of this unique museum.

[Living Room] [Dining Room] [Bedroom]

The Bello and Gonzalez Museum was situated in a beautiful corner home and contained many expensive pieces collected by the family.

[Bello and Gonzalez Museum] [Museum Atrium] [Glazed Tile Details]

Another home museum was the Casa de Alfenique with the main living spaces, along with a private chapel, situated on the third floor.

[Casa de Alfenique] [Casa de Alfenique Living Room] [Casa de Alfenique Kitchen]

[Casa de Alfenique Chapel] [Casa de Alfenique Stairway] [Casa de Alfenique Doorway]

The Teatro Principal is considered one of the oldest theaters in Latin America and still houses many music and drama productions.

[Teatro Principal] [Teatro Principal] [Teatro Principal interior]

One of the most "colorful" churches is the Convent Church of Santa Rosa of Lima. Puebla's signature regional dishes "Molé Poblana" was reputed to have been first created here by the nuns in residence. One thing we learned on this trip that the word "Poblana" means a native of Puebla.

[Santa Rosa of Lima] [Santa Rosa of Lima] [Santa Rosa of Lima]

The University of Puebla Museum was currently displaying a special show of religious art centered around nuns who experienced ecstatic visions. One display case contained religious instruments of flagelation.

[Nun in Ecstasy] [University Museum] [Nuns carrying heavy weights]

Puebla was filled with many unique architectural buildings. The "Doll's House" is another famous University building so called for its elaborate decorative trim. In passing we discovered a wonderful private home courtyard opening to the street. And finally, the Biblioteca Palafoxania built in 1646 displayed its over 50,000 in a many leveled reading room open to the public.

[The [Typical house courtyard] [Biblioteca Palafoxania ]

Our stay in Puebla at the new NH Hotel, just across the street from St. Agustin parish, was comfortable, but just too short. We were off by bus next to Mexico City to see the Centenary Exposition of artist Frida Kahlo.

[St Agustin Church] [St Agustin Church] [NH Hotel]

[red line graphic]

Mexico City July 2007

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