Saturday, March 03, 2012

Popocatepetl, Puebla and Pozos

Just outside of Puebla, where the Cuota (toll highway) meets the regular traffic you spot this massive sight looming over the landscape. This is Popocatepetl, second largest volcano in Mexico and increasingly active since January of this year. It's only 25 miles west of Puebla and has been smoking and burping ash off and on for centuries. It's 17,802 ft. tall. Under the shadow of the volcano indeed. 

One of our day trips included a visit to the neighboring town of Cholula where we saw Tlachihualtepetl temple, an archaeological site containing the world's largest pyramid. The Catholics came and built a church right on top of it (they love to do that) so in addition to the pyramid we got to see the Senora de los Remedios cathedral.

It's a strenuous climb to the top of the hill but we made it by moving very slowly. Mexico is a high country; Oaxaca is 5085 ft. elevation and San Miguel is 6500 ft. so imagine thin air and light headedness. I was pretty much dizzy the entire month.

Here's a shot showing the church towering above the city of Cholula. It made me wonder what was under that mountain; I also said a little prayer for the slave labor that had to haul all those big stones up that hill. It's really incredible to imagine the effort that went into such a structure.

Puebla was a new city in Mexico for us to experience. It's a gorgeous place, halfway between Mexico City and Veracruz; has a lovely colonial central area where we stayed and it reminds me of parts of Europe. It calls itself the City of Angels and the people are very proud of their mixed heritage.

It has one of the biggest cathedrals and loudest bells of any church I've visited in Mexico. When those bells ring your whole body vibrates; it's incredibly thrilling. 

Inside the church are too many wonders to recount. Here's a burning saint, one of my favorite themes. I don't know if he's a martyr or a sinner but he looks uncomfortable.

The food in Puebla was exquisite. The people there are referred to as Poblanos. Like the chili pepper.

Here the driver and navigator consult the map. A good map is indispensable for any explorer.

One last good-bye to Puebla as we hit the road again.

Good-bye to the Popo volcano. Source of wonder.

Teotitlan. Out of sequence. But lovely still.

Now we're on our way to Pozos, outside of San Miguel de Allende.

Contrasts. This lovely gazebo in the town square.

Someone's humble front door. But you never know what exists behind those unassuming walls. 

Now we're in Pozos, a town that was once booming but now rests quietly with only a fraction of the former residents.

We enjoy a wonderful meal here served by some of the intrepid inhabitants who've stayed on to reclaim the city.

After our meal we venture into the countryside to visit the ruins of the silver mines. The smelters, wells and buildings that lie quietly and attest to former greatness.

As you see I'm wearing sensible shoes on the desert. I make no excuses for how I am.

This is a desolate, abandoned place. There are no tourists, no signs of life. Only the wind and the stone ruins.

We imagined these narrow, cool hallways might have been a storage area for food. 

Thick walled adobe and stone.

From the other room I hear "Malaguena Salerosa" playing ... a beautiful accompaniment as I write about our experience of Mexico. I was raised on the desert and I will always carry the desert in my heart. 

Tomorrow we'll wrap up in San Miguel Allende.


Parabolic Muse said...

Oh my, those stone ruins in the quiet are SO inviting. Cleansing, actually. I would love that.

Unknown said...

I almost feel warm seeing you in that sunny place. So beautiful! I've never been to Mexico but I loved Guatemala. The people there are so incredibly kind.
Thanks for taking us along...enjoying the journey. :)

adeola's studio said...

thank you judy for such a lovely post and allowing us to enjoy the journey with you!

Numinosity said...

Thanks for the tour. I haven't yet been to that part of Mexico although tonight we'll be stepping over the border for some tacos al pastore, we're that close.
Enjoy your visit. I remember first hearing about San Miguel de Allende when my brother went to art school there back in '74. It sounds like an amazing place.
Have you ever checked out Alamos? I hear it's kind of like San Miguel used to be years ago. They have a wonderful week long music festival in January.

lyle baxter said...

I am enjoying your journey! the burning saint does indeed look upset! I've known the name of the volcano since I was small dont know why but until today never saw a photo of it. Thank you!

roc said...

wow judy....what an incredible experience it looks like you had. your photos are stunningly beautiful.

Dorylyn said...

Thank you for sharing your trip! I got goosebumps looking at the pictures. If I could live anywhere it would be Mexico!

Julie-Ann Bowden said...

Wow, looks so beautiful! Gorgeous photos, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful time :)

Lynn Cohen said...

OHMYGOD what beauty you saw and experienced. I am in awe. I want to go there too. Wow.
Thank you for taking and sharing these wonderful photographs. What memories for you. And for us.

Wow. Wow. Wow!!!

Unknown said...

Judy, Thanks for sharing your beautiful experience. I look forward to more photo's. look fabulous in your sensible shoes!!! Quite chic in fact! xo

Beth said...

Loving your pictures, Judy. Thanks for including some of yourself (that one of you - tiny- in the doorway of the ruins is fabulous! but the self-portraits are too.) I'm especially delighted to see the volcano, since my artwork these days is all about Iceland and volcanic landscapes -- and yours is so sunny!

hehjude said...

I love Mexico! Your photos were awesome! Thanks for sharing. I hope I'm lucky enough to win this book - it looks great!