We really had a great time with Kylie in Cholula last week, mostly because we hadn’t seen her for three months, a new experience for us, and mostly because she’s doing so well on her own in the wide world (more to come on that). However, another big part of our enjoyment was that Cholula is not your typical Mexican vacation destination. Beyond the UDLA, which boasts a sizable number of international students, it was rare that we saw other gringos like us, or other foreigners from anywhere.
For a city of close to 100,000, Cholula has a small town feel. Below, for example, is el camino real, the main street, west of the UDLA campus. We walked this street several times between our hotel and Kylie’s campus.
Below, you can even see a small Scandinavian influence on the main drag. I’m a little disappointed now that we didn’t stop in for a hamburger.
A couple of kilometers (gotta use the local measurements) west of the UDLA is el zocalo, or the town square. Here’s a view from our hotel window.
Kylie had arranged for us to stay at a couple of places near the zocalo, the first being a bed and breakfast called estrella de belem, or Star of Bethlehem.
This was a pretty cool place to stay. It’s an old, colonial hacienda (house) with all of its rooms arranged around a courtyard.
Our room had about a 25 foot ceiling of old wooden timbers and we were told it had been the kitchen. I didn’t smell any bacon.
Friday morning (we’d arrived in the dark Thursday night), I went up to the roof to see Popocatepetl, el vulcan de Cholula.
The church in the foreground was next to estrella de belem. According to Kylie, Cholula has the highest density of churches in all of Mexico.
In the other direction, spitting distance away, was the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
It looks like a hill topped by a colonial church, but under that hill is the Great Pyramid, which was either destroyed by the Conquistadors or covered by the Cholutecas themselves to protect it, depending on who you talk to (more later on the pyramid). Below is a shot of estrella de belem from on top of the pyramid. The glass pyramid on top of the building was right above the common area next to our room.
Our last night in Cholula we stayed at hostel del zocalo right on the zocalo. Being it was a Saturday night, it was a little crazy down below, but fun to be so close to the action. We had the corner room on the upper level.
Here’s the side street down below. Pizza delivery, anyone?
There’s a brief tour for you. I plan to post more about Kylie, and also some cultural observations, in the coming days, so here’s to following through!