After our arrival in Puebla and a group dinner, some went out in search of dessert. Shelley and I returned to our room and went to bed. The next day, Wednesday December 8, was an off day for the group. We were free to do what we wished and go wherever we liked. As a group, we did set another dinner reservation for 8:00 pm that night, but that was optional. Other than that, we just needed to be packed up and ready to go by 8:00 am Thursday morning.
Shelley and I decided that we were going to try to go to see the Great Pyramid of Cholula. We ran into some of our group coming back in from their morning stroll around the square and they told us where there was an information booth. Yes, we were a bit late. They had already been out and had breakfast and were coming back in for a break and we were just leaving the hotel. But we slept pretty good! We found the information booth and between Shelley’s Spanish and their English, we figured out where the bus station was and how to get to Cholula. It was just a short 20 minute walk to the bus station and then a 30 minute bus ride to Cholula. The driver was a good guy too. He told us where to get off to make the walk to the pyramid shorter and told us where to return to catch the bus going back.
We spent about 3 hours exploring the pyramid and the church up on top. It was all pretty interesting. I can only imagine how spectacular it might be if Mexico could continue to excavate the rest of the pyramid. My guess is very, very little is actually exposed or explored. When they built the church on top of the “hill”, they didn’t realize it was actually a covered pyramid. Now that there’s a church up on top (built between 1594 and 1666), they would only be able to excavate the lower areas around the base so as not to damage the foundation of the church.
The inside was unbelievable. It wasn’t very big, but there were tons of flowers everywhere and the small size of the interior really captured the flowers aroma. Especially up by the altar.
After checking out the church and the grounds directly around it, we walked back down to the base of the pyramid and checked out the areas that had been excavated. Here are some photos of the base showing some relationship to the church at the top. Unfortunately, there really wasn’t much in the way of explanations to what we were looking at. There were signs in English, but the explanations were vague and didn’t go into details.
We hung out a bit in Cholula for a bit longer. We looked around the square but it was pretty small. There were a lot of pilgrims taking breaks in the square on their way to Mexico City for the festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Little did we know that this was nothing yet. There were millions of pilgrims all around Mexico heading to Mexico City. Anyway, we didn’t have a good map of Cholula or have any ideas of what else to see and we didn’t want to get lost, so we didn’t explore too much. We had read that there was about 1km of tunnels under the pyramid that was open to the public and we tried to go see that, but found out that due to a cave-in, the tunnel was closed to tourists. We did check out this church near the square. We found out that it was one of the oldest churches in Mexico with its foundation dating back to 1549. So, after about four hours of sight-seeing we headed back to the bus stop and caught another bus back to Puebla.
Once back in Puebla, we had a few hours before dinner. We checked out the main church in the square but didn’t go inside. They were getting ready for a Christmas concert that night and it looked like things were busy, so we just walked around the outside. We walked around the square a bit before finding a little restaurant in the square and had some appetizers and beer. We just hung out and people watched and relaxed.
Here are some pictures taken in and around the square.
Shelley and I met back up with out climbing group for dinner that night. Jake knew of an Italian pizza place. Kind of odd to go to pizza in Mexico, but it was nice. We had a good dinner then went back to our room to get our bags ready for the following morning. We would be getting up early, around 7:00 I believe, to meet for a group breakfast in the hotel and then load up the bus again and head to Tlachichuca. We would be spending our next night on Pico de Orizaba.