Friday, November 2, 2012

Notes from Helen

Hola to all my friends!

Paul and I crossed the border into Mexico on October 25th. We spent our first night in the city of Saltillo then traveled on, heading south to the City of  Queretaro. In Saltillo we we able to obtain our Mexican cell phones as ours were rendered useless the minute that we crossed the border. In Queretaro, we bought a membership to Sam's Club. This was recommended to us by frequent travelers to Mexico as Sam's Club carries so many of the items that are familiar to us in the States, and are otherwise hard to find in Mexico.

We arrived in the city of Puebla on the 28th, which just so happened to be our 45th wedding anniversary. Paul surprised me with 2 dozen roses that he had purchased from a street vendor. Had to do a little adlibbing to come up with a vessel for the beautiful roses and this was the best that I could do..................a "camper vase"!


Our campsite is actually in Cholula which is just on the outskirts of Puebla. The park consists of 3 grassy courtyards all contained behind a gated wall. One of the courtyards is totally empty so we are able to let the dogs off leash and have them chase the ball till they are tired out. Since there is so much to see and do in this area, we decided to stay here a while. 


Puebla is Mexico's 4th largest city and is surrounded by mountains including the Popocatepetl Volcano. It is a very sophisticated city with a lot of history and is known throughout the country for it's food. The country's national dish, Mole Poblano, comes from here. The historic central area is elegant with a distinctive colonial flavor.



We spent a day walking around the city and taking pictures of the ornate centuries old cathedrals, the parks with their prolific trees all bearing exotic flowers and fruits, and the colorful colonial buildings with their outside cafes. At one of these, we enjoyed tasting some of the local traditional soups.


We were also privy to seeing local  groups perform their traditional dances and theatrical performances in the city's plazas.




The area is full of festivals and celebrations. The ambiance is every where.............even to the Sweet Shops which display the carefully sculpted skulls made of sugar. A fun and lively place to be this time of year despite the moniker.................Day of the Dead.



This is the time of year that the people Mexico celebrate their deceased loved ones in a holiday known as  "Dia de Muertos" of the dead. This is celebrated by the building of altars to honor their departed. These altars are usually built in households but can also be found street side and even in local plazas. The altar, dotted with candles, contains the photo or the portrait of the deceased.Offerings are placed on the altar by friends and loved ones in the form of flowers, fruits, sweets, and breads.................usually those favored by the deceased. Marigolds are the traditional flower used on the altars and fields of them can be seen growing in the surrounding area.




We were honored to be invited by the owner of our campground to visit the altar his family had made for his father. Having nothing else to offer, we left a half dozen of our anniversary roses to honor his memory.


We found that Cholula is home to the largest pyramid in the world. It is not as tall as Egypt's tallest, but it outranks it in volume. We entered into one of the underground tunnels................there are over 5 miles them.


All, of course, are not accessible. Most of the ruins remain under ground, but scattered throughout the hillside we could view sacrificial altars and plazas that had been is a work in progress.




When the Spanish came, 60,000 to 70,000 of the indigenous people were slaughtered in the tunnels of the pyramid. This was their most sacred ground, their religious focal point, and to add insult to injury, the Spanish conquerors built their Catholic church atop their holy ground. There is currently a movement to educate the local people that they are NOT Hispanic Not Latino, but are the surviving descendants of this once proud and prospering populace. 

Hope you are all doing well...............will keep in touch................hope you all do too!



  1. Hey guys its Donna.
    Great info, city looks beautiful. Nice that the girls could get in a good run. Roses are beautiful, so nice that you gave them up to honor his father. Have a safe journey, Paul no more getting lost on back roads at night ! Helen knows best...listen to her. I know you are as stubborn as Sam but us gals got the common sense. :-)