A Travellerspoint blog

June 2015

Bienvenido a Puebla y Oaxaca

Where we both end up getting sick at some point over the last five days

View Central & South America on chellebelle's travel map.

It was Adios to Mexico DF and off to Puebla on our first bus trip. I have to say it wasn't bad. We took a first class bus so I guess that helped ease us into the long journeys we have coming up. After two hours of seeing miles of paddocks and green ranges (there was a even one that had snow on it!!) we arrived in Puebla. Puebla is a town renowned for it's churches and a few food dishes; Cemitas (massive sandwiches with cheese, chicken and avocado) and Chilli en Nogada (only available at certain times of the year...Stuffed chilli's with walnuts sauce and pomegranate seeds).


We arrived at our hostel and it was gorgeous just like the last one. We had a courtyard that all of the rooms looked over and once you entered the gate the hussle and bussle of the street had virtually disappeared. We spent the our afternoon exploring the area around our hostel. You can see in Puebla (and Oaxaca) that they cater to tourists a lot more than DF. They have signs in English at the bus station and on the streets pointing to the main areas of interest.
We started our mission to find a delicious cemita in Puebla. We had two different types. One was full of marinated chicken and the other was roast chicken with ham, quesillo (stringy cheese from Oaxaca) and avocado. Finding a good cemita can be a difficult task as it requires all the components to balance together. Our first two weren't bad, none of the components seemed to overwhelm the other ingredients. We were pretty happy and fill once we had finished.


We walked along Avenida 6 Oriente, also known as sweet street. At least every second store sold candy of some form. Most of them natural flavourings of fruit or milk with a huge amount of sugar and are based off the candy that was made originally in the area. That night, after the afternoon rain it was off to see the cathedral glowing. It was gorgeous! We stopped and stared at it for some time.


We were off to see the Rosary Chapel, a gorgeous gold encrusted room in one of the larger churches in Puebla the next day. The room was breath-taking, especially so as the light beamed in from the domes windows and caused everything to glisten and glow. It would have been easy to sit there and look at all of the intricate details in the room for hours.


As we continued exploring the city we discovered antique and handi-craft stores full of cute little momentos (Mum you would have loved it!).
Sadly we missed a street food tour with a local blogger which we heard about from our hostel but she recommended Moletos for us to try. A Moleto is a stuffed (in my case with quesillo) tortilla that is deep-fried and then covered with salsa and sour cream. They are terribly indulgent but so delicious all at the same time.


The next morning I convinced Lewis to go out for a lavish breakfast as we had a decent bus ride to Oaxaca (4.5hours). The food was amazing. I opted for the recommended Champurrado (a corn based spiced hot chocolate). It was creamy and thick and had a homely feeling as you drunk it. The addition of a churro to dip in the thick drink was amazing! The main course for breakfast was eggs with chilli beef and beans for Lewis and a trio of tamales for me. The tamales were delicious and featured a tasty mole, chicken and cactus! So good!

We were sad to leave Puebla. It was a great place I would have loved to explore the district even further! It is a place we will return too.


We arrived in Oaxaca and started the hot walk to our hostel. Hostel Azul Cielo again had a stunning outdoor space. We could have laid in the hammocks and on the bean bags all day, everyday! It was another peaceful and relaxing haven.


We started our time in Oaxaca with a walk around the Zocalo and market area. Lewis discovered Mayodroma, the chocolate shop that is everywhere in Oaxaca and is known for it's quality. Oaxaca is famous for it's chocolate as it has always had the stone grinders to make the chocolate. Chocolate here is not the same as the chocolate we would have at home. The sugar is not melted with the cocoa. It is still gritty and grainy in the mix. The chocolate is also spiced (usually with cinnamon) which helps add extra body to it.


We spent the next day doing a cooking class that our hostel had recommended. The class was amazing. We started with local market visit where we meet some of the producers and saw/tried numerous different items. The market was busy with the locals buying produce and bringing in more produce to sell. The first thing I instantly noticed compared to Mexico DF is there are a lot more people wearing indigenous clothing; females especially. We continued around and learnt that most meat is salted as it is hang up before it is sold...there is a lack of refrigeration in the market. Lewis and I were always very suspicious of the meat and that fact that flies weren't drawn to it. The salting processes put this all together for us. When we finally had everything we needed to make our dishes we were off with Chef Gerardo to his house to cook. His house was gorgeous and it had a massive outdoor kitchen for us to cook in.


Gerardo's Mum, who started the cooking school was around to help out with the prepping of ingredients. We made chilli rellenos, mole amarilla, tortillas, guacamole and tuna (cactus fruit) drink. It was great fun putting on the apron and learning all of the steps. Unfortunately 2/3rd's of the way through the class I fainted. Yep talk about awkward! The lovely lady ran around getting me cola and putting the fan on. Yep I feel pretty terrible that I couldn't handle the heat in the kitchen! The positive was that we discovered that coca-cola in Mexico is pretty tasty! I eventually felt good enough to continue and helped Lewis cook the rest of our meal. We played with the tortilla press and Lewis discovered how difficult it was to put the a fresh tortilla on the grill to cook. The meal was delicious and as we have learnt squeezing fresh lime on anything can add an extra dimension to anything and make it even tastier. The guacamole was very addictive. The crushed onion in it with guacamole and a small amount of chilli was exceptional. On our afternoon walk I dared to try nieve - a sorbet/ice cream that is made through out Mexico. I opted for the burnt milk flavour (a popular flavour in Oaxaca). It tasted like a bonfire and definitely took a little getting use too.


Our next day was spent on a tour so we could get out to Hierve El Agua. We started off at the town of Tule to see the massive tree. The tree is considered the widest tree in the world and there are many figures, like a deer head seen in it. It was a struggle to try and get it to fit in the picture frame. Next stop was at a weavers studio to see how the weaving of mats and carpets is traditionally done. We also learnt how they made all the natural dyes to colour the yarn.


Next it was off to the petrified waterfalls. This sight was truly beautiful. It was a cloudy day so sadly the layers of calcium didn't look as real but personally it didn't ruin this exceptional location. The views of both waterfalls and the surrounding area was something magical. It really did make the trip. Next we were forced into a buffet lunch which Lewis and I both weren't very happy about. The food was average at best and sadly Lewis ended up having a terrible night that night due to a touch of food poisoning or a stomach bug!


We headed off to Milta to look at the old ruins there. Our guide explained that this was a house of one of them and we saw how short the people were by the height of the arches. Basically the area originally had 70,000 residents (a lot for the time) but this was only 5000 people by the time the Spanish came through due to the wars with the Aztecs.


Our last stop was the Mezcal factory to learn the process of how Mezcal is made. Basically to sum it up the trunk of the Maguey Agave is put into a pit much like that of a hangi for six days to cook and smoke. Our lovely guide explained that the smaller the trunk the better as it would have more starch and sugar in it to ferment. These trunks are then crushed with a stone grind and put into a barrel to ferment. Lastly the distillation occurs and Mezcal is formed.

Today is a quiet day. Partially because I have no voice; I have some how lost it and have a chest infection and Lewis is still getting over his night. Tonight is our first overnight bus to San Cristobal de las Casas. Lets hope it's not as eventful there as it has been for us in Oaxaca!

Posted by chellebelle 11:27 Archived in Mexico Tagged of but us cooking class chapel oaxaca puebla cemita rossary reminded opotiki bigge Comments (0)

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