From lush to dust: the drive from Xalapa to Cholula

Not all travel days can be party days. Coming from two wondrous travel days visiting Pre-Columbian ruins and pueblos mágicos in the State of Veracruz, the drive from Xalapa, Veracruz to Cholula, Puebla, turned out to be a bit of a letdown. Really, though the sites on the menu were promising and full of historical resonance, none of them turned out to be especially memorable. 

La imagen tiene un atributo ALT vacío; su nombre de archivo es captura-de-pantalla-2020-02-04-a-las-19.56.34.png
Just notice the colours on the map!

We left our fun hotel in Xalapa mid-morning. I was almost shocked at how fast the landscape changed as the highway skirted around Cofre de Perote. Even before leaving the state of Veracruz, the lush semi-tropical rolling hills of Xalapa turned into an seemingly infinite expanse of dusty, arid terrain. Páramo, we say in Spanish. Moorland. To make matters worse, we were driving on a long, straight, boring highway, with only the occasional distraction.

Indeed – the occasional distraction

Driving into Tlaxcala was quite the ordeal, with road works that slowed us down. Luckily, we found parking in the centre, next to the cathedral. The city centre was small but pleasant enough, with a small market full of artisans’ stalls where we bought inexpensive presents. 

Tlaxcala’s cathedral
And its bull ring

Our next stop was Huejotzingo, that boasts the site of one of the first monasteries in the Americas. We walked around it and took photos, then had a terrible and overpriced meal – the only bad culinary experience of the week. Huejotzingo, a truly ugly place that I hope never to return to. 

Huge tree welcoming us to the monastery

We made our way back to the car, feeling tired, hot and anxious to, as it were, shake the dust off our feet and get out of the place. It was indeed time to press on to make it to Cholula in time to visit the remains of the Great Pyramid.

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