The Church of Acatepec in the village of  Santa Maria Tonantzinla (part of the municipality of San Andres Cholula) with its magnificent facade covered in Talavera; a mix of pre-Hispanic and Catholic religions

Puebla de Los Angeles is a world heritage city and a ‘living museum’ that encapsulates the essence of Mexico.

Located between the mythical Tenohitlan – today Mexico City – and Veracruz, Puebla has thrived for centuries. With its beautiful facades covered with tiles, its temples and convents, colonial architecture, impressive ‘Zocalo’ (main square), the former Archbishop’s Palace and museums, Pueblo and its surrounding villages speak of splendour, wealth and legacy.

The spires of Puebla

Puebla is famous for Talavera pottery, a traditional technique originating from Talavera de la Reina in Spain and has earned Puebla the name ‘City of Tiles’. Puebla is the largest producer of this kind of ceramics in the world and the Talavera de la Reina gallery has a superb range of affordable work, as well as some fine limited edition and unique pieces by leading Mexican artists. TheEye bought modestly but really wanted one or two larger more sculptural objects. But it was not to be – too big, too heavy and too expensive. She loved the ceramic handbags. Sadly the call of more Churches was upon us and it was time to go.

Unique wall pieces using the Talavera technique by individual artists

The stunning plate TheEye wanted but HUGE: too big to pack and too heavy to ship

Loved the table with ceramic insets

Wanted all of these – bought none!


After the capture of the city of Cholula during the Spanish conquest, Hernán Cortes swore to build a Christian Church in place of every pagan temple. An ambitious project as there were about 600.      A boost for the construction business at the time and not so great for the slaves. Missionaries from Spain who came to convert the population understood they needed to adapt their methods to relate to the Mexican peasant culture.

Throughout the centuries wealthy citizens and their ‘local boy made good’ reputations donated vast sums of money into what would be most visible, respected legacies and an ostentatious church ticked all the boxes.



Inside the opulence of the Church decor (no taking pictures allowed) was bizarrely bling (some bearing more resemblance to Studio 54 than places of worship), no holding back on the detailed ornamentation –  gilding, gold leaf and beautiful local tiles, covering the ceilings and walls. Even the edifices of Jesus and the Virgin had a disco look. Mary wearing a blue sequined gown and a seductive half-smile. Jesus bearing a strong resemblance to David Bowie.

Meanwhile, the Popocatepetl Volcano which last erupted in 2004 and still blowing out smoke dominates the landscape.

Watching over you – Popacateptl Volcano


Chillies that pack a punch – eat them and you will be on fire.

Puebla is one of the capitals of Mexican gastronomy – the infamous mole poblano – you love or you hate – is a spicy dark chocolate sauce served with different spices and herbs, with just about everything and considered one of Mexico’s most classical dishes. Chiles en Nogada is another firey regional dish and a large variety of sweets.

The markets are spotless and with a mind-boggling variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and, of course, everything is seasonal – when we were there it was watermelon season and also mangoes which have a sweetness and intensity of flavour to blow your brains as good as the famous Indian Alfonso’s.

As with all the places we visited, TheEye would have liked more time to explore more of the off-the-beaten-track surrounding villages, away from tourists, but it was onwards to San Miguel de Allende. A drive of over seven hours. See you there tomorrow. Yawn Yawn!


  1. What a mouth-wateringly delicious post! The collection should be published.Thank you again for a magical journey.

    • Janice Blackburn April 26, 2020 at 1:07 pm

      Penny what lovely comments. You are encouraging me to keep going and I hope you will start following
      my travel diaries from happy trips from years gone by …’NO PASSPORT, NO SUITCASE, NO HASSLE. THE BEST WAY TO TRAVEL WITH ‘THEEYE’. Coming soon to a computer near you.

  2. Felicity Osborne April 13, 2020 at 6:47 am

    Can’t believe you came back without one of those ‘It Bags’! Loved the chillis, melons & ‘mole’. Such a wonderful variety of pics, glimpses of an entirely different world especially appreciated now in Lockdown – you travel for all of us!

  3. Jenny Borgerhoff Mulder April 12, 2020 at 8:25 am

    Lovely to see all these wonderful images of Mexico yet to be discovered by me. Hopefully!
    Thank you!

  4. We can still dream! Thanks Janice for inspiring us with photos and wonderful writing about your travels. I have for years wanted to visit the home of Mexican talavera ceramics…fantastic to see details with The Eye!

  5. What a great trip! And just before lockdown— lucky you.
    Who knows when we’ll ever get to such places again. Your photos (such colours- such architecture) are gorgeous!

  6. Brilliant Jan

    You write so well and I love your photos

    I guess doing this really helps with lockdown? Thank you. Clare

    • Thank you Clare.
      Keep following and keep commenting ‘every little helps’.
      How are you and are you still baking banana bread?
      Yes, writing is therapeutic and reminds me of all the wonderful, interesting and fun trips we were lucky enough to take.
      Also keeps me in touch with people.
      Jan x

      • Fabulous Jan.
        Memories of a wonderful country.
        Will we ever be able to travel like this again?

        • Janice Blackburn April 11, 2020 at 8:40 pm

          Lovely to hear from you. You have been in my thoughts.
          How are all of you? Will try and catch up very soon.
          We had a bit of a hairy time getting home but made it fortunately.Take care.

  7. That watermelon! It was almost pop-art coloured. Can’t believe you were stopped from buying things you loved. Is that a first?!
    Oh how I miss travel. Will we ever travel again? Or just take flights of fancy? xx love K

    • Flights of fancy in my case.
      But so lucky to have seen so much of the world and had so many amazing and often mad experiences.
      Please keep following ‘the eye’. when Mexico is finished I will be re writing all my travel posts going back 5 years.
      And yes, the watermelon was that colour and tasted fantastic. Unlike the Mole sauce (dark chocolate with herbs and spices) that seems to cover everything and made me retch but is Mexico’s signature dish.
      Keep in touch.

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