Tlaxcala is the smallest of Mexico’s 32 states and the 20th states, I visited. The capital of the state share the name with it. Maybe it was bad planning to go from the big city to such a small one, it felt like a cultural shock. It felt, like I had come to a village, far away from civilization. Luckily this first impression changed, when I came to the center of the city.
13th August 2018
I arrived by bus from Mexico City to the bus station of Tlaxcala. The bus station looked abandoned, even there were some people. The traffic outside however was too much for the streets. Also this is a usual view in Mexican cities. There was anyway something, which made me feel uncomfortable here. I tried to find my guesthouse by the GPS, but it did me show cities around and not the city of Tlaxcala. Eventually I found out, that the guesthouse I was looking for, was not far away from the hospital of the town. Now I had a direction, I could follow. To cross the streets were hard to do as well, there were no traffic lights, where I had needed some. When my GPS told me, that I should walk up for very long and high stairs, I preferred to ask the policeman, regulating the traffic at the first traffic light, I have seen here. After he had answered my question – and fortunately the street I was looking for, was in the other direction than the stairs, he took his scooter and drove away.
Finding the street was one thing, finding the number and the house another. I asked a pair, where the woman just opened a door to one of the houses with her key. Though I expected, that they were locals. Anyway they did not know in what direction the numbers were assigned. The guy did send me in the wrong direction. Luckily I saw that soon and turned around. Passing him again, I told him, that he was wrong. He did not apologize. Close to the guesthouse I did not find the number either, but at the corner stand a house, at which I found a number after I had looked at it from the other side of the street. I was looking for 34b, this one had 38 and the first one, where I had asked had the number 28. I walked back again, trying to see numbers, when a man asked me “Dorothy”. He was standing in the door of a café. Reading the name of the café I understood, that it belonged to the guesthouse. The man was going for the keys and let me then in i the house, which had a hand-written note with the name of the guesthouse. Inside I could read, that it was a guesthouse as well as an air-bnb. The only review that place had so far, was very positive. I think, they had got paid for it, because the house was not even worth the name guesthouse. The shared bathrooms, were one toilet and one shower/toilet for all the four rooms – of different sizes. The doors in there were small and the bathrooms as well. In the toilet were a strong, for my unusual smell. I thought first it was chlorine, but I am not sure. The room I have got has some furniture, which have seen better times. There is no window in the room, no decoration, but one small “home-made” (?) painting. The painting on the wall locks very old, but the worst of all is, that the wall to the next room, stops around half a meter under the ceiling, though I hear the people in the next room, even the snoring.
When I arrived I seemed to be the only guest, but after I had visited the town and came back, it was full. It may have to do with the celebration of the “Virgin Mary” or better the image of her, even called “Our Lady of Charity”, because the evening of the 14th is the most important day in the two-weeks-long festivity. The new guests seemed not have observed this mess and were quite noisy. Fortunately someone sneezed and I wished him “Salud”. An other evidence of the mess, the other person must have got, when I asked him, if he did have headphones. Eventually he did not make a lot of noise afterwards. They also had the doors to there rooms wide open. By the low wall I also get all the smells over here. It seemed, someone was smoking weed.
I had already started to take photos of the mess, because I had booked as usual by booking come, because I only had an invitation of a host for one night here. The hosts I had asked directly had not answered. Unfortunately I dropped my smartphone in the floor, which is of ceramic tiles. Since that, the smartphone is not working anymore. I took a photo of this nonfunctional wall with my tablet. I tried to charge the tablet, but without success. I hope I will find a way again to charge it, because otherwise I have not even a camera. What I try to say is, that I will send the photos to booking.com and asked them, how they can offer such a place.
As you can read above, I was to the center of the town in the afternoon. I was looking for a meal. That gave me a first impression of the center as well. This place is another one of the so-called “Pueblos Magicos”, but the town has no charm at all. The fact, that it was founded in 1525 makes it not automatically magic. It looks more like a village, which nobody really care about. I am wondering how the people can live here. The church or cathedral in the city center has damage from an earthquake. I thought, it was from the one last year, but I read on Wikipedia, that it is already from the earthquake in 1984. On the other side of the church is the Palace of Legislation, how I could read. In between these two buildings is, surprisingly a small “English” garden, which really is nice to look at. Close to it, one can find a real supermarket and two restaurants: A Domino pizzeria and a “Vips”. It seems to hold a little higher class if I had to charge after the prices, but they have not even table clothes on the tables. I ate my first (and only) “Chile en nogada” there. That was the dish I already should have tried in Puebla. This restaurant stated, that the dish is original. It may be and it is not spicy, even one of the main ingredients is chilly, but it is “sweet” chilly. The whole dish is a little sweet and it is not that taste, why I won’t eat it again. It just is not really my taste and for 139 MXN too expensive for eating it again.
At the supermarket I bought my evening meals, because I do not need restaurant or street food twice a day – it should be breakfast included in my booking. I also found a small bottle of the body lotion I became used to here. It has 120 ml and was for 20 MXN.
Back at the guesthouse I did not only realize the other guest, but also made my files. For the broken smartphone I could not really get it right, but it seems, I have not lost money out of my pockets. The next days I think I have to work with paper and pen instead. After a light evening meal around 9pm I started updating my blog.
14th August 2018
I worked hard with the update of my blog and did not sleep more than around an hour. When I made a longer pause it was 8am. I did not add photos and links to more photos, but that has to wait for some hours or maybe a day. I was happy in any case, that I remembered so much of the last week.
I had breakfast around 9am. It was included in the booking. First they did not ask, what I want to have to eat and came with something spicy. When I was asking, if it is spicy, because I saw a green salsa, I was told of the very old lady, who served me, that is just very little, because there is cream in the salsa. When I tried it, it was hot both ways: The temperature and the taste. I did not need to say anything, the owner came and asked me, what I would like to eat instead. Though I asked for an omelette with ham. First went the lady out, but was soon back, then went the owner out with his bicycle. It took a little longer before he was back. When he finally was back, it took some time before I had got the omelette, but it was not only filled with ham. It was also filled with tomatoes and onion. I was a little spicy at some points, though I think, the had not cleaned the pan after the dish before.
After breakfast I brushed my teeth and went to bed. I slept some hours. At 2pm I went to the crossing street, trying to catch a bus to Huamantla. The owner of the café and rooms had told me, that there is a collectivo from the corner, but he was wrong. I took a collectivo to the central bus station instead and the bus from Huamantla from there. The bus was waiting, bus tickets were sold by a female assistant directly at the bus. It was not possible to by the bus ticket at the counter.
The bus left soon. I took around an hour to Huamantla. This town is also a “Pueblo Magico” and that is no doubt about it, it is. I loved the town from the first beginning much more than Tlaxcala. The bus driver stopped at the street, where it already was prepared for the activities. I followed that street and came to the Zocalo with the church and what I thought, the government’s building, but it was a museum. I took a few photos and was looking for a restaurant. After a while I found one in another street and had a meal with small rolled, fried tortillas. I did not understand of the menu, that it would be those, but I eat them. It took a long time for me, because the knife was slow. The meal, together with a medium glass of Agua de Piña Colada (they did not have Agua de Horchata) was for 110 MXN. I was served all the time by a boy, maybe 12 years old. I left 10% as a tip.
The rest of the afternoon I followed the crowds through the streets, where – mostly young – people, where preparing the streets with art, close to mosaic. They worked with very small plastic bites, which they put on the street over templates and applied them by using strainers. They made very nice pictures by that, all the street down. While time was going, more and more streets were decorated and I thought, it may be a competition about this, because there were many beautiful creations.
A pregnant woman were holding on the walls, while she was walking down a street. She looked to be dizzy and I asked her, if I could help her, but I did not get any answer. She just continued. After a while I got a little dizzy as well. I bought a big mug with Agua de Horchata, which helped, even I was drinking it carefully and not fast.
I walked the street for another hour or two and was then asking a policeman for the bus terminal. Well there (it was quite close from the point, where I had asked him), I asked for the next bus, but they told me, the next one is during the next morning as well as that there are collectivos around 1pm and 2pm, going from the Avenue. I would have waited for the first one, but did not find that avenue. I continued with looking at the street art, but was looking for a taxi. I was so tired, that I was keen to go back to the guesthouse.
At the end of a street, where no more street art was in work, I tried to stop taxis, which drove by, but they were all occupied. I was anyway lucky, because the fifth or sixth one left its customer, where I stood. I asked the driver for the price and he told me 450 MXN, It was around the same price like between Escárcega and Calakmul. It was an hours drive back to Tlaxcala and I was OK with the price. Though I agreed. The driver later drove to the wrong place, but asked a local taxi driver for the street and brought me all the way to the guesthouse. He told me, that there were two city center in the city of Tlaxcala, which surprised me, I had only seen one. Anyway at the end he took 500 MXN instead for 450 MXN. I did not care about it, because the difference in EUR is just around 2.50. Well in my room I went to bed and fell asleep immediately.
15th August 2018
This day it had to move out of the guesthouse, what I was happy about, but my host for one night, had messaged me, that I was welcomed at 3pm and I also had to buy a ticket to my next destination, Xalapa, this day, because my upcoming host had asked me, when I arrive and offered me, to pick me up at the bus station, if it is outside her working hours.
I was a little late, but tried to have breakfast at around 9:30am. The café, belonging to the guesthouse, was closed. I knocked several times, but none opened, though I was going back to my room and packed. I took all my belongings and knocked again at the café, because I had to check out. It took a while, when finally two girls did open and I gave them the key and told them, that in my room was a breakfast included and I wished to get my breakfast. Though I was welcomed in and they did start to make the breakfast. Meanwhile the owner and his mother arrived. The owner told the girls something about, that the café should be open. I was not happy and the owner and his mother could see it. The mother asked me something about when I had been back and if I enjoyed Huamantla. I only gave a short answer. They never apologized for the closed café.
I was not in the mood to ask them, if I could leave my backpacks there for a while. I was too disappointed about that place. Though I was walking to the Central bus station. There I bought my ticket, but unfortunately there was no place, where I could leave my luggage. Though I spent my time there, just waiting for the time to run until I took a taxi to my new host. It was actually too far away for a walk and my backpacks feel so heavy. Fortunately there is a bathroom at the bus station, where I can leave my backpacks at the counter, where everyone, using the bathroom, has to pay 3 MXN. Though it was quite comfortable anyway, but I could not see more of the town. It was a lost day.
Arriving at my new host, the daughter Katie, who had invited me, opened the door. She had a short chat with me, their mother came to greet me as well and Katie asked me, what I had seen of Tlaxcala so far and told me, I should go and see the murals of the government building. She told me, that I could go downtown by a collectivo and followed me to the place, where it is leaving. She did not accompany me. The bus stopped behind the supermarket, where I had been the day I arrived in town and bought something to eat. I also could see a tower of the cathedral. Though I left the bus there. I found the way to the cathedral – even it was another side of it, where I now really could see, that there was a tower missing. I took some photos of the cathedral, the park and other buildings close there and was on my way to the government building, when it started raining. I had to run, not to get very wet. At the government building I was looking for the murals, but a policeman asked me to come back and told me than, that they are in another port of the building. I could not go there for a while, because the heavy rain. When it finished raining, I was looking for the other port and found the murals. I took photos of the murals and was walking up the stairs, where I took more photos. There I had to put the external battery to the tablet, because it had already run out of charge again – it had not been fully charged, when I started to take photos. It was now I also checked my photos I had taken before and saw, that they were not saved. I think it was because of the low battery. I took new photos of the murals, but had no energy to take new photos of the other buildings and the park. This site of the town was somewhat beautiful.
When I finished at the government building it had started raining again, though I used my rain cape and was going to the supermarket. I hoped to find a little block, where I could easily write down my expenses. So far I had them in my mind, but it had not been many that day, just for the taxi, the collectivo and I had bought a sweet in a shop on the way to the supermarket. I still felt for a chocolate cake of dark chocolate. I did not find a small block, but they sold pens and big blocks for school. I had a note with me about the address of my host and took a pen, writing the expenses on the back of it. Now I was looking for a chocolate cake. I did not find any, but at the cash a little one, which I bought. Fortunately I have got a receipt there, though I did not write down the amount somewhere.
It was time to try to find a collectivo back to my host, but even I had remembered the bus company going there, when I asked for the colonia “los Volcanos”, where Katie lives, I was told, the bus is not going there. Though I did take a taxi again. By the way the collectivos of this company were numbered, but that was no routes. The collectivos of the other companies were not numbered at all. I had to pay 70 MXN for the taxi again, even the driver did take another way – without traffic jam and also found the street easily – that means, he found the street above and I had to tell him, that it was not that one, but the one to the left on it.
I was invited for a tea and a round bread with amaranth of Katie. On one wall of the kitchen were pictures of her brother and her after taking exams. Of her brother were also the diplomas at the wall. Her brother is an architect. She is studying medicine and in her 7th semester of 11. I do not know what her parents are working with or what they have for education, but Katie told me, that their diplomas are hanging on the walls of their parents (her grandparents) and will be there until the grandparents have died. Later the family had a meal and I got to know the father as well. I was asked for the meal as well, but I told them, that I already was full. Soon after the meal Katie came with covers for the bed – the couch. All were going to sleep, though was I. Just before Katie was going upstairs to her room, she had told me, that her mother and she will leave very early next morning, but her father will be at home all the day, though I could go and come as I wished.
16th August 2018
I was up some times during the night and awoke around 7am, but took my medicine just before 8am. I was not awaiting her mother around 9am and very surprised about it, what I told her. I was just going to cook water for a coffee – my own instant. She told me, they had changed their mind. Even Katie came down soon and the father, when they called for him. That made all my planning changing. I thought, I will update my blog before I leave and was also prepared to had my own breakfast. I had still some left I bought the first day in town. I had tried to charge my tablet by my notebook, but that was not working either. Though I tried it one more time directly with the plug-in the contact. I had taken of the protection around the tablet and it was working a little better now, but it was not time enough to charge a lot. I will save that for the moment I arrive in Xalapa. If I need to get in contact with my new host.
I was invited for a Mexican breakfast. It was different as I was used to. It was a mixture of beef in strips, which was more cooked, than fried together with tomatoes and onion. On the site of it I have got a bean tortilla. They also offered me something sweet, but just before Katie left she told me, there will not be something sweet just now and that they have to leave. Though I thought I also had to leave and hurried to wash my face etc, brush my teeth and dress. I packed my backpacks and was then asked, if I would not take a shower and stay respectively come back later, because the father will be at home all the day. I already had decided to go to the Central bus station, where I could write the text for my blog and try to go there by a collectivo. I was not willing to spend another 70 MXN for a taxi. I thanked the family for all and left. By the way, this family was one of the Mexican families, who were not so warm like most of them. I did not really feel comfortable with them.
I survived the hours at the bus station and was happy, when I finally could enter the bus. I was lucky, that I did not have a person on the side of me for half the time of the travel, because I had to take my smaller backpack inside the bus. It was an ADO bus and they are not flexible. For the four hours ride I was happy, to have a bathroom onboard, but I did not use it.
The bus arrived a little late – after the trip throughout a beautiful nature. There were “cerros” and mountains and before we arrived in Xalapa, it was looking like in a fairytale, but more about Xalapa you can read by following me back to Veracruz.
Unfortunately I lost all my photos I did take of Tlaxcala the last day there, because of a problem with my SD-card. Fortunately I did save the photos of Huamantla directly on my tablet, though for the few photos of Tlaxcala and more photos of Huamantla please click here.