Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 230 miles, approximately 5 hours riding time. Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours during field trip; gravel paths, cobblestones, generally flat and uneven, high and uneven stone steps.
At the hotel.
We will check out of the hotel early and board our motorcoach for the transfer to Puebla, México’s fourth-largest city, important for its rich history, culture, and economy. Our ride will cross agricultural fields nicely divided by stone walls and rolling hills that encircle México City. As we go, our Study Leader will give us a presentation on pre-Columbian cultures. En route, we will stop for a field trip at Teotihuacan, one of México’s most noted archeological sites, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. From the UNESCO inscription: “The holy city of Teotihuacan (‘the place where the gods were created’) is situated some 50 km north-east of México City. Built between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D., it is characterized by the vast size of its monuments — in particular, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, laid out on geometric and symbolic principles. As one of the most powerful cultural centers in Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan extended its cultural and artistic influence throughout the region, and even beyond.” Known as the City of the Gods, Teotihuacan was the home of an important culture that influenced succeeding Mesoamerican civilizations and a population greater than Rome from the 1st century BCE to the 5th century CE. We will explore the site with our Study Leader, walk along the Avenue of the Dead, and enter some of its palaces. Elective. Those who like to climb the famous Temple to the Sun (approximately 200 feet high) and the slightly smaller Temple to the Moon, are welcome to do so. Both are reached by steep flights of many stone steps.
At a restaurant near the Teotihuacan archeological site.
Continuing our journey, the Study Leader will lecture on Mexico’s renowned cuisine as well as completing the chronicle of Mexican history to conclude with present day Mexico. Arriving in Puebla, we stop at the monumental fountain of the fort area where the Battle of Puebla was fought on Cinco de Mayo: May 5, 1862. The outnumbered Mexicans, led by General Zaragoza, outfought the superior French force, providing a moral victory in the larger war against foreign intervention. We will check in to our hotel with some time to freshen up. Puebla — originally Ciudad de los Ángeles, city of the Angels — was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its wealth of historical and cultural riches, especially architecture. With our Study Leader, we will explore this urban treasury and some of its outstanding sites on foot and by motorcoach. Its gems of Spanish-colonial buildings include over 360 churches, palaces, a historic library and private houses, many of which are decorated with colorful ‘azulejos’ — Talavera-style ceramic tiles. Begin to explore the city center with your Study Leader before dinner. The Biblioteca Palafoxiana, founded in 1646, was the first public library in the Americas and has been listed in UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” register. Arrive at the monumental cathedral viewed from the exterior. Begun in 1575 and completed in 1649, it is the second-largest in Mexico; its twin bell towers are the tallest in the country. Time on your own to enjoy life on the Zocalo or you may join the Group Leader on a walking exploration of the Church of Santo Domingo to appreciate the baroque ornamentation of the world famous Capilla del Rosario — Chapel of the Rosary located inside the church— lavishly covered with gold leaf. Gather again for dinner at a rooftop restaurant facing the cathedral which is magnificently lit at night.
A three course dinner is served plated, individual and family style; a non-alcoholic drink is included, other beverages available for purchase.