Tlaxcala, ¡sí existe!

Just before walking to the main square in the city of Tlaxcala, capital of the eponymous state, I told Ferda about how Mexicans make jokes about the tiny state of Tlaxcala not really existing except perhaps in fairy tales. How appropriate then some thirty minutes later to see for the first time the state tourism board’s motto: Tlaxcala, ¡sí existe! (Tlaxcala, yes, it exists!)

IMG_20230503_134917 by bryandkeith on flickr

The tradition that I have always associated with Tlaxcala is pulque,

IMG_20230502_141315 by bryandkeith on flickr

and indeed here’s Ferda trying five different pulques (verde, manga, piñon, tamarindo, and natural) at Pulquería la Tía Yola on Plaza Xicohtécatl in the center of the state capital. Natural was our favorite.

IMG_20230503_174923 by bryandkeith on flickr

But first how did we get to Tlaxcala? Turned out again to be a bit of a bus adventure to get from Orizaba via Ciudad Serdán (a corn growing area), El Seco (apples), and Zacatepec (vegetables) to Huamantla, yet another pueblo mágico.

IMG_20230501_151234 by bryandkeith on flickr

We found some tasty food and drinks at the mercado municipal,

IMG_20230501_155812 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230501_170501 by bryandkeith on flickr

and walked around the small city a bit.

IMG_20230501_152432 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230501_154441 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230501_180915 by bryandkeith on flickr

The area is high (2500m) and fairly flat. For the next day I was hoping we could rent bicycles and visit a couple of the nearby haciendas where supposedly they make pulque and offer fancy lunches for tourists. Huamantla is a pueblo mágico after all. Alas, no bicycle rental. What to do?

Well, I said the area was fairly flat. It’s certainly not completely flat. SW of town is the 4440m volcano, La Malinche (aka Matlalcueye or Malintzin). Our decision to climb it was rather last minute. I scrambled around in the morning trying to find tamales or something we could take with us for lunch. Oxxo was the only thing open so we ended up with a selection of processed, packaged junk food. I also managed to forget my sun hat. We took a taxi to 3100m to start our walk.

IMG_20230502_083237 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230502_131039 by bryandkeith on flickr

At treeline we got our first view of the false summit which just barely hides the real summit.

IMG_20230502_094240 by bryandkeith on flickr

A bit higher up we caught up with five young friendly locals who shared their watermelon, pulque, and music with us. La Malinche may be higher than anything in the 48 US states, but that’s no reason to take it too seriously (when there’s snow, however, you need crampons and an ice axe).

IMG_20230502_100953 by bryandkeith on flickr

Ferda started noticing the altitude at about 4100m. By 4300m her head was throbbing and with each step she thought she’d throw up. It didn’t help that neither of us help had slept well (at 2500m) the night before. She told me to go on the short distance to the summit.

Ferda waited at the base of this boulder field at the dark colored rock that juts out from the ridge.

IMG_20230502_112233 by bryandkeith on flickr

The summit view was not exciting. May is the hottest month in Tlaxcala, the end of the dry season, and the air is very hazy. Orizaba, Popocatépetl, and Iztaccíhuatl were not visible (they sometimes are). Here I am at the summit of the sixth highest peak in Mexico and the third highest peak I’ve ever climbed!

IMG_20230502_113836 by bryandkeith on flickr

As we descended, it didn’t take long for Ferda to feel better.

IMG_20230502_131214 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_153416_1 by bryandkeith on flickr

The next morning we made the great decision to leave Huamantla and take a short bus ride to Tlaxcala. Wow, another Mexican jewel!

IMG_20230503_140614 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_135453 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_171107 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_164554 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_150506 by bryandkeith on flickr

The Palacio del Gobierno houses some impressive murals by Desiderio Hernández Xochitiotzin, “the last of the Mexican muralists”, according to our guide. The murals depict Mexican history.

IMG_20230503_155134 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_160929 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_155247 by bryandkeith on flickr

I liked the small Capilla del Pocito with its (according to me) Islam influence via Andalucia.

Capilla del Pocito by bryandkeith on flickr

There’s a bullring that appears (we saw an advertisement for tickets) to still host bull fights.

IMG_20230503_143656 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_143649 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_144342 by bryandkeith on flickr

We also visited a small art museum which houses some (five or six?) early Frida Kahlo works. Retrato de Miguel N. Lira (1927) is supposed to illustrate the development of Frida’s style.

Retrato de Miguel N. Lira, 1927 by Frida Kahlo by bryandkeith on flickr

The biggest treat was visiting the state legislature building (Palacio Legislativo) with its beautiful stained glass ceiling, portraying the four Tlaxcalan rulers at the time of the Spanish arrival.

IMG_20230503_165435 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_165632 by bryandkeith on flickr

The guard showed us around a bit and took us into the room where laws are debated. He explained that Tlaxcala has 25 delegates — 13 women, 12 men! Yes, he boasted, Mexico is losing its machoness, but he also complained that some men still make it difficult for women to legislate.

Tlaxcala was a wonderful small city to walk around for a few hours.

IMG_20230503_153416 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_144149 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_153506 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_153957 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_154046 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230503_181655 by bryandkeith on flickr
This entry was posted in Mexico, Traveling and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Tlaxcala, ¡sí existe!

  1. Jennie Werner says:

    So much color and beauty!

  2. Mike Painter says:

    You sure are seeing a lot! It all looks wonderful!

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