(Updated June 2020)
The start of the second morning wasn’t off to the best start. For starters, I woke up in the morning feeling like crap and slightly frustrated that I was getting sick 2 days into the tour. It wasn’t from alcohol as I know I didn’t drink that much the night before. I stuck to XX Amber and Negro Modelo, which are two of my favorite Mexican beers.
Instead of breakfast, I tried getting a few more minutes of sleep along with taking a shower. Unfortunately, I still wasn’t feeling up to snuff. I barely managed to pack with enough time to walk down stairs and catch the bus. Thankfully, once on the bus, I started to feel a little better. Sitting down seemed to be the best option at the time.
Journey from Puebla to Cuernavaca
Today’s journey took us about 3 hours to get from Puebla to Cuernavaca, with a stop at Tepoztlan.
Pueblo Magico of Tepoztlan was a longtime home base among precipitous cliffs and temples of the Nahua people. Tepoztlan is thought to be the birthplace of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent-god nearly 1200 years ago.
Unfortunately, in 2009, Tepoztlan title of Pueblo Magico was revoked in for noncompliance. It didn’t take the town long to fix whatever issue it had and regained the title approximately a year later.
This town is famous for two things:
- Remains of a temple built on top of the nearby Tepozteco mountain,
- The exotic ice cream flavors prepared by the townspeople.
While standing in Tepoztlan’s zócalo (town center), Ish gave us a little background on their agriculture. The most commonly grown items in this region are maize and a variety of other grains. A very adorable elderly woman allowed Ish to use her grains, brought to the market for sale, as our classroom.
At this time, sickness symptoms were becoming more prominent the longer I stood in the sun. Plus, wandering through the market with the very potent perfumes of fish, chili, and raw meat did not aid in my survival of the day. But, I’m also stubborn in the sense that I wasn’t going to let it stop me.
Ex Convento Dominico de la Natividad
Once through the market, Ish brought us to entry way of Ex Convento Dominico de la Natividad. This cathedral looked more like a fortress than it did a cathedral. However, the entry way to this cathedral was completely compiled from grains and maize. It was also our second UNESCO World Heritage Site, inducted in 1994, of the trip.
I struggled to comprehend exactly what Ish was saying regarding this cathedral. I dp believe he said that this was the location where the Spaniards did all but force the local indians to convert to Catholicism. However, I wouldn’t quote me on this fact. My brain could barely function.
Ice Cream of the Gods
On our walk back to the bus, we stopped in at Tepoznieves, the local ice cream shop. We all wanted to to have a little taste Tepoztlan famous Nieve de Dioses- Ice Cream of the Gods.
Tepoznieves has more than 120 flavors of ice cream and sorbet. Their flavors range from the typical strawberry, chocolate, and bubble gum to beets, maize, and tamarind. I selected pistachio (favorite), cappuccino and mango. All three were exceptionally delicious!
I was fading quickly once continued our bus journey towards Cuernavaca. Ice cream was probably not the most intelligent of decisions, but it’s ice cream. I just couldn’t say no.
Cuernavaca is located in the state of Morelos, Mexico. It was established by the Olmec over three thousand years ago and is nicknamed “the city of the eternal spring.” It’s nickname stems from its stable, warm climate with abundant vegetation, which was very accurate.
It was only about 80 degrees that day, but I felt as if I was going to pass out standing in the middle of the city center. Thankfully, we didn’t have a walking tour scheduled. We were provided with free time to gather lunch and do a bit of shopping. The majority of the crew ate lunch at a local 100% Natural restaurant. I spent most of the initial portion with my head face down on the table. I remember hearing Ish say, “I think we’ve lost Nicole.”
At this point of the day, I was running on low fuel and knew I needed to eat. I kept it simple with a bowl of fruit and a lemonade for some natural sugar. It was good from what I can remember, but it still didn’t push me back to 100%.
Once our free time came to an end, we ventured off to our hotel. It was weird because we didn’t stay in a typical Mexican style hotel. We stayed at the brand new Holiday Inn Express. While everyone was off hitting the pool, I took a freezing cold shower and PASSED out hard for a solid 3 hours.
I hated missing out on the fun, especially this early in the trip, but I knew I needed to take a break. It was still early in the trip and a few hours away would make the rest of the trip more enjoyable.
Included Dinner #1
I rallied awake and got ready for dinner. Our dinner tonight was included in the tour, which does happen occasionally on a Contiki tour. The menu for the evening was a delicious spread of salad, veggies, chicken mole and a select few beverages.
Some of my fellow travelers enjoyed their very first Squirt and tequila. Squirt is a grapefruit flavored soda that’s common in Mexico, and it is delicious. I would normally drink it both solo or combined with tequila whenever I would vacation in Mexico.