When we received the itinerary for the Puebla, Mexico tweet up trip I immediately scanned the schedule and mentally circled the items I was looking forward to. The visit to the Cantona Ruins perked my curiosity as did the mole poblano cooking class. Who doesn’t love to eat great Mexican Food?
One item on the list did not elicit much excitement. The last day we were to visit the Santa Catarina Talavera Ceramic Workshop in Cholula. When I tried to picture what a tour of a ceramic factory might be like, I immediately felt like a diabetic with low blood sugar. Even the thought of the upcoming tour bored me to a near faint.
I tried my best to keep an open mind on the upcoming event. We tooled around the streets of Cholula for twenty minutes trying to find the place. I was somewhat hoping we would get lost and opt for a margarita instead.
Alas we pulled into the facility and were met by the proprietress. We were led into a room with shelf upon shelf of beautiful ceramic products made here onsite. The tour was led by Fernanda Gamboa who is the creative force and runs the workshop.
She must have took one look at my hat and realized I was not a ceramic aficionado because she succinctly summarized the history, the processes, and products made at this interesting workshop. She even stated that she did not want us to get bored as she led us briskly from room to room.
First of all, you are probably wondering what Talavera is. The technique has its roots in the ceramic techniques and works spawned from the Arab world which moved through the Mediterranean into North Africa and Europe. It then migrated to Mexico with the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. Crossbreeding occurred in Mexico, and Talavera molded with Pre-Columbian forms to make a unique style found only in the Puebla area.
We visited one room where a work in progress featured a beautiful tile of the epic classic rock song Stairway to Heaven. Talavera had me at Led Zeppelin. Now, not only was I not bored, I was rocking Talavera.
Like any good tour, it ended in the show room where we were free to buy. A coffee cup immediately grabbed my attention. I have a series of coffee cups from former employers. When I am sitting at home on a weekend enjoying some java, the last thing I want to be reminded of is work. Now I have a gorgeous blue Talavera ceramic cup from Puebla, Mexico to remind me of a wonderful trip.
The prices at Santa Catarina were very fair. My two coffee cups were around $15.00 a piece (I purchased a second for my mom). They also threw in a gorgeous tile of a heron like bird. When I paid with peso, they threw in a 10% discount for using currency instead of plastic.
Going into the tour, I had preconceived ideas of immense boredom, but in the end I was impressed with the tour, the techniques, the history, and most importantly the Led Zeppelin. Many times people into adventure would never dream of taking a tour like this when visiting a foreign country. They and their mothers are missing out.
There is no official tour for Talavera Santa Catarina on their website, but they were very welcoming, and I am sure they would be happy to set something up for anyone interested in a visit. Cholula is only 15 minutes from Puebla and it would be an easy bus or taxi trip if staying in Puebla.
This trip was sponsored by the Mexico Tourism Board, but this post, opinion, and love of Led Zeppelin is purely my own.
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I think I would have felt the same way as you. I am not a big fan of ceramics although I do admire their skill. I am not a big Led Zeppelin fan so even that may not have been enough for me 🙂
Jeremy Branham recently posted..How you can help raise money for Passports with #Purpose with #ExpediaFindYours
I think I am going to bequeath my Led Zeppelin collection to your children in my Will. It is too late for you, but not for the next generation 🙂
You have created quite a bit of excitement for Puebla and the nearby area, the next logical question is: where can we learn about tours that focus on the cultural arts and architecture of this region, perhaps with air fares from major cities?
Jay Gordon recently posted..Cowboy poetry in Willits, Mendocino County
That is a good question Jay. They definitely need to build up the tourism sector down there. There are no set tours to this place or the Cantona Ruins. They told us they only do a couple tours a month. At this point, it is pretty much do it yourself. The nice thing is, this is easy to do. You can fly into Puebla or Mexico City and get to Puebla very cheaply.
I love Talevera. You see lots of it around Santa Fe, we even own some- cheaper in Mexico!
santafetraveler recently posted..Tidbits: Santa Fe happenings
Yes, it is beautiful, and it is no surprise that the style has found its way to Santa Fe.
what a cool post! I like the Talavera Stairway to Heaven coz i am a Led Zeppelin fan 😀
btw, our website is now no longer cumidanciki but http://ccfoodtravel.com/ . Please kindly update your blogroll, thanks soooo much! 😀 xox,mei
ciki recently posted..5 Sarawak Noodles Stalls in KL we cannot do without!
I knew there was a reason I liked you besides the other 100 reasons I already know. Being a Led Zepp fan just confirms your coolness.
When Ciki says jump, I say how high. Travel blogroll list edited.
Sounds like a fun tour, and a great place to pick up some mementos… And to answer your question, would you believe I’m not a fan of Mexican food?
D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Check Out Time – The Week in Travel
Everyone has their own taste. You might like some dishes from Puebla as they are somewhat different from other Mexican fare.
I just got a mental picture of you on a ceramics tour and giggled. I’m glad you were open-minded enough to give it a shot. And your mom…I’d like to know her secret for looking so young.
Leah Travels recently posted..Highs and Lows in Rio
haha TED love learning you love Led Zeppelin! seems Puebla was full of surprises for you!! 🙂
lola recently posted..Cambodia Countdown – week 4
Usually turns out that the places we’re least interested in visiting surprise us the most. I’m into adventure travel but I’m a woman so I’d totally dig a ceramic workshop tour like this one. Oh, and if Jeremy doesn’t want his kids to have your Led Zeppelin collection, I’ll take it 🙂
as much as I might have felt the same way, it seems it is always good to find people passionate who make things with their hands…
plus, I agree it is time to toss those corporate coffee mugs, I still have a few myself.
stay adventurous, Craig
Craig Zabransky recently posted..Tips on the Four Ways to Tour Amsterdam
I rarely purchase souvenirs these days, but I do like places where you get to learn how things are made and can buy directly from the producers.
I haven’t been up to Puebla yet, but perhaps I’ll have to hunt down this factory when we head up in a few months for a Costco run.
I am not much for souvenirs either, but sometimes I will break down and purchase, especially if they are small. Enjoy your time in Puebla.