Morelia and Patzcuaro

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August 28th 2011
Published: August 29th 2011
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Morelia - Patzcuaro

I didn’t want anyone to think that David and I killed each other! We have been so busy with our Spanish lessons and we haven’t actually travelled to another place, so I didn’t have anything to write about. Until now.

Last weekend we took a trip to Morelia. Morelia is a beautiful little city of 630,000 about two hours South of Guanajuato. We went straight to the Plaza de Armas and parked the car. The whole town is very tourist-friendly, in that it has quite a few maps and directional signs telling how to get to someplace.

It was quite hot last Saturday, as well as humid. We tried to grab some respite in the Catedral. The Catedral was absolutely beautiful; it took more than a century to build. The organ alone had 4600 pipes. But we were on a mission! Armed with our Lonely Planet, our quest was to find the sculpture of the Senor de la Sacristra, made from dried corn paste and topped with a gold crown from 16th century Spanish king Felipe II. We searched everywhere without looking like we were on a scavenger hunt, but it was futile. I even tried my 1st-grade Spanish and asked a lady, to no avail.

We came outside from the Catedral into the Plaza de Armas. We heard what could only be described as slapping noises. We walked across the Plaza and saw five people performing La Danza de los Viejitos, or the Dance of the Old Men. Originally, it was a humorous dance where the dancers wear masks of old people along with their typical campesino clothing. The dance starts out with aching and hunched over old men, with minimal movements. These movements turn into vigorous dancing combined with trembling and coughing and falling over by the "old men". I was mesmerized, but the dancer that caught my attention was a dance of maybe five years old. Adorable!

After a delicious lunch at Café Catedral, we walked along to Mercado de Dulces, which contained stall after stall of nothing but sweets! It was amazing! We ended up buying a sugared fig, which was fabulous and cost about a quarter.

After the Mercado, we went to the Palacio Clavijero. The building itself had quite a storied past. It originally started as the home to the Jesuit School. It then became a warehouse, a prison and in 1970 it was completely renovated, restored and rechristened as state offices. The interior of the building was amazing! They had a photojournalist (can’t remember his name right now) display. They were pictures from the tumultuous 1950s and the attention to detail was incredible.

On our way out of town, we stopped to look at the aqueduct. It was built around 1788 and had 253 arches to meet the city’s growing water needs. It was quite beautiful and Lonely Planet said it was even more so at night when it was lit up, but we didn’t stay.

On the way home, we learned what it was like to be in the Mexican Nascar! We were driving on a two-lane highway going about 60 MPH. Up ahead was a bus traveling toward us and a big rock that the highway was carved into. The road had a solid, yellow line painted upon it. Suddenly, there were two cars behind us that wanted to pass us. But they didn’t pass us one-at-a-time – one passed us and the other passed him! I looked ahead to see if the bus was slowing down to make room for these idiots when I noticed there was a car passing the bus! There were five cars heading toward each other on a solid, yellow line with huge rocks straight ahead! I don’t know how it turned out; I closed my eyes. I know I’m still alive -thank goodness David was driving!

Yesterday we went to Patzcuaro, about three hours south of Guanajuato. Patzcuaro is most known for the Day of the Dead celebrations, when Mexican tourists flock to the town during the first week of November. While there weren’t many Mexican tourists for the Day of the Dead, there were still quite a bit of tourists.
We parked our car next to the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga (Plaza Grande), right in front of the tourist information office. I forgot my Lonely Planet at home so I went in to get a map. The girl spoke no English, so I thought it would be grand to practice my Spanish. Believe it or not, I did it! I was very impressed with myself. Granted, it was quite elementary, but it was a step forward to communication.

We started off going to the Casa de los Once Patios. This massive building now houses handicraft shops which specialize in copperware, lacquerware, and hand-painted ceramics, but the thing that caught my attention was the beautiful textiles. There were hand-woven tablecloths and napkins bright and beautiful, as well as beautiful shirts and purses. David had to almost pull me away!

We then went to the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de la Salud, which was high on the hill overlooking the town. The church was quite beautiful and very peaceful.

While we were inside the church, it started pouring outside! We waited a little before braving the elements, then we headed back to the square. We stopped for lunch/dinner at a little restaurant on the square called El Patio. El Patio is a very nice restaurant. We were serenaded by a trio of singers who played the guitar, the violin and the bass. The food and the ambiance both fit.

We didn’t have the Nascar experience on the way home, but it did take a long time. I really enjoyed Patzcuaro and am considering it for our next stop.

Additional photos below
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29th August 2011

Paztzcuaro in the rain
I **loved** the photo of you in the rain - beautiful!!!
29th August 2011

What a great update! It sounds like you're having a blast! I love the driving bit ( :

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